Monday, October 12, 2020

More Answered Questions!

Unknown asked~

Coming from a large family, not large like yours, but large by 2.5 kid standards.... 
Which siblings are besties? Which siblings rub each other the wrong way? 
Do the bios pick favorite littles!?! 
(We have had foster kids and my bios, (apallingly) ((ha ha)) pick favorites! 
Not that the little kids know, but I KNOW!) How much external help do you bring in? 
I am fascinated and totally jealous & impressed with your family. 
Amazed that all your children (always) look fully loved and happy. 
Only peace and hopes for your joy, from me to you.

Thank you for asking "Unknown" (lol)!
We are so thankful to have for the most part,
a beautiful harmony with our 16 kiddos at home.
They actually get along really really well!
It's surprising!

We have the normal teen and tween loud voices, bantering, laughing and all
but we have very little actual fighting.

Sometimes I feel like our home is a middle school cafeteria with the noise level!
They are an energetic, interested, lively group!

A little bit more discord comes from the younger 3 boys
as the vie to be the one that's right, 
hold the remote control or have extended time of video games.

The kids tend to hang with the others around their age.
So the middle 8 (Jenny, Ava, Melissa, Anna, Abby, Sam, Ben and Madeline),
are quite close.

Mia really enjoys this group of kids, too!
Although she is older than them by 3-4 years, 
they still have a lot in common and
have a lot of fun together!

Mia and Ellie are really getting along well!
They are less then a year apart and have matured nicely! 
Ellie also enjoys the middle group of girls!

Mia did move out for a short while. 
It wasn't quite what she thought it would be, 
so she decided to move back home.
She feels safer at home and enjoys the busy household
with plenty of sibs to talk too!

Emma and Ellie are sooooo glad she is back!
They both said it's way more fun in their room
 now that Mia is back!

Luke, Joey and Mary!

Jake, Grace, Mary and Luke

The younger 5 (Mary, Grace. Jake, Luke and Joe), enjoy hanging out together!
Sometimes, Emma likes to do things with this group!
Emma likes everyone! She has a sweet spirit!

Mary keeps everybody in line!

All of the kids intermingle with each other 
and play games, watch shows and help each other out!

I love when the older kids help out and/or 
share an interest with the younger kids!

As far as besties go~
Emma adores her bio sib, Ellie.

Whereas Ellie, sometimes seeks more independence from Emma.

Our two younger girls, Grace and Mary are besties
and absolutely adore each other!

Except on the few days that they don't... (haha)!

Ava and Melissa have always been quite close.
They are close in age, intelligence and capability.
They banter back and forth like two old ladies!
One is bold and the other is soft spoken.
Both are witty and very funny!
That being said, Jenny, Anna, Abby and Madeline, 
also fit in perfectly with them.
Each having their own delightful unique personality!

(2006 before we brought our kids home)

The older bio kids tend to be closer to the kiddos 
that were home when they were home.
Mark and Johnny lived at home when we brought 
Anna, Sarah, Emma and Ellie home.
Johnny was home with Sam and Ava.
When they travel to China and meet them there, it makes a special bond!

Katie and I traveled to adopt Sarah!

Katie traveled with us to adopt Emma and Ellie!

Anna and Sarah went to China with us, too!

It was a blessing having us all there together!

Katie and Mark traveled to China in January 2013
to bring home Mia, Melissa and Madeline!

Sarah went with us!
She was an awesome interpreter!
On this journey, she almost forgot her Mandarin!
Thank goodness it came back to her after the first week in China!

Hubby and Mark traveled to China
for Ben and Joey!
I stayed home and took care of the other 11 kiddos!

The 2-3 weeks in China are definitely bonding!

Mark had everything under control!

And he knew how to wrestle two overly active 
young boys at the same time!!

Our kiddos that have come home more recently 
are not quite as close to the older bio kids 
because the big kids are adults now. 

They have jobs, some are married and some have children.
Three live in different states.
(These two are my Minnesota Boys!)

We are all FAMILY!

