Friday, February 27, 2015

Big Families- Either Love Them Or

Dislike them...

It's easy to tell which way others are feeling.
It written all over their faces.

The irritation of a grocery store clerk that cannot get through the isle because a crowd of little people (my children) are standing right in the way.

I did just happen to mention to the very irritated store clerk-

"Just say 'excuse me' and they will move."

Or the huge smile we are greeted with from somebody we have never met (shopper in the same grocery store) and with in 30 seconds she is hugging us!

It's something that we are learning to live with because 
people have opinions and it is their right to have them and
we cannot stop them from expressing them.

We so prefer the people that like us!
They are just a lot nicer!

Because we are such a big family we usually know how they feel... quite quickly.

9 times out of 10 we are greeted with a smile, kindness and QUESTIONS!
As long as the questions are asked kindly and tactfully we don't mind them.
We want to educate others and encourage others to adopt.
We want to open their hearts and their minds.

(While Katie and Emily were here we had to get a little creative when it came to sleeping arrangements!
This worked and the boys loved it!)

when an 12 yr old boy comes walking out of the game room at the park loudly saying-
"Whoa, there's a whole bunch of asians in there..."

I feel a need to kindly say...
"Be careful...
be careful what you say...
Think about it...
They are all mine.
So watch what you say..."
(and yes, I said it like any Momma Bear would!)

And then, as we are leaving
and hopping into Sylvia-

Another 12 yr old follows us and yells across the parking lot-

"Are they all adopted?
Are they all adopted?
Are they yours?"

If only I was quick witted and clever...

I ignored him until he said it louder and then I turned and said
"that's inappropriate".
(The children didn't even notice him but the words were cutting to me.)

Hubby was just walking by and handled it.
The boy quietly answered back to hubby...
"You have a beautiful family."
(Not sure that he meant it but we will leave it at that.)

Why do some people not like big families?

Maybe they are just having a bad day.
We are an inconvenience to them-
we slow things down, take too long and take up too much space.
Some people just don't like children.
They are afraid or concerned of how we "may" act and we ruin their moment.

We have had mainly positive reactions from most people.
We are so thankful for that!

As our family has grown so has our reality and attitudes.

I have watched us enter the dental office and completely take over the waiting room.
 I have seen us standing peacefully together doing nothing other than being together...

we are a crowd
no one can get by us...

You will often see us walking single file just so we don't disrupt others (and for safety).
I love to play telephone with the kids when we are walking in single file- we all end up laughing!
I say to the kids
"get behind me and make yourself skinny - pass it on"
"Watch your step - pass it on"
"Look left and right - pass it on"

One by one it goes down the line until it sounds nothing like what I said!

Because we are an extra large family I feel like we have a responsibility to do the best we can-
 to make sure we don't ruin others experience.
Whether it's a Dr's office, a restaurant, grocery store, church and the list goes on.

Don't get me wrong-
If I need to be a Momma Bear, 
I will be.

Don't mess with my cubs!
(or my grandcub)

Emily loved swimming in the pool!
It was a little chilly but she didn't mind!

I think it's okay to expect the children to behave when we are out and about.
I think it's okay to have the children be considerate of others.

I try to balance activities, errands, playtime, school time, etc.
If we have a day running errands most likely we will home the next day!
I love being home with our children!

There are times when
kids will be kids
and they may be loud, active, rambunctious, annoying, etc
And that's okay too!

In fact there may be a time when two of their favorite floaties pop...
or the beach ball ends up in the canal...
It's okay!
Floaties pop easy...
 and if a beach ball is kicked by an older sister...
 you just never know where it's going to go...

So, if something like that should happen...
not saying it did...
We simply replaced it.
I mean we simply would replace it!


And we wouldn't change it for the world!

Hubby is such a great cook on the grill!

In fact we see no problem with us becoming even bigger!

With a family like ours we also see responsibility.
The Lord has blessed us with many children.

(Sarah didn't want to get her hair wet- she is definitely a teen!)

We need to show Christ's love in all that we do.
Yes, we are human and sometimes fail.
Yes, others have this same responsibility!

Sarah got an itty bitty innertube!

BUT, we find ourselves watched by others more often now that we have grown in size.

Because we are a large family and noticed, is easier for others to draw a negative conclusion.
If they see us correcting a child they can very easily make the wrong assumption.

(While Sam got a HUGE one!
Sam thinks it's fair!)

Sometimes others can be judgmental when they have no clue of the actual situation...

If we have a little one or a parent who is not having a good day... we stay home...

When I am alone(no hubby) and shopping with the children(which happens OFTEN) we get what we need and we leave.

Large families do not "browse" at the store...

When large families are done eating at a restaurant...
they leave!
No, hanging out and chatting!
You leave while things are good!

