Large Families: the Good, the Bad, the Blessing (part one)

May 7, 2016 large families, May 2016 Feature - Large Families, toddler adoption 4 Comments

This is part one of a two part series. Part-one shows us the everyday nuances of life with a large family. It also shares this family’s story of how God led them to their sixth child who was waiting for them in China. Part-two will share with us an abundance of practical and fun ideas for managing a large family.

I’m lying on a bottom bunk with one wiggly freshly-bathed daughter on either side, settled in to reading the much-debated bedtime book of choice when I hear the familiar footsteps in the hall and click of the door.

Right on time.

This is a nightly thing.

My 13-year-old always seems to have a radar that tells him when I’m putting the girls to bed. And almost every night, he interrupts the bedtime routine to come say goodnight to each sister, now five and four years old, one born in Wausau, WI and one born in Baotoa, China. There are hugs and the rubbing-off-the-kiss-on-the-cheek game. He turns to go, I watch him leave and get a lump in my throat at the young man he is becoming.


We are 20 minutes into dinnertime and I have yet to sit down. You know the drill. One (or two!) cups have spilled, silverware has dropped, three people need their meat cut, one child has to be counseled in the hallway to avert a tantrum about something oh-so-important like them not wanting their meat cut. And the noise. Oh, the noise. A few kids are continuing their drumming practice from the afternoon on the kitchen table. Three or four people are attempting to tell a story at the same time. A well-placed burp of considerable volume echoes for days. I shoot my husband a glance that says, “Make it stop!”


When we sign up for this gig, we get it all, don’t we? The gorgeous take-your-breath-away moments and the moments when all you want to do is walk out the front door and keep walking. And everything in between.

Every day! Sometimes in the same minute! And if you’ve walked the adoption road, you can attest that the level of those highs and lows often intensify with the addition of our non-bio beauties.

When God laid adoption so strongly on our hearts in April of 2012, I was not excited about it. In fact, the closest emotion I can think of to describe it is somewhere in the anger category.

Why, God?

Why would you ask me to do this? I like things they way they are!! And besides, we have no room in our house, no more seats in our van, no time in our schedules and most days I feel like I’m barely keeping up with parenting five kids as it is. I honestly thought (blushing here) that since my family was already “large-ish”, I was off the adoption hook. Surely God wouldn’t ask me to do that, he’s already called me to raise five kids.

But God was persistent and gentle and gracious and DID mold our hearts to the point of saying yes. When I look through the pages of Scripture, I see that this is kind of a trend with God. He has unique (okay, crazy!) ideas of who He thinks is qualified to do things.

Who should I choose to speak before kings and lead an entire nation out of slavery?
I know, how about the guy with a speech impediment named Moses.

Who should I choose to defeat the whole Midianite army of tens of thousands?
The nobody with zero faith named Gideon.

Who should I choose to further the spread of the Church and write half the New Testament?
Paul, the guy who had been persecuting the Church to no end.

Who should I choose to grow their family through adoption?
That stressed-out family over there with five kids under age nine.

This is okay, because He is the Equipper! He is the Power Source!

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus … equip you with everything good that you may do his will.”
Hebrews 13:3

He is the Master Planner!

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Eph. 2:10

He gets to call the shots, He’s the One who sees all – past, present and future.

“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” Psalm 115: 3

God doesn’t just call people with spare bedrooms and extra seats in their van. He knows how to rig the system to make the logistics work. Sometimes you have to close your eyes and jump, like Nora in this picture, who never had any doubt that her Daddy would catch her.


We’ve been a family of eight for two years now. Our beautiful Linnea Lu, born April 2012 (Does that date sound familiar? ☺ hint: several paragraphs up) came home in May of 2014.


Linnea is such a blessing to our family – an energetic, feisty, loving, joyful soul! I look back at my initial days of angst over the prospect of adoption and can confidently say now that the Lord knew what was best for our family – not easy, but best. Though there have been intense ups and downs in all of parenting (bio kids included), I can honestly say that I wouldn’t trade having a big family for the world!


-guest post by Rhonda

4 responses to “Large Families: the Good, the Bad, the Blessing (part one)”

  1. Sara says:

    Oh man! I am that mom of (soon to be) 5, feeling stressed and overwhelmed and illequipped, yet also called (and poked and prodded and convicted) toward adoption. I guess I thought I was off the hook too. Your post is both inspiring and terrifying!

  2. Shauna says:

    I see our family in yours. Such an encouragement not to feel alone in this “crazy” situation. We just had our 5th kiddo and are LID for a little guy from China. We even have a Nora. Hello big van.

    • Rhonda says:

      Solidarity, sister! 🙂 Enjoy your big ol’ van, or as my kids call it, “the bus”. Praying for your family’s transition, for each and every person in your family. God’s got this.

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