Okay so the reason I use the term "large-ish." Before becoming a part of the adoptive parents community (which is truly an honor btw), I thought a big family was 4 kids, and a huge family was 8 kids. No one had more than 8 kids, right????? (And the families with 8 kids were either Mormon or Catholic and usually homeschooled. Oh the joys of stereotyping.)
WELL may I just say that I now know a couple of families with more than 20 children? Nope, not a typo. The founder/head of our adoption agency for example has three birth children and adopted (I believe, I could be a little off) 18 children over the years. This woman is an all-around inspiration to me.
Anyway, now you can see why I don't feel really worthy of calling my family of four kids a large family, but most in our society probably consider that to be a lot of kids (and most days it feels like it is!)
I wanted to talk about my biggest fear in having a bunch of kids (besides the fear of losing my mind, which I probably already have!). I occasionally worry about not having enough love/attention to give each of my children as they get older. I don't want a child feeling like, Mom and Dad don't have time for me, don't care about me, etc. I want our family to feel close and I want to enjoy unique, individual relationships with each child. On the other hand I grew up an only child with parents who gave me plenty of attention, yet I remember those times as a teenager when you feel like nobody cares. So I don't think that is unique to kids in big families.
Maybe you already wonder how it's possible to properly love/parent/nurture so many so young at a time. How does it work? First, we don't do it perfectly. :) Second, we live a pretty darn simple life. The kids and I are home most of the time during the week (none of them go to preschool). Our simple outings are to Costco or Grandma's house or the nearby park. This summer Anna will be part of a weekly, 30 minute library program which I'm totally excited about. My kids play together and generally have a ball. I honestly don't get bored and I also feel like they do well with the structure and consistency that comes with the default of us being home, as opposed to living out of our car running lots of errands, eating fastfood and going to nonstop activities all the time.
(We do plan to send them to public school, so we won't be homeschooling. I used to want to homeschool and part of me still does, but I don't think so. I suppose that's another blog topic in and of itself!)
When Kaitlyn was born I mused that she was born into a completely different home than Anna was: Anna was born into a peaceful, calm environment, just her and Mom and Dad. Kaitlyn on the other hand was born into lots of noise, activity, and has to "share" us. BUT, then I saw how Biniam gently rocked her in her carseat when she was crying, saying "Shhh Kaitlyn, shhhh", or how Yosef kept attacking her with hugs, or the way Anna would pray every single meal/bedtime that Kaitlyn's foot would heal (she still does!), and insist on giving Kaitlyn a hug and kiss goodnight each night. And it occurred to me that little Kaitlyn was born to not just two loving parents but THREE adoring, doting siblings who think the world of her. What a lucky little girl!
(Will write some more about this whole big family thing.)