When we walk into a restaurant
99% of the time
they have a look of fear...

 your kidding me... 17 people?
(We had Katie and Emily with us)

They offered us the 5:00 time slot or no deal!

Once we were seated and 
the pop machine didn't work for kitty cocktails and 
half their menu was not available because the vendor didn't show up
but our kiddos still did
And the parents
new that God was present so handled everything with joy and with HIS GRACE!
They were NOT afraid of us!
They actually really liked us!

Once we were done with dinner we did the...
all is well, it's time to leave
So Mia stood up and knocked over a glass and broke it ;-)
Wow, we were so close...

The answers are all in HIM!
Prayer, Grace, Forgiveness, Kindness, Patience

and simply go home if it's not working for you and your kiddos!

Home is such a good place to be!

(I happen to have an over abundance of pictures...
so sorry
 you may get tired of seeing us in Florida.)


Linda McMichael said...

I love, love your BIG family! I look forward to your blogs! Keep up the great work! Sometime when I'm in Iowa visiting our daughter I would love to drive to Minn and visit you for a day! We are parents to 7 bio kids who are grown now and I know the looks and comments we got, so I can't imagine yours :)

AK reader said...

Random long time reader, I don't think I have ever commented though.

My comment has to do with the second 12 year old boy who was yelling after you all if all the children were adopted. While not polite in the manner he did it. It does make me wonder if he was adopted himself, in foster care, or knew of another big family adoption. The fact that he said you guys have a beautiful family makes me think he was not trying to be rude but instead trying to connect. I could be wrong, just my two cents.

Megan said...

Love your BIG family! Thanks for sharing your perspective. We get lots of "looks" when out-n-about with our 5 little ones, so I can only *imagine* the stares and questions you receive. Your children are beautiful, and you're such a wonderful example of the love and joy that can exist within a large family. I would imagine that most people are staring at you with admiration!

Keep posting the pictures- I love seeing them ☀️🌻

Karen Twombly said...

I would hug your family in a grocery store any day!
I do feel bad for my adopted children that people look at us and I can see the wheels turning in their head and they know or think they know my children's story since we do not share the same race. But then I have to once again give it to God and see that this is His story for them, for us.
I admire the way you are able to keep the right perspective and would love to share an afternoon gleaning from you all that I could learn from you.
I have 7 kids and would love if God would double that number!!!
Thank you for writing,

Jennifer P said...

We have come to expect being seated in the "extra room" usually away from most of the other restaurant guests as soon as they see all the little kids. It's a perception, and like your family, we strive to prove them wrong. Great advice about staying home when you need to and educating others.

McChesney Family said...

love your big family !!!
trying to grow ours !!

Love Mia's smile

Brenda Fung said...

I love your big family!!!! And my family would happily sit WITH your family, not just beside.

Keep sharing photos....your family is lovely.


K said...

For a single mom, my four are considered by many to be a big family, but I just LOVE really big families and wish I was in a position to add to mine. First, I'd add a husband/father, then I'd just let the Lord guide me to more kids.

Lisa and Tate said...

I love you BIG family. I have only ONE kid and cannot get her to be good in grocery stores, restaurants or just hanging out. What is you secret?

Stephanie M said...

Great post, Jean! Love the photos, as always! Love seeing your time in Florida! You do not, DO NOT want to come back to this crazy below zero stuff! Stay there as long as you can, and we will live vicariously through your photos ;0)

Blessings to you for sharing your BIG family with us!!

Sammy said...

It is great for me to see you post this bc I go through it too. We "only" have 12, and 10 are Asians, but very often I have my sisters' Asians with me too. I think the biggest problem with rude people is they're nosy. I don't mind the interest and appropriate questions, but you do get plenty of the others. In the grocery I often see them instead of just going around us, they stop and "pretend" we're in their way when they really just want to stare at us as if we have 2 heads. My kids are awesome and behave 99% of the time which is more than the average kid. :- ) So there really is no excuse for people to make a big deal out of us. However, there are a lot of sweet people out there that make up for the rude/strange people.

The Cruzan Homestead said...

Thank you so much for sharing. We have lost 4 children & are still blessed with 3. I read your posts with longing. I appreciate that you post what is True - even when it isn't positive. I am blessed by your blessings & pray that you are blessed with more - resources, children & favor - whatever God sees fit to go you. Thanks so much for sharing

Lisa said...

You are truly blessed! Oh what I would give if my husband and I could adopt a lot children and have a large family. Children are a blessing from God. Wheither you adopt them or have them. I know from experience... I have one daughter that is now grown with children of her own. For years I have wanted to adopt, but just don't know how to make it happen. Forget the world, its what God had in store for these children, they are truly blessed to have you!