We are a big family and attract attention everywhere we go. People are floored so many children can sit through a meal or doctor’s appointment with manners and good behavior.
They also believe they can ask any question that comes into their curious little brains. Today I am sharing a few of the crazy questions and comments we hear regularly.
1. “How in the world do you handle all those children?”
God is First. We don’t handle them. We love them with God’s help. First and foremost, a relationship with God is foundational to all successes in life. Being in step with God’s will brings strength, guidance, and assurance all is well. Everything begins with prayer and as long as Scott and I are praying together, God keeps our hearts, thoughts, and actions aligned. Each time we have gone forward with an adoption, we BOTH had to know it was the right decision for our family and the only way we knew that was communication with God and each other.
It is NOT easy to move forward. We usually describe it as an elephant in the room. We know it’s there but we don’t discuss until we’ve prayed and have a decision. My prayer is always for God to press on Scott’s heart what is right and true. All in time, we come to the decision by allowing God to be First!
We can handle all God has called us to because it is His plan and He is First!
2. “How do you love so many at one time?”
Love each other like crazy. Scott says all the time we are able to love all our children because we love Each Other like crazy!!! Marriages need to be strong to handle the many facets of adoption. There is no way we could do this without each other. Complete submission and dedication in our marriage comes before the needs of our children and after following God. We are best friends and share everything. There are times when you feel you can’t go one more second and it is in those rough patches, a spouse can make all the difference.
I have sweet precious friends that are single and raising beautiful families too. I know they are surrounded by amazing people that support them in their journey as well. It boils down to putting your trust in the One whom has called us to this life. He gives all of us what we need for each day we wake up.
Scott and I certainly give God the glory for the Love we are able to pour out on so many and love each other well!
3. “Well you all certainly had to be called to adopt all those kids!”
We are ALL called. James 1:27 teaches to look after orphans and widows. That can look so different for you and me. Our family was called to birth and adopt our children. You may be called to foster, support an orphan or orphanage, support a family adopting, or whatever you hear God telling you. The bottom line: You have to be Listening and Willing!!! We adopted our Chinese children because God showed us their faces, and they were waiting for us to come. We will go until they are all home, and we will know that being completely surrendered to God’s will.
We certainly did have to be called to birth and adopt all our children because God ordained it all!!!
4. “You sure do have your hands full!”
Our hands are full but mostly our hearts. When you are living a certain life, it’s not something you think about in tiny parts and decisions. It is a daily flow and rhythm of living and loving. It is being and doing the necessary things for everyone to stay alive and thrive. As basic needs are met, love begins to bloom because everyone is learning to be a family and feeling secure. When we are out and about, it does look like my hands are full especially walking through Target with six kids riding on the shopping cart, but there is strategy behind that practice and a whole lot of work back at home that brought us to this place. Love does not come easy or fast. Lots of blood, sweat, and tears come first.
Yes we have our hands full, but our Hearts are the fullest and our life meaningful.
5. “How are you going to send them to college?”
Educating our children is a one day at a time adventure. Two of our children have graduated college and living beautiful productive lives. One is in college now chasing the destiny God has laid before her. Six are home learning as we do life, and I don’t worry about their future. God meant for them to be in our family, and He is molding them into what He wants them to be. When the time comes for everyone to go to college, God will help meet every need. Right now we are called to get them home.
I LOVE our home life and confident God has their futures all figured out… I don’t have to be concerned with that just now. (Jeremiah 29:11)
6. “Well you won’t ever retire, will you?”
Where in the Bible do we ever see someone retired? Choosing to have children is a lifelong commitment. It isn’t a choice made that ceases once they graduate college or get married or have their own kids. We are still extremely involved in our big kids’ lives and wouldn’t want it any other way. When we brought our children into our family, we committed our lives to them. Our family hinges on this amazing scripture: 1 Peter 4:10, ”Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants of God’s various gifts of grace.”
Scott and I will probably never have the retirement most people will enjoy but we will live our lives completely and fully to the measure God has set for us through our retirement years.
7. “What do your big kids think about all these little kids?”
Sacrifice. We tell in our adoption story the amazing way our big girls (little then) wrapped their hearts around bringing home little EK when she was just 11 months old. None of us imagined we would bring home 7. There is no way adoption would have worked had they not been FOR it. Being for it doesn’t mean easy either. It is hard to be a child in a family and more being adding yearly, but God covers that too. Our big girls have changed and matured so much through watching and accepting their little siblings into our family. Our littles are SO very blessed to have their big sisters in their lives. ALL of our children are SO very blessed to have so many to love them.
God did a mighty work in our big girls’ hearts when He brought us to adoption, and we can’t imagine life any other way!
8. “You sure are blessing those kids and just so proud of you!”
The opposite couldn’t be more true. As much as we are blessing our children choosing them for our family, THEY are blessing us more than we can even put into words. We are different because of them. There are days when we think what if we had missed life with them, and other days we wonder what in the world did we do? But when all settles down and we remember the calling, we are the ones being blessed just for saying yes!
Blessings always abound when you say yes to God!
In the end, we can’t imagine standing before God and Him saying, “What in the world were you doing choosing all those children?”
What’s your biggest fear in raising a big family? Trust God. He is over it all!
Shay Ankerich is mom to nine going on ten kids (seven from China), wife to Scott, and a homeschooling mom. She loves Jesus, adoption, blogging, reading, photography, and long walks. You can find her writing at A Beautiful Symphony about Family, Home, Adoption, and School.