We all LOVE each other!

We couldn't ask for better big siblings!

All the younger boys adore the big bio boys!

And obviously... they all adore each other!

With bio kids and adopted kids...
we are abundantly blessed!

When everyone was younger it was like a litter of puppies playing!

I am so glad that you can see that our children are deeply loved!
Loving, raising and being with these amazing kiddos
is a priority in our lives!
They are such a blessing to us and 
we pray that they will always see us as a blessing in their lives!


Jennie asked~
Wondering if there are any picky eaters and if so, how do you handle this situation?

Some of the kids were picky eaters when they first came home from China.
They were "use to" a much different type of food, different smells and tastes.

During the first months home we would try to accommodate them 
and serve food that was simple and familiar.
(Rice, noodles, ramen, watermelon, eggs, chicken, etc)

When they would see the other kids eating regular(American) food 
they wanted to try it!
It didn't take long for them to just eat what the rest of us ate!

For some foods and for some of the kids,
it took longer.
Abby, Luke, and Jake had her likes and dislikes...
It took them a little longer to embrace our food.
Milk, pizza, mac and cheese and morning cereal 
took quite awhile for many of the kids!
They don't eat cheese in China and their milk is much different.

Sometimes, we would give them a little bit of the food they 
weren't fond of and let them try it. 
Mac and cheese and cereal were the last ones to be accepted!
I would not fix a different meal for them, 
so they just ate more of what they liked.

I have been known to say,
"I'm not a short order cook,
you eat what the family eats."

That works at this point because they are all 
young adults, teens and tweens!

Now that they are older, they just state their preferences.
We try to fix what the majority will enjoy!

For our family, food is celebratory!
It's an event with everyone helping out!
It's a gathering with good conversation!

(Christmas 2008)


Charlotte asked~

Hi Jean! Been following your blog for years and years now. 
Did Sarah move out? I didn’t see her on the recent pictures.

Yes, she has! She moved out in February
seeking more independence.

We understood and agreed.
We know she is happy and doing what she wants to do.

We heard from her in the beginning
but we do not hear from her now.
We wish her the best.

Thank you for your questions!
I think there may be a few more to answer?
I will get to them, as soon as I can...!

Blessings to you!


alisonsze said...

Thank you for sharing! It’s so insightful and I love the little laughs. You have a great sense of humour and attitude! Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Jennie said...

This is a fun recap and thank you for answering the questions! Incredible family with dedicated parents~both you and hubby are an inspiration.

I had read your blog for several years and keenly followed all your adoption journeys. It was really nice to view the early pictures of the children. Your writing style and wonderful sense of humor always made for an excellent read.

Looking forward to the next post, and the next and the next.....
Many thanks again for sharing your journey with the children.

jill funkhouser said...

would love to know you do it all financially?

MayLynne said...

Thanks for sharing--you must know how curious those of us out here reading can be! Your kids do always look happy, content, cared for, loved. You have made such a difference in their lives, as they have in yours. My breath caught when I read the words, "We heard from her in the beginning. We do not hear from her now." I was overwhelmed with sadness. I have a 19-year old daughter, also a Chinese adoptee, who just moved out. We celebrated with a family dinner the evening before she went on her way. She needs independence, but just like her older bio-sibs before her, she will be back for family celebrations and has already texted to ask for ingredient lists for her favorite recipes. I pray for you and Sarah that she will return, just as your 5 who left before her do, to celebrate special occasions and connect with you and all her siblings, (who must have moments of missing her, I'm sure)
Best wishes to all of you. I'm so glad you keep posting. You are one of the few remaining family bloggers who still post regularly! -- MayLynne

Unknown said...

One more quick question--why is Jake included in blog posts, but his picture is not on the sidebar with the others?

16 blessings'mom said...

You have an absolutely beautiful family! We have 16 kids, but they went and grew up too fast, leaving only four at home now, and sometimes I can actually hear the clock ticking and the dogs snoring. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, there is nothing in the world like a houseful of happy kids. Thank you for sharing!