I had an aquatience last week remind me I had a lot of children, and said she was hesitant to celebrate our family because it seemed like too much. This was a chance run in on friday. For those of you who know me, know how much I struggle with that assessment. Girls with eating disorders often say: "I feel like too much" kids who have behavioral problems know people say they are "too much" and big families are often seen as really neat from a distance but too much. First, everyone has their own too much threshold. It is ok that my passion is not yours! Spending all day making Kombucha like one of my fiends is too much for me, or singing in a show, but I am able to celebrate this difference without judging this difference. Welcoming children into our home with a 100% chance of heartbreak (sadness over them leaving or sadness someone I love is loosing a birth parent) is not for everyone! My response to negativity is very often to retreat, get off social media, try to make myself and our mission somehow quiet, or smaller.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit but do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. –
Retreating and feeling hurt does nothing to promote foster care, or explain why it is worth it to be "too much" in this way. Feeling sorry for myself is selfish, it really is. It reminded me how often I wish I had a rewind button to call on humor when I am offended. A friend has adopted two beautiful girls from China, she told us of being stopped in the grocery store and being asked if they were REAL siblings. Her response was "Well they fight in the back seat of the car, does that count?"
I loved her spunk and humor, especially because the girls were watching her respond. Watching her deflect and claim them at the same time. Often an adoption or foster care question is not ill intentioned! And with age and experience my ability to lean into Grace has evolved tremendously. When I was asked at the wading pool years ago why "that one" pointing at one of my sons, looked middle eastern, my response was "Oh my handsome son right here?" He was listening, big beautiful brown eyes wide with confusion. I lost all other ability to respond and have been coming up with zingers I've never used, ever since! That said, anger does not serve me as a mother, or serve my children to witness as a response.
I had a chance to talk this latest encounter over with the three oldest boys, man they are pretty neat guys! One of them reminded me our family had weekly prayer and meeting, we were connected and running more smoothly than ever. Another mentioned that our "too much" creates more time for us together and is a way we can serve in our home not being able to take a service trip or do things we might be able to as a smaller family. The last son asked why on earth I cared what anyone else thought? And it's not the son you would expect!
In conclusion, keep talking, keep modeling love and humility. When I turn to quiet contemplation, this weekend time by the fire at the cabin, time in prayer and time talking to my husband and children, I find my self calm and gracious. If I respond without taking time for these things I am a hot head and not my best self. Humility can be painful! If hard things come up use humor, use Grace and forgiveness. What is your "too much" and how have you found ways to share your passion? I hope we can guide and nurture our children so they never, ever despair that they are too much, but rather fearfully and wonderfully made.