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Let me start by saying, we never intended to have a large family. Coming from a normal-sized American family, I just assumed I’d have three kids and be done. But now, I can’t imagine not living in a large family!
A quick story of our family
After our first miscarriage, I became pregnant again pretty quickly. Our first born was the light of our lives, and we couldn’t be happier. We knew that we wanted more children. Because it had taken a while the first time, only to be followed by miscarriage, birth control wasn’t something we were interested in. Hence the reason our second born made his appearance exactly 18 months after big sister’s.
Two in diapers made us think second thoughts on whether we could handle more. Yet we loved the sassiness of our girl and the compassion of our boy. Our hearts were full, and we were a happy little family of four.
That day our comfort was interrupted
It was in our comfort that the Lord moved on our hearts concerning adoption, which is anything at all but comfortable. Long paper trails, legal yuck, constant ups and downs, and thousands of dollars–for three long years. But finally, our “Filipino burrito” joined our family, both blessing and stretching us. He made us laugh and cry, and God began moving in my heart to be at home with my three treasures.
A shift in thinking
After our decision for me to come home from work, we found out that we were expecting again, only that precious heart never beat this side of heaven. I was devastated, yet I knew in my heart there would be more children for us.
Realization hit that something was missing in our commitment to the Lord and our family, and I began to read and seek the Lord. He led me to friends and teachers who had a heart for children and a heart to follow God’s will no matter what.
Psalm 127: 3-4 ~ Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
The Lord used His people and His Word to bring Chris and I to the end of ourselves. We didn’t know the logistics of it all–he made a teacher’s salary, and we lived in a 1500 sq foot house–but we knew that God was telling us to open our hands and our hearts to Him, to trust Him in all things. Even our family size.
Surrendering our comfort again
I can’t tell you that it’s been easy to trust. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Since the day we surrendered our comfort and will to Him, we have added 4 children to our family!
The first was our cute little tomboy. Then the twins, our shy boy who hangs back to assess everything and our lover of life girl who loves and laughs big. The “Bear” as we call number 7, who was supposed to be the caboose (except he wasn’t), he lives wild and loves it! And our sweet victory baby, who actually is the caboose, reminds me everyday how precious she is and how much our family needed her. She’s the queen around here, in case you were wondering!
Each of our children are a blessing! I can’t imagine having said no to any one of them. That being said, there are pros as well as cons to having a big family. Here’s an honest look at what it’s like in our little big family.
Cons of living in a large family:
I’ll share the not so pleasant things first just to get that out of the way.
Noise. The noise level is always a decibel higher than a fighter jet. That’s okay, though, because my hearing ain’t so good anymore.
Time management. It can be difficult to mange your time when you are being stretched in all different directions. No matter how hard I try to stay on track, sometimes what I have planned just doesn’t work out. If I am not very aware and conscious of my time and where it’s going, I’m sunk.
Expense. Yes, I said it. It’s expensive to feed and clothe all these people. Not that I want it any other way, but I do have to be purposeful in my spending to make sure everything is covered.
Also, we can’t go on vacation every year, or every other for that matter. That’s why we resorted to camping. We can camp for much cheaper than going to some fancy-smancy hotel, and we don’t have to constantly fuss at the kids to be quiet.
Sleep. While it’s one of my favorite things, I don’t get a whole lot of it. Someone is inevitably going to get up during the night, often more than one somebody, more than one time with some exciting sleepwalking adventure, a scary dream, or a wet bed.
Space. We all have to share bedrooms, but that’s okay. It teaches my kids that they can’t shut people out when they are upset with them.
The hubs and I have to be a bit creative to find space to have quiet conversation. The front porch after the littles go to bed is a great place for coffee and a nice chat.
Disagreements. Yes, my kids argue. What can I say? We’re a family, and families disagree. However, it is in the disagreements that we learn to work things out and move forward. It gives us a chance to show grace and love toward one another.
Pros of living in a large family:
There are more blessings in my large family than I can ever tell you, but to highlight a few…
Noise. There’s always noise. Yes, that can be a con, too, but I love hearing my little ones playing quietly or singing a made up song or my bigs participating in friendly banter.
Unconditional love. I have people who need me, who love me unconditionally, and they show me in many ways everyday. A particular little one always crawls into my lap even when he’s been in trouble because he needs me, my love, my forgiveness. Nothing is better than that!
We teach forgiveness. It’s a given that we are going to let one another down, but we are a family and we agree to love no matter what.
Help. There’s always someone to help you out. Okay, admittedly, it’s not always eager help, but we do work together and help one another out.
Friends. No one is ever truly lonely because my kids have built in playmates and companions, people who love them more than anyone else in the world. They also are never alone at night. Their best friends are just an arm’s reach away, and they are a comfort to one another.
Healthy imaginations. I love how imaginative my kids are! They are always making up a new game or song or story to play, sing, or act out. We don’t regularly allow technology, so they often have to use their imaginations to entertain themselves.
Laughs. Ya’ll, we laugh big, and I love it! There really is never a dull moment. Many, many laughs revolve around poots or poop and the silly things we say!
Blessings galore! We are so blessed. I can’t even begin to tell you the little things I love about my life, not that I don’t struggle, I do, but I love the little smiles throughout the day. I wouldn’t change a thing about how it all unfolded.
Is this it?
Just today our pediatrician asked, “So, are you going to have any more? You’re still young!” (<<Thanks, Doc, the young thing…that made my day!)
He’s not the only one. We get asked all the time.
At the time I originally wrote this, I honestly, I didn’t know. I wasn’t sure what the Lord had for us in the future, but we were always open to His leading. Most importantly, we wanted to always honor Him. However, it was with baby number 8, our victory baby, that we had our final answer about whether or not there would be more. There’s certainly more to that story, but it’s for another day, another time.