Our version of a family tree..
In light of the recent national media coverage over the single mom who just gave birth to octuplets through invitro fertilization, the issue of how many kids is "too" many has come up in conversations all around the nation. This situation is very unique and does rise some very legitimate ethical issues that I am not going to even dive into. But this topic of discussion does touch on my family and our situation.
We have a big family with lots of kids. Do we have "too" many kids? Not a chance. Having too many kids would mean that we were not able to care of the needs that every child has....to be loved, to feel safe, to live a life enriched with opportunties to learn, to be free to discover their unique gifts and talents and to be able to exercise those gifts. We are so thankful that we have been given the opportunity to have such a big family. We strive to spend time individually with each of the kids and to continually help them grow in their faith.
Our kids with disabilities have many needs. There needs are often complex and can be exhausting. To someone not living day to day with the needs, it is unimanagable to think of any one trying to tackle all of the needs. I remember when we were going to adopt Aaron fifteen years ago. We read the paperwork and decided that we were not possibly able to take care of him. We were sure that someone else would be much more well equipped to handle his needs. Soon, it became evident that most everyone who read his paperwork had said the same thing. It was then when we were reminded that if God was calling us to do something, he would equip us with the tools that we needed at the time we needed them. Aaron has been such an incredible blessing--what we give to him is so much less that he gives back to us.
We consider ourselves so blessed to have the chance to be raising a big family. One thing that many people forget when they are considering what is "too" big of a family is the addition of sibling relationships to a child's enrichment. Siblings bring with them another lifelong relationship that we as parents can not replace. Yes, there are sacrifices for everyone in a big family--our kids have to work together well, they have learned to watch for deals at the grocery store, while they have their own special things--they share almost everything else. They are kind and compassionate and do not live as if the world revolves around them (most of the time!) And they are rarely ever bored. Not everyone is called to raise a big family like this, but we have been. We are not capable of doing this on our own. We rely on our faith in Jesus Christ to give us the strength and wisdom to face our challenges each day.
There are times when I look around at our wild bunch and think, "What have we done?" and then usually that is followed by laughter. Yes, our life is chaotic at times, but it is filled with love and grounded in faith. We are excited to be ready to add another child to our home. We are waiting for God to direct us to the next little Martindale.