• Questions and Answers 2015

    Date: 2015.09.06 | Category: Adoption, Family Life | Tags:

    The blog post “Questions and Answers” popped up on my memories recently on Facebook.  I thought I would do an updated version for this year.  People ask a lot of questions or make statements that deserve a response, most of them out of genuine curiosity.  Some questions are funny, some are heartfelt, and some are just plain interesting.

    Where did you and Dan meet?

    We attended the same elementary school, junior high and high school.  We started dating when Dan was 15 and I was 16.

    How long have you been married? 

    30 years

    Did you always want a big family? 

    Yes, I did.   I think Dan was considering 4 at the most because that is what we both grew up with.  Now, if we could make it happen, he would take in a child every year.

    Did you always know you were going to adopt?

    No.  We had neighbors who were adopted, but I never really thought about the adoptions.  They were just the sisters of the kids we grew up with.  Our church never really talked about adoption or James 1:27 and why it is important.

    Who initially wanted to adopt?  Was it hard to talk Dan into it?

    This one is the funniest to me because Dan had to talk me into it.  Well, the first adoption (Hope) was a surprise and a beautiful story of faith and God’s hand, but when we were 45 and he started saying we should and could do more, I thought he was crazy because we were way too old to adopt.

    You aren’t actually considering adopting more are you?

    Well, we are pretty sure our family is complete so I am assuming we are done.  Our house is pretty busy, but I believe fully that God has led us to all of our children.  He has blessed our family over and over again by following His lead and it would  be insane for us to say “No” to him now.  Besides whenever we say things that are absolute it usually turns out the other way.  We will leave it in God’s hands and keep our focus on the children we are caring for right now and pray that if there is another child(ren) in this world that are meant to be with us that He makes it abundantly clear as quickly as possible so they are not alone for any longer than is necessary..

    Let’s see how you feel about having so many children the same age when they are teenagers.

    Truth be told, bring it on.  I pray that I get the chance to parent six teenagers at the same time.  Eli, Ben, and Evie all have very complex heart defects and their life span will be shortened.  Noone can tell us for sure how long they have.  I pray to God that I am allowed the wonderful opportunity to parent six teenagers that have three and 1/2 years separating them.

    Are you insane?  Are you crazy?  Have  you lost your mind?  

    No, we are not crazy, insane or any of the other phrases that you might ask.  Dan and I, however, are obedient to God’s calling.  The first time it was hard to turn it all over to Him, but when you see the blessings that have been bestowed on you for following….well, each time it gets just a little bit easier until you know it would be insane not to follow His lead.

    What about your other kids at home?  Do they feel neglected?  Do they resent sharing their time?

    No, if anyone should have had a problem with us adopting more children, it would be Gracie.  She was the baby at the time.  But Gracie loves her siblings and brings me new pictures of children available for adoption all the time.  She wants to help other little girls in wheelchairs.  She knows what it has done for her sisters.  It makes Gracie’s life harder.  She is the person who grabs things they can’t reach.  She is the person they ask to run and grab something.  She has to put away the clothes that they can’t reach.  But she does it with a willing heart because she loves them, not because someone expects it of her.

    Grace has mentioned wishing she could hypnotize Dan and I so we would forget how many children we have and adopt again.  Just the other day I met a mom through Facebook that has 15 children at home.  12 adopted and they are adopting two more which will make 17.  Gracie told me, “See mom.  She’s not afraid of the number 17.  Embrace the number 17.)   Jasmine informs me daily that “I could love more”.   Elyse prays for three more sisters (which is where the number 17 comes into play) but says she would settle for one more.

    They bring me pictures of bunk beds and show me pictures of children waiting.  Jasmine, Elyse, and Grace share the master bedroom because it has the most open bathroom for the wheelchairs.  They show me plans of how they can fit more beds in their room.  We are currently on a picture with three bunkbeds with trundles.  Folks that is six more girls they think they can fit in that room.  They talk about how sad the children look in the pictures and how happy we could make them by giving them the love of a family.

    You must have lots of help.  

