I asked my nine-year-old daughter Gabrielle how she would describe Estefani to someone who has never met her before. Her answer:
Well, I would say, she’s nice. Confident. If you were her friend she would be very helpful and very nice. I like her as my friend. And she’s intelligent and I like her very much. She is brown. She has black hair. She’s very cute to me. And she’s an orphan. And she’s in Bolivia.
Not only are these two girls neighbors and classmates they are good friends. Estefani is one month older than my daughter. They both turn ten this year. Every day after homework and chores are done the question I hear without fail is, “Can I go to the orphanage to play?”
Musing with my own mother we talked of how this friendship will influence our Gabrielle in her life. Personally, I grew up in a foster home. Let me clarify, my parents accepted children into our home and us five Houtz kids had an extra brother or sister, or two, pretty much all the time. My parents stopped counting how many kids they helped when they got to one hundred. Usually the children only stayed for a few weeks before they were adopted. I cherish this element of my growing up years.