Today I've chatted with another mom about large families and I've had lots of people make comments about our large family this week. I have a few thoughts to share.
Our church is celebrating 175 years this year and we had a 3 day celebration this week with services. It is always funny when people who don't know us first get a glimpse. We fill up 2 rows of pews. (We will soon take over a 3rd row, with 5 more kids to arrive soon!) We are just about every color of the beautiful rainbow of skin colors that God chose to make. People always look more than twice. I get that we aren't the "typical" family! I'm cool with that. "Normal" is just too boring in my book anyway. God didn't make His people to blend in and go unseen and unnoticed.
I do love the comments we get AFTER a service. I love the comments about "wow, they are so well behaved" or "I never heard a peep". That means that we are accomplishing our purpose. :) I want my kids to behave in public especially. We occassionally have moments, but it is VERY rare that I have to take a child out of a service. No one has to get up to go to the bathroom. None of the kids talk to each other in church. We take pride in them knowing that home is the place for that! I've never heard anything bad about our family from anyone who met us and then watched us in action (besides one relative who can't get her kids to behave and finds mine behaving to be threatening and wishes we wouldn't come).
There are still those who don't like big families though. I hear them through the internet, in circles of acquaintances, through other adoptive parents comments they receive, and in a myriad of other ways. There are the social workers who think that families are "too big". There are actually social workers who would rather children languish in orphanages or move foster home to foster home without hope, than place them in a big, loving, well functioning family!! Those people make me furious!!
There are some things about big families that aren't "just like everyone else". Let me tell you a few that I think people over look. My kids are good in public, because they've learned PATIENCE. When you are one of 13 kids, you learn to WAIT. Children in big families also learn to think of others. They love each other and they learn that their actions can help or hurt each other, as well as the mood of the whole family. They learn about relationships. They learn that they way they act determines how other people treat them and how many playmates they have. WOW THERE ARE A LOT OF ADULTS WHO'VE NEVER LEARNED THAT!!! My kids have learned how to deal with people who are different than them. They can deal with special needs in all aspects and treat people with respect. There's another big one that most people never seem to learn. My kids can just be honest about who they are. They can tell you "I have autism" or "Julianne has an extra chromosome" or "I have Reactive Attachment Disorder", because around here its OK TO BE WHO YOU ARE. They are going to be loved by the other 14 (soon to be 19) people in this house regardless of what anyone else thinks. Its nothing to be ashamed of and no need to hide it. We are transparent. We are who we are and I want my kids to know that it is ok to be different, but never an excuse for not doing their very best.
See, big families offer a kind of love, acceptance, and support that is hard to come by in the world. I also think its pretty ridiculous that anyone thinks it is better for a child to have NO FAMILY than a huge one full of love. I'll accept people telling me how many kids is "enough" or "too many", just as soon as their aren't any with no family at all! I'll quit adopting whenever God doesn't tell me that I have more kids out there that He has deemed are mine to love. I'll admit that we should quit, just as soon as someone can tell me that one of my kids would have been better off without being with us. I don't think that is going to happen any time soon though! I don't have one child in this home full of love that any of us would want to live without, even on their worst days!
So to all the "No Large Family" people, go fly a kite! This family has more love than someone with that mentality can even dream of!! No one has ever had too many people to love them and instead we've found that the more people and the more love - the happier the home!!