Houx trio marks 20 years as family

Pictured are Aaron, Maddie at 10 months old, and Kellie Houx in the late winter of 2001 when the adoption agency celebrated Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which President Bill Clinton signed into law on Oct. 30, 2000. The act amended federal law so foreign-born children living in the U.S. with at least one American parent automatically gain citizenship.

This month the Houx trio will mark its 20th Gotcha Day where Aaron and I went from a couple to a trio when a 7-pound little girl was placed in my husband’s arms, 9,000 miles from here. It feels a bit odd to say 20 years.

Recently, I made a new friend after being connected to her via a mutual friend. For about an hour, we talked on phone about adoption and her hopes to adopt in the near future.

Talking with her brought up a flood of memories that have drifted to become those soft dreamlike memories. They are now much more vivid.

Adopting, whether here in the United States or abroad, is not for the faint of heart. I have described it as cliff diving into the murkiest water imaginable and you are willing do it.

Aaron and I had only been married about three years when we started the process to adopt. We eventually were on the younger side of most of the adoptive parents in the group. When Aaron and I got approved to adopt, we were actually too young for the China program, but approved for the relatively new program that opened in Vietnam. Something felt right and we started the paperwork.

In discussing paperwork involved in adoption with my new friend, there’s a term I shared: paper pregnant. While you are not outwardly showing a baby bump, carrying around the amount of paperwork that is required can feel pretty weighty.

I told my new friend that you don’t get to keep secrets. Your world is an open book, including bank accounts, tax returns and more. Then there are the notaries, other approvals and translations that have to be made if the adoption is international.

We spent roughly three years with a social worker in our case. She evaluated us emotionally as well as our homelife. After we returned with our daughter, there were three post-placement visits.

I told my new friend that she and her husband will find the social worker an asset.

For some people, caring for children is in their blood, but passing your own blood and DNA is not that important. It can be hard for others to understand that genetics aren’t necessary. As an adoptive parent, you have to set that aside and know that your values, beliefs and faith are passed to a child.

Humorously, my daughter, who shares no genetic link to me, speaks like I do and walks like my husband. It’s pretty funny.

Pregnancy is not the only way to love, raise and welcome children into your life. Adoption is and has been our way to have a family. It has been an unique, wonderful journey that adoption offered us.

The most simple reason of all to adopt, and the most important, is to become parents. That’s it. Adopting can be the best route to fulfilling that dream.

If others are considering adoption as my new friend is, it’s a long, but incredibly fulfilling journey.

Southeast Editor Kellie Houx can be reached at kellie.houx@mycouriertribune.com or 389-6630.

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