Thursday, June 07, 2007

A large (ish) family: part 1

So it's no secret that not only do we have FOUR children, we anticipate having even MORE children. Oh, I know what you're thinking. Why do you want so many kids? Do you have a death wish? Who does that?!

I am an only child, so growing up, if a family had more than about three kids, it seemed huge to me!

And originally my little life-plan was to marry Kevin, finish college, give birth to a few kids after about five years, and call it a day. HA! God intervened with those plans in a major way when I got pregnant with Anna 11 months after our wedding. (This was a happy thing, we were thrilled, and someone as precious and "fearfully and wonderfully made" as Anna will NEVER be called an "accident"!!!!) After having Anna we thought, heck, being a parent is so amazing and this little baby such a gift, let's have a whole slew of them!

By this point Gary Haugen (I always give this guy shoutouts) and his work on behalf of the oppressed had so touched and impacted us that when Anna was a little over a year old, God pretty much told us, if Jesus cares about the orphans, why don't we? So we pursued the adoption of 16-month-old twins Yosef and Biniam, our Ethiopian sons. Four months after going to Ethiopia, God blessed us with another pregnancy, and sweet Kaitlyn is 3 months old today. Whew! Four kids in three years!

Okay so why would we want a bunch of kids? Adoption and childbirth are miraculous and sacred. Motherhood, priceless. God never promises (or even advocates) an easy, convenient life. He DOES however say I should care for orphans, love my family, be busy at home, that children are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. How many kids do we want? I don't know, but so long as there are children around the world needing mommies and daddies, I'll have a hard time saying, definitively, "we're done."

For right now though I like to say we're "at capacity" with our four: the older three need a lot of my energy/attention, and a three month old is a bit of work too (though totally easy compared to three rambunctious toddlers!) Plus we have some major life decisions to make at some point(read: the husband is tired of commuting.) But we know we are not done growing our family. I think about AHOPE (not a day goes by where I don't), or God's call on my life (how should my life look being a follower of Christ? How is it radically different?), or go to my adoptive friends' websites (Shana, Shelley, Mary, Avery and Heather, and the rest of you!), and find myself eagerly anticipating a return to Ethiopia for another child (or children.)

Anyway I thought I'd take a few posts to share our dreams, hopes, concerns, and thoughts on our "large-ish" family (and why that term is so relative!) Hopefully this'll help you know us Heldts better, and what we're all about.


Jeannett Gibson said...

Love your Large(ish) family! Although any more and that new van will have to be traded in! :)

Becky said...

Hey Brianna,
This is Troy (not Becky). Large families are cool. You should come over around the 4th of July when my two sisters and their 11 kids (total between the two of them) are all running around. Actually they are all really fun to be around. Keep going!

Laundry & Children said...

When my husband and I got married I would literally laugh at him when he would say he wanted to have 6 or so kids. My usual comment was, "Well then you find a way to have them and I am all in." I insisted that I would be a mother to no more than 3 children. That was it, end of story. Now, we are expecting our 4th child in 3 and half years. Two adopted, two (soon) bio. Who is the one now saying she wants to have at least one or two more. That would be me. I once heard a line in a song that went something like "God laughs when we are making all our plans." It is a laugh of joy, because clearly He knows what is best.

shell said...

i love this post. it is exactly what i would have written ( except pregnant after one month of marriage, 5 kids in 5 years and my hubby has no commute. :)
i compeltely understand your heart and i cannot wait to see what god has in store for us! i cannot wait to re-read these posts in 5 years and smile at the ways that god has worked since then! you go large families!!!!!!!!!!!
ps. i am sure there are some super short commuutes in the midwest....

gracie :) said...

Amen! Preach it, sister! I am the oldest of seven children and I have to say it is one of the biggest blessings of my life to be a part of a large family. We have the best times when we all get together and we are all great friends (or at least working towards that...with a 21-year span, I still have young siblings!). My husband and I have always wanted a large family, but for seven years God has seen fit to deny us that privilege. Now, we are embarking on a new adventure of fostering and hopefully adopting. Beginning to see God's heart for these precious ones is truly staggering. I love watching your family from across the country and seeing God's heart in action. We hope to follow in your footsteps!

darci said...

great post! i so agree..although for a while we thought we were "done" at two, God has changed our hearts. Children ARE a blessing, yes, a lot of work too! :) like shelley said it would be fun to look back at these posts in 5 years and see where we are. darci

Lesley said...

Hi there,
When we adopted our two little ones from Ethiopia, we got more than a few people saying we were "crazy".
Our youngest had just turned 9 and most people said "why oh why would you head back into the baby stage? Why do people always assume that the baby stage is "bad"( We adopted a 7 month old and his 21 month old sister)
I so agree with you that God's heart is for the orphan. And...I would WAY rather look after these precious children than start looking at "relaxing" (Although teens aren't exactly relaxing either !!)
That being said, yes, it's hard work...5 kids is a lot of
My husband and I are seriously looking at moving to E. Africa and setting up an organisation dedicated to working with the millions of orphans there...and we're just waiting for the next round of people to tell us we're "crazy"
Who knows, maybe one day there will be 100 children sitting around my table!
Way to go with your wonderful family...I love reading your blog each day :)

Samantha said...

Thank you for your courage with a not so popular subject matter these days, even within the Church! We too are trusting the Lord to plan our family, whether that means we will have any more children or not. Children are a blessing and a definite means of refining. Our lives were never promised to be easy. We are here to serve the Lord and not our own desires. May God continue to guide each decision you and Kevin are making for your family. ( I am still within the "allowable" limits of the modern family. #3 is still okay, but I will be pressing my luck if the Lord blesses us with #4) :o)

Kristen Borland said...



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