Meet Katie Houser, AFTH’s Pittsburgh Office Manager! Adoption serves as the foundation of her family and helped her build connections with fellow adopted parents as well as adoptees. Keep reading to learn more about the unique origins of her family
How has adoption shaped your family dynamic and the life of your children?
I have 17 children, all of whom are adopted. If it wasn’t for adoption, there wouldn’t be much of a family! Most of my children’s closest friends are also adopted. Adoption is their life no matter which way they turn.
What motivated you to adopt internationally in addition to growing your family domestically and through foster care?
I adopted Caucasian and Caucasian/Hispanic children first from the foster care system and then adopted a baby that was full African American privately. As he grew up, he noticed his skin color was darker than everyone else’s. Once he mentioned this to me, it broke my heart; I then went on a mission to adopt another African American child with whom he will be able to identify. That was just the beginning of our growing family.
My best friend adopted from Ethiopia and I loved her children, so we decided to venture there. As we waited for our referral, a private situation arose through a friend of mine who was an adoption facilitator in California. And of course we said yes! The same month this child was born, we received the call about Ethiopian twin girls.
How does your personal connection to adoption play a role in your job here at AFTH?
I got my job here through my former supervisor who performed my first two home studies for my first two sibling groups. Then, I started working here well over 18 years ago; I added to my family when helping others do the same. I think I have a unique perspective on adoption since I’ve lived it from both sides of the fence for so many years. I adopted infants, siblings from foster care, and twins internationally I have “all of the bases covered” so to speak. I think my personal experience helps me when I speak with struggling adoptive parents or those unsure of the adoption process. I can assure them that it will work out no matter what if they just hang in there. I am very empathetic to their struggles and feel that I can provide sound advice and comfort when they are searching for it.
Thank you for sharing your personal adoption story, Katie!