We have been a family of eight for over three months now. I make that statement because it has taken awhile for it to set in terms of how we describe our family. We think of it as a gift, something that is perfectly natural and can't be that uncommon, right?? Both of my parents were from large families, we have several friends who have four or more children, my wife is one of seven, and I work with people who are from large families and have more than three kids.
Then why is it people are shocked and say inappropriate things when they learn we have six kids?? Is it because there is some type of negative stereotype of large families that is being portrayed in schools or the media? I bring this up because of an incident that occurred recently. One night I stopped into a McDonald's to pick up dinner. I know its not the healthiest of choices, but we needed something and it was getting late. I ordered six happy meals and when I got to the pick up window the young woman asked me if I had a lot of kids. I told her yes and what she replied back not only made me upset, but confused me as to why people think they have the right to say whatever is on their mind without thinking of the person they are directing their comment to. She said to me "You need to stop having babies! That's too many". I did not say the first thing that came to my mind (Thank you again Lord), although I do wonder how she would have reacted. I replied "We do not think its too many, why does it bother you?" She smiled and went to get the rest of the order. I was sitting there wondering if she was going to say something else, and to be honest I was feeling myself getting angry and feeling the need to defend our family and others like ours who work hard, raise our children to be responsible and caring people and ask who she was to judge. She gave me the rest of my order and said "I was just kidding". I told her I didn't find it funny and pulled away and came home.
That incident happened a few weeks ago and it has still been on my mind. I am not looking for any pats on the back because we have a large family. We do not introduce ourselves as the Nicely 8! (although theme music when we walk into the store would be nice!!). This occurrence really brings to mind other incidents, mostly on social media, where people think they can just express an opinion (when they are not asked directly) to someone without giving thought to other's feelings. We are not looking for sympathy here, not one bit. We knowingly and willingly increased the size of our family.
I wonder what my children would have thought had they been with me. Would it have caused them to feel like freaks? ashamed to be in a large family? like people would be staring at them? These are the effects when people make ignorant comments or ask inappropriate questions. I'm an adult I can deal with it, but my kids are different. No one has the right to make them feel like being in a large family is not natural or that they should be ashamed because of it.
I'll get off my soap box now. I want this blog to focus on the real life adventures, joys, struggles, triumphs, and challenges that come with the adoption journey.
Until next time....