There were 5+ of us growing up. The plus? Ah, yes. Five kids carried the Houtz name, then there were always others. The crib was never empty. My parents stopped counting after they had cared for one hundred infants. The extra bed in the basement was hardly ever vacant. The Houtz house housed hundreds. I count it an honor to carry on that heritage.
While we created connections with the others, the strongest bonds were made between brothers and sisters. Now that we are all adults and don’t all live close together maintaining those bonds has not been easy. In an effort to stay connected I asked my siblings to tell me what they were thinking about our adoption; I asked them to ask me questions. My youngest sister is the one who gave me this idea when she posted a bunch of great questions on facebook. Last week I wrote a blog to answer those questions: “Answers for Shawn“. Some of the correspondence between us Houtzes I keep private, as it should be. Some of it I feel is pertinent for a public platform so I post it because I think that some of my readers might be thinking some of the same things.
My sister Emily writes:
I am very excited for that and you. I really don’t have any questions to ask and didn’t want to make up any just for the sake of it. You have kept us well informed. I do however have wonderings. They are mostly irrelevant and more curiosities of the mind.
She continues by touching on a few topics that had been rolling around in her head. I will use the key words from a few of her sentences and add my ponderments to her wonderings.
…seemed natural to adopt…
You know when you have a favorite food and you find someone who abhors it how shocked you are? That is kind of how I felt in the beginning when we started making public our desire to adopt. We were met with less than favorable responses by more than half of the people we told. What seemed natural to us was a point of conflict for others. It made me take a step back and really look at why we wanted to adopt. In the end I resolved to the fact that this is just something we wanted to do. Why do some families have just one kid? Why do some have none? Why do some people stay single their whole lives? Why do some people like dogs? Why do other crazy people like cats? The feelings were the same as when we were homeschooling and people would question me. Somehow I have grown to the point where I do not become offended nor do I feel as though I need to defend myself. This is simply a choice we made. While it is natural for us I do not expect all people to want to adopt nor do I expect all people to be excited for us. That is while I am so very grateful for the ones who have come alongside us and encouraged us in our choice.
…adoption if you still lived in the states…
Oh, I have thought about this one so many times. The fact that I have wanted to adopt since before I was married combined with my over active imagination has led to some wandering wonderings down the paths of possibilities. Yes, it would have been very different. The decisions are overwhelming: timing, national, international, language, age, gender, special needs, race, local, from another State, open, closed, siblings, etc. You could drive yourself crazy weighing all the options and trying to make the “right choice”. It took some guts to just make a decision and go with it, all the while trusting that God is the one directing the millions of variables.
…how your kids feel…
This is one thing I didn’t think about until we had our home visit. The social worker and the psychologist wanted to speak with my kids in the other room without us (the parents) present. We had to be out of sight out of mind, basically. We allowed it and gave them the privacy of a room, with the door open, of course. They talked for not even 10 minutes. When they were done the kids went to play and they told us about the interview. The questions all centered around how the kids were feeling about the adoption. They told us Tyler didn’t have a clue and they expected that. The said that the girls were very excited about having a new sister and were proud to show them where she would sleep, her shelves and the like. They said, straight out, that Timothy was not very happy about the fact that we wanted to adopt a girl because he wanted a brother. We were surprised that he was so open with them. This is the same way he had felt from the beginning. He wanted us to adopt two kids, a boy and a girl. First, so he could have another brother; second so that things would be even (my Mr. Logic Boy). Some really great talks have stemmed from that little interview. I am glad for it.
On a related issue, it is our own personal philosophy that the opinions of the children are not a strong deciding factor for the direction of our household. I know that there are people who do not agree with us. We do take into consideration their feelings as we process through new developments or changes, but in the end I expect my children to trust that the decisions we make are for the well being of the whole.
…why you needed to adopt…
I compare adoption to the addition of any new family member. Every family is a living breathing organism. It grows, it changes, it moves, it shrinks, all in very distinct mannerisms. Whether it be the grandmother coming to stay in the spare bedroom or the newborn that suddenly appears from the hospital it is fascinating to consider the never still dynamics. We needed to adopt because it is what we wanted to do.
…sweet little girl…
When my belly bulged with child I wondered what the kid would be like. It is so odd to me that they way they behaved in the womb is similar to their personalities. Raimy was gentle and rhythmic as she floated like a butterfly in her amniotic fluid. She still is a rhythmic and gentle young lady. Timothy’s kicks were all boy, yet seemingly timed to a strict schedule. He still thrives on a clear set plan and is all boy in him interests. Gabrielle, my limit pusher, came the day after her due date, the twelfth. She was due on the eleventh. Raimy was born on March 11, Timothy on October 11, it would have been so cute for her to be born on August 11, but no. That was not the way she wanted to do it. She continues to be contrary and strong minded. Tyler was some kind of wild thing kicking and spinning and rolling and turning. Mr. Active has me in stitches every day with his antics and physicality.
They are all so very different!
Sweet? We’ll see. I am reveling in the deliciousness of the surprise that awaits us. If she is sweet – great. If she is more on the sneaky side – marvelous. If she is a sparky fireball – bring it on. If she is a melancholy thinker – super. This part of the discovery of her character is thrilling to me.
Little? We’ll see, too. She will be littler than the other four. And she is a Bolivian, so the chances are that she will not be too tall. But you never know… They say that you can measure the height of a girl when they are two and double it to find out how tall they will be when they stop growing. I will have to remember to do that since she just turned two in December. (For boys it is when they are 2 year and 6 months old.)
…weaving her into your life and your children’s lives…
That is a perfect way to look at it, Emily. Thank you for the beautiful imagery that phrase brings. Yes, weaving… yes.
P.S. I know this is a long post compared to the regular length. Once I apologized for a long post and my sister Emily told me I didn’t need to apologize and that she liked the longer ones. So, this is for you sista.