“The start was tough,” Wijers says. “The first baby who came to live with us was a boy with very complicated problems. Because of the lockdown, I was soon at home with all the babies. Giuliano joined us as a six-week-old. It was tropical years, but now peace and stability reign in our family.”
The couple is full of two children whose daughter Jess Lynn was born with Down syndrome. That did not stop them from traveling to Croatia last summer with their car, convoy and children. “We try to go out with all the kids during the school holidays.”
The family is now back in the school routine. “We live by the clock. At 8.10 am I ride the cargo bike and drop the older kids to three different schools. At 2:30 pm everyone is home and we drink lemonade. And at 5 pm we eat. This structure is important to me. For children and we keep it every day.”
When the big kids are at school, Wijers take care of the little ones at home. “After school, we take the kids to swimming lessons, speech therapy, physical therapy and football. As a parent, in addition to caring for the children, you also have parental contact and you oversee the moments when parents and children see each other.”
Wijers calls it parallel parenting. “Together we do what is best for the child. For example, a mother can go to the hairdresser with her child, but sometimes there is no more than half an hour of supervised contact. It is not always easy; sometimes it is complicated for my mother that I play a role mother in this family.”
She is proud of how understanding, open and loving her children Lynn and Reeve are. “It’s not clear that your parents are involved with children who have just entered your life.” The home situation also has advantages: the boys are always with their father and mother.
As a parent in the family home, your work never stops. “There’s no door you can close behind you. You’re literally ready day and night and of course sometimes I run completely empty.” However, Wijers don’t want anything else. “It’s what I’m good at and the best thing I can do in my life.”
How long will Julius, Giovanni, Jess Lynn and Giuliano stay? “What the future holds for each child is different, but they live here as long as our family is the best place for them. And all the children can stay with us until they are adults.”