    I don’t have paid help, but I do have help with my older children who live at home in an apartment, in our garage, on our acreage. When we moved here 14 years ago, we wondered what we would do with a 7-9 car garage.  We chose to turn the back into an apartment for the kids as they go to college.  Cassie, who is recently married, and her husband, Reece, have chosen to stay in the apartment while Cassie starts teaching and Reece finishes up college.   Dan works from home during the week and Dan’s mom comes down when I ask.

    We recently simplified the whole house and got rid of tons of stuff.   We donated and threw away anything that hadn’t been used in the past year.  We drastically reduced the number of items that I had kept because someone gave them to me and it was a memory.  We took pictures of the items to keep the memories and then donated it.  We took the number of toys way down.  We made a place for everything.  We instituted a new policy of straightening everything before story time at night and made a list of an item to be deep cleaned each day during the month.  The middle girls all have their chores and the littles have small items they are responsible for.   We do a big general clean on Saturday while daddy does his 24 hour shift.  So far it has simplified everything immensely.

    How many children do you have at home?  How many children do you have all together?

    We have fourteen children.  Thirteen still living.  Kyle passed away at five days of age, twenty-eight years ago.  We have twelve children living at home.  Cassie and Reece live in the apartment and the other eleven live in our home.  Our oldest son, Codey, is severely mentally and physically challenged and continues to reside in our home.   Plus, the four middles and the six littles.

    How do you cart everyone around? 

    We have a bus.  Yes, a bus!  The children love it.  I love it too except for the mileage.  It has a wheelchair lift and room for sixteen passengers, two wheelchairs, and the driver.  This is another reason why the girls think we should be able to adopt more.  Apparently, if there is room in the bus, there is room to adopt.

    Is your house huge?

    It is a nice size ranch house.  It has three bedrooms upstairs and three downstairs.  We remodeled to a more open concept a couple years after moving in and it has worked out wonderfully for Jasmine and Elyse’s wheelchair.  We have a big sunroom that we have converted into a playroom for the kids.  It is big and sunny and they have lots of room to play.

    What has been the hardest part?

    The waiting is hard.  Once you see their picture, you want to go get them.  Every day you wait, knowing where they are, is painful.

    Unknown diagnosis are hard.

    Lainey not sleeping has been very hard.  For the most part, it has gotten better.  She will sleep for 4-5 hours and then wake up one time and get up for good at 5:30.   Have I mentioned I am not a morning person?  🙂

    But truth be told the hardest part, for me, is that I can’t do more.  We are sponsoring children. We have started Jasmine’s Dream (Love Without Boundaries/Jasmine’s Dream) to advocate and raise funds for children in need.  Jasmine has set a goal of helping 1,000 children.  We are helping others who are adopting but it still doesn’t feel like enough.

    Every day in China children age out of the system at the tender age of 14 and are released with no resources.  Many times they don’t have an education or anyone to turn to.  Every day children die in orphanages – alone! Every day children are hungry and hurting and wanting a mother and a father to love them. Every year many children age out of our own foster care system.  Only a small percentage of the children without families in the world will ever be adopted.  A heartbreaking fact when you consider just how many Christians there are.  If we, as Christians, stood up and either adopted or helped others, there would be no orphans.  What a beautiful statement of the love of Christ.

    Why aren’t we doing more?  Why do we choose to close our eyes to what is going on around the world?  Why do we continue to make excuses?

    “The problem seemed so vast, so endemic, that stopping to help a single panhandler (person) could seem pointless.”  – Laura Schroff.

    If we all stopped and helped just one, we could help them all.

    And so we swept past them everyday, great waves of us going on with our lives and accepting there was nothing we could really do.”  – Laura Schroff

    What are you doing with your life?  Are you caught up in the busyness of your life?  So much so that you can’t stop to help one?

    What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” – John Lubbock

    The picture in the news recently of the little boy who washed up on the beach raised such an uproar.  It was horrible.  It was heartbreaking.  I would agree with that completely but children die everyday all around the world and we pretend it isn’t happening because no one was there to snap their picture, because they weren’t deemed newsworthy.

    Here is one example.  (Heavenleigh)  This little girl is 5 years old and weighs 10 pounds.

    Are you looking?  Do you see the hurting people?  Do you see the children in need?  Stop and look for that one that you can help!

    Everyone is able to do something.