10. Are they all yours? Yes. they are all of mine. recently at Costco a man commented that we had a lot of groceries. we said something like "we have 16 kiddos at home." He said, "Wow! i thought I had a lot with 11!" We replied, "that is a lot!" (people often think this is a competition) He said, "well, mine are all from one wife." John said, "well, I can't make that same claim." Then, we left. I felt horrible that he might of thought we were polygamists or something. Then, I thought, "Who says stuff like that?" Who says well, mine are all from one wife!
9. "I couldn't do foster care, I could NEVER give them back" Someone just said this to me at a meeting I attended. I know they didn't mean anything wrong by it but, that hurt. Do people think I am the Tin man and don't have a heart? Do they think I believe children are disposable? Do they think I hand children back and leave with no sadness? Do they think I am not haunted by the loss of all of these children that have come through my life? It is definitely NOT easy. It hurts and it is hard. I am normal. I hurt like everyone else. Do you know what it is like to exclusively care for a child for 1 year or more and then they have to leave your home?
8. How do you manage all of their "problems" ? It is hard. they have issues that they didn't create. But, I would like they have "problems" just like the rest of us do. Many of them are from living in a home were parents are still learning their priorities. They didn't create this.
7. I would be too afraid for my children to ever take in a foster child. This is often followed up by "they would introduce them to too many bad things". You always take a risk exposing your children to things you don't want them to know. I take the risk when they watch tv, play with a friend, go to Disneyland, attend school...the list goes on and on. For the most part, kids are going to expose other kids to the things they have learned. Kids may find out the Easter Bunny or Santa aren't real from other kids too. We take preemptive measures and talk to our kids before they find out from someone else. Our children are prepared for what they may see, hear and experience. They may find out things a little earlier that other children but, that is okay. We constantly ask, "what do you think about that?"
6. You must be angels. I honestly cringe when people say this. The truth is we make a million mistakes every day. (John less than me, of course.) We have more opportunity (more kids) to make more mistakes than the average parent. We are definitely not angels. We yell, we get frustrated, overwhelmed and a myriad of other emotions with our kids. We are however trying to be the best possible people we can be.
5. How can you manage it all? We have a great team. We all contribute. John loves it when we actually coordinate it all on our cell phone calendars. :) That really makes him happy. John has worked overtime lately because I have been gone working. (That will change in 5 weeks). But, we have each others back.
4. Do you know all of your kids names?This one is hilarious to me. I was seriously asked this question on multiple occasions. Do you know YOUR children's names? Really? I may get hung up on the year they were born but yes, I know their names. geesh!
3. It must be easier having older children who can help with the youngers all of the time. My answer? You either don't have older children or you don't have older and younger children. The truth is, my children are incredible. They help so much! But, raising my kids is my responsibility not theirs! They do help a lot when asked but, it isn't always a pleasant encounter. They don't always WANT to help. They are kids after all. many of them, have not had the actual experience of being kids.
2. How can you afford all of those children? This one is very personal to me. The fact is, we have been incredibly blessed! People continue to surprise me with their generosity towards our family. We have lived on one income for almost all of the 23 years we have been married. This has been a great blessing. No kidding, money can be tight sometimes. But, we make due with less. We rarely eat out. Going to a movie is a luxury. We don't (GASP!) have cable tv. We save where we can.
1. What is this group about? (we are just a family) Then, who are your real children? This makes me laugh. People often have an awkward hand gesture that accompanies this question. They often follow this up with the second question. Really? They all look real to me how about you? When they persist, we thank them for the added therapy sessions they have created. They are all of my real children. Yes I have some biological children but, lets not discuss that in front of the kids that can hear you.
Bottom line? Think before you speak. I don't often get offended. Although that guy at Costco...really? My kids have learned to deal with the questions/stares and the disgust that oozes from people who don't agree with the amount of children we have. All in all, people are pretty darn nice. people want to understand they just don't always think how it sounds.
I love what we do. In 5 weeks, I will love being home again permanently. sometimes I wish I could speed up time and be home now. I have learned there is no place I would rather be than home with my family. I will answer the final question (even though I have several times now) Yes, we will probably have more...