Inside Aera

 

Who We Are, Featured Feb 11, 2021

Aera’s accounting supervisor raises nine children at home

‘I wouldn’t trade it for anything,’ says Mike Botts of his family’s growth through foster-care adoptions

The Botts family: (from left) Aubree (11), Andersen (9), Lincoln (4) being carried by Sarah, Henry (5), Owen (11), Sadie (13), Everett (10), Mike and Ruby (7). Not pictured is their newest adopted child, their one-month-old brother affectionately nicknamed “Squeaks.”

The Botts family: (from left) Aubree (11), Andersen (9), Lincoln (4) being carried by Sarah, Henry (5), Owen (11), Sadie (13), Everett (10), Mike and Ruby (7). Not pictured is their newest adopted child, their one-month-old brother affectionately nicknamed “Squeaks.”

Aera Accounting Supervisor Mike Botts is a self-described introvert who is structured, organized and prefers stability. His team does work that is incredibly important at Aera, making sure company bills are paid on time and essentially keeping the lights on so that Aera can continue to produce the oil needed to help power California. This part of his job brings the structure and stability.

In contrast, Bott’s life at home has been full of surprises.

Botts and his wife Sarah are now parents of nine children between one month and 13 years old. Of the nine, two are the Botts’ biological children and seven are adopted siblings from the foster system. The newest addition to the Botts family is the one-month-old brother of their adopted children who has affectionately been nicknamed “Squeaks.”

“This was never part of our plan,” said Botts. “We had two biological kids, and we knew we wanted more kids. My wife, who grew up with three adopted siblings, threw out the idea of maybe trying fostering, so we did. We never would have imagined ourselves having nine children.”

Saying ‘yes’ to adopting

Seven years ago, the Botts started their adoption journey – by adopting four-year-old Aubree and six-year-old Sadie to keep the sisters from getting separated in the foster-care system. Botts and his wife simply couldn’t say no to the option of adopting as many of their siblings as possible, with hopes of raising them all together in one loving home. Three of the children’s other siblings had already been adopted by the Botts’ close friends in Canada.

The experience hasn’t been easy. Sadie, now 13, had been bounced around to nine different families before being taken in by the Botts. She struggled to deal with her past while adjusting to the dynamics of a new family. Botts says things for Sadie are finally “starting to come around.”

Botts and his wife simply couldn’t say no to adopting as many siblings as possible, with hopes of raising them all together in one loving home.

Early on in the pandemic, Sarah began homeschooling the children on her own. Any “extra” time for the Botts’ is spent cooking, cleaning, managing multiple charts, and doing never-ending loads of laundry. The kids also look forward to their mommy and daddy dates, planned “dates” to ensure each child is receiving some one-on-one time with each parent, even if it’s just to run an errand.

When the Botts’ sat the children down to ask them how they felt about officially adopting their newborn brother, they were overwhelmed by the unanimous “yes” they received.

“You have to go in with a full heart and manage expectations. When you start to see some of the impacts it has on these kids’ lives, it’s so amazing and it’s just so fun to watch them grow. It isn’t easy and it doesn’t happen overnight. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Botts said.

His experience as a father has taught him to be flexible, make informed decisions quickly, and that things at work – just like in his personal life – might not go as planned.

“Mike and Sarah are amazing people with huge hearts,” said Dean Bishop, accounting manager for Aera and Botts’ supervisor. “Mike is a key contributor to Aera Energy’s finance team – most recently leading some key projects to help improve the tracking of Aera’s financials to ensure a healthy future. He is an excellent supervisor and leads his team and projects with the same passion that he demonstrates in his personal life. We are lucky to have him.”

Botts is also enjoying a new challenge at work. He’s part of a value and cash focus journey project team to help Aera find and explore new and innovative ways to focus on value and ultimately help Aera achieve California’s bold climate goals and develop the right energy mix to meet the state’s vision for the future of energy.

He says stability at home is found through the strong relationship he has with Sarah and their strong Christian faith. At work, it’s the support he receives from leaders, colleagues and team members to take on new challenges – whether it involves new projects or even more kids.

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