That I love children has never been questioned. Since a child, as I watched my mother care so tenderly my younger brother and sister, the desire to have my own baby to hold, feed and love was great. I was always ‘collecting’ children where ever I went, in fact I often would rather ‘play’ with younger little kids then kids my own age. When I was 12, I we went sailing to the South Pacific with my family. It was a trip that was never to be forgotten. Beautiful weather, pungent pua-scented air and loving open people. On each island being members of the church made making friends easy. My sisters would alway attract the island boys, my brothers would attract the island women, and I, well, I attracted the island kids, and could not have been happier about it.
I still get teased about often our boat was awakened by the early morning chanting of my name. As I grew into a young women, and watched my mother continue to mother foster children, the neighborhood children and her own grandchildren, my desire to have a large family grew. This desire was often questioned and mocked, even within my church circle of friends. They would question my sanity and call me naive when follow-up questions would reveal that I expected to be a stay at home mother I was ridiculed and discouraged on many fronts. Those desires so deep in my heart never faded.
When I told my husband-to-be (we were chatting on the phone) that I would love 12 kids there was silences for several minutes. At that time, I was only thinking about having my own kids. When I was still in University, my parents started officially fostering kids. I was so excited. It was so fun moving back home and having our house full of little people. They were noisy, they were messy, they were defiant, but oh so fun. I remember how some of my young adult friends would come visit just to be attacked by a hoard of Pre-schoolers. The happiness these kids, who had had such a hard life, displayed as they romped through the forest, or went swimming with us was so rewarding. They soaked up the love that was poured on them eagerly. I am not sure my mom and dad had as much fun as me since they had to deal with bedwetting, hitting, night time wake ups, family visits ect. . . They didn’t complain, but now that I have children of my own in that age range I know that it was hard. In time my parents arranged to be a ‘forever home’ for three very active, amazing young boys who struggled with dealing with Fetal Alcohol. That was one of the best gifts, besides the gospel, that my parents could have given me.
The love I feel for those boys are deep and strong. Life has been bumpy with them since Fetal Alcohol is such a challenging disability, and there is so little known about it. Just before I was married, and right after, I have had many experiences to work with people who are mentally challenged, have different emotional and physical needs. Each person has blessed my life and my realization that God had a specific plan for me grew. I did not know what that plan involved but I knew it involved children. One evening, after our first baby had been rocked to sleep, my husband and I snuggled in and watched a movie called “The Inn of The Sixth Happiness”.
When I watched the main character lead so many war orphans across the mountains my heart wanted to burst. Something in my heart was touched and that night my husband and I had a very serious conversation about adopting. That was about 14 years ago. The desire to adopt never left me, I have just been so busy having my own seven children, and working towards finding a place to settle down. In the last 14 years I have been inspired by people like Michelle Duggar (she seems like such an incredible mother of many), Sandra Hanna, and Mary Beth Clark-all mothers of very large families. My husband especially liked the story about Hanna and Darrold because they worked so hard to be self-sufficient-his biggest concern besides lack of space is how he is going to pay for all these kids that he imagines my heart might prompt us to have. Last year, after countless of prayers our family moved out to the country. The move has been amazing for our family and we have felt very blessed.
Recently the scripture “Where much is given, much is required” has been awakening my desire to adopt again. When I approached the family about my desires, I was thrilled to see how excited everyone was about the prospect. I thought that I would blog a bit about the journey, struggles, thoughts and feelings. Since I am at the beginning of this process I do not know what if any children will be matched to our home (after all, I do have seven of my own kids the youngest still a baby) or when it will happen. I still think that exploring this option will be beneficial for my family and me. I am always interested in adoption stories and would love to hear from anyone who would like to share their story.