STILLWATER, Minn. (WCCO) — With six kids, Mary and Bill Kratz had a big family. It got even bigger early Wednesday when two new members of the family arrived from Haiti.
Lucius is 7. Maria-Elena is 10.
Mary and Bill Kratz say their kids were pushing for a bigger family even before they started the process of adopting from Haiti in 2009.
“They often talk about, ‘When the next baby comes, when the next baby comes,’” said Mary.
“Our youngest is five,” added Bill. “They’ve been wondering for a while when the next baby’s coming.”
Ten-year-old Maria may be the most excited. The only girl isn’t the only girl anymore.
“It will be fun,” said Maria. “I had to play with all the boys before.”
It won’t necessarily be easy. Her new sister Maria Elena can’t hear. That fact actually made her a good fit for the Kratz family.
“I’m proficient at American Sign Language,” said Mary. “So the deaf aspect didn’t frighten me.”
The Kratz family isn’t intimidated by another language barrier either. Neither of their new kids knows English. Still, figuring it out has got to be easier than all the worrying and waiting of the past year.
“Very, very long process,” said Mary.
“Any little thing was another two weeks and another months and another this and another that,” added Bill.
Maria summed it up. “The wait was like terrible,” she said.
Like his siblings, 11-year-old Sam is pumped about his bigger family.
“It’s awesome,” he said.
The adoptions of Lucius and Maria-Elena aren’t final yet. Right now the kids are considered “humanitarian parole refugees.” The Kratzes are one of four families in their church who are adopting from Haiti.
Until the Kratz family figures out how to communicate with words, its members will connect the way kids have for years — by blowing bubbles, braiding hair and bouncing on couches.
Mom and Dad will do what they’ve always done.
“I count,” said Mary. “I count.”
Now she just has to count a couple extra kids.
Paula Engelking, Producer
WCCO-TV’s Amelia Santaniello Reports