How do you know when your family is complete? I suppose another side of that question is: How do you know when your family is ready to add another child?
This response came via email from Julie:
I really do not know how God directs other families about adopting/adding children. I am sure He has many ways. For us, He has prompted us to consider many things:
Our fear is not an accurate indicator of God’s will for us.
Finances (or rather, lack of) can be overcome by God. (Do not read: God will send all funds; read: God will enable us to make all sacrifices necessary.)
God is okay with weak, unlikely vessels of service.
Do our concerns in this issue reflect God’s concerns (as stated in His Word), or do they reflect concerns of the world around us?
It is okay for others to disagree with us.
Just because I cannot handle more today, does not mean I will not be able to handle more tomorrow.
Hard is not wrong!
Risk-taking and hardship are often the shortest route to GREAT BLESSING!
Now it is my turn.
We always knew that we wanted a big family, but we had no idea we would have eleven children or even that we would adopt. Our first five babies were 22-25 months apart, which was good, and we were happy. My pregnancies, however, were becoming increasingly medically complicated. After Noah was born, the perinatologist told Russ that unless he wanted to raise three children alone, we had better stop having babies. We did pause and consider this, but we did not feel that the doctor was right. The statistics weren’t in our favor, but God was, and we knew we weren’t done having babies.
After Samuel’s pregnancy I had a medical crisis, and we were worried, but I came through it and life settled back in. God blessed us with another baby and “Rusty” was born 22 months later. His pregnancy was the most complicated and I developed a blood clot requiring an extended hospitalization and twice daily injections for the remainder of my pregnancy. After he was born we thought we were done having babies – much to my parents’ relief.
As strange as it may sound, I grieved over the loss of having more children. I didn’t feel done and my heart was not at rest. When Rusty was three, after much prayer and many hopes, we talked with my hematologist and asked her if she would help me through one more pregnancy. I’m sure she thought I was insane, but she was also a mother and wonderful woman, and she said she would stand by us. I began that pregnancy with daily injections (as well as other treatment) and had a great pregnancy. I felt wonderful and was very joyful when Ladybug was born.
I hoped that I would “feel done” now that I had six children, and that I would find contentment that I hadn’t felt before. Truthfully, the longing wasn’t gone, but I was embarrassed to admit it. I had six incredible children, three of them born after a doctor advised us never to have another baby. Through those years we had wanted what God wanted for us, and He had not taken the desire for children from us, so we followed Him and prayed for health and protection for me and the babies I carried.
We moved to a new home, new state, and new life. We were content in so many ways. I yearned for another baby to hold, nurse, and love, but I was thankful to God for all that He had given me. Then when Ladybug was three (this is a theme in my life), the Lord abundantly blessed us with another baby. Again, I had a great pregnancy – joy carried me through – even the injections were easier this time. When Boo was born I knew that she was a sweet blessing for us. She arrived a week before my 39th birthday and my heart was overflowing with joy for her.
Russ was definitely done having babies and I knew that I had been blessed more than I deserved. I was content. I had never felt it before, but I had peace and as far as I knew, my family was complete.
Then when Boo was three (you see, this keeps happening to me), my friend Emily called to tell me that they were adopting two little boys from Ethiopia and that call opened our hearts to the possibility of adopting children. You can read about it HERE. It didn’t take much for us to know that God was calling us to expand our family through adoption. I have written in the past about our decision to adopt two little boys, then adding Dimples to the family at the same time. I’ve also written about meeting Honeybee and having a great burden for her. I came home determined to find a family for her and months later God told us we were the family we had been praying for.
Our experience has been that we have always been open to children and believe with all our hearts that children are a blessing from God. Our greatest joy is our family. God has always shown us when a child was meant to be added to our family whether by birth, or now through adoption. Although it wa
s a leap of faith, we were confident that we were meant to add our little boys to our family. Again, when we realized it was possible to adopt Dimples, God made it clear that we were meant to bring her home. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the moment when I realized Honeybee was meant to be our daughter.
As far as we know our family is complete. Although I have the greatest admiration for families who adopt dozens of children, that is not where I believe the Lord is leading us. The needs of our children are significant and God has given us a strong sense that our cup is full, at least for now. I have learned enough, through my years of following Christ, that I would be a fool to say I know for certain we will never add another child to our family. Who knows what God has in store for us?
For today, my work is set before me. These are challenging times for us – but we have each other, our family, our friends, our Lord, and we are pressing on in the work that we have been called to do.
Thank you so much for reading this long post. Keep sending questions my way and I’ll be sure to share them in a future post.
Have a wonderful weekend.
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