How to respond?

Getting to know someone through their writing is undoubtedly difficult. Even the most eloquent writer fails to capture the entirety of life within the limitations of their character alphabet, those finite combinations of letters and sounds that meld together as in imperfect portrait in text. Just like the rest of the art forms, what comes through is a collection of impressions, viewpoints, ideas. But not the whole. I realize I may have been remiss in filling in the blanks in my attempt to be succinct and more contemplative in style, to the exclusion of reporting hard facts and boring details. So here, in a few bullet points, I aim to make more clear my vision for this, my life, in the next five years, adoption included.

1) School is one of my great joys. I love being a student and look forward to being a university educator someday. I commenced my education at this busy juncture of my life based on the availability of federal student aid repayment programs addressing the nursing faculty shortage. I will work for four years post-graduation, full-time, completely online. This will be a similar workload to my current studies. I don't expect a drastic increase. Around the time my oldest is 12, and life is getting busier with children's commitments and activities, my career will be something that can slow down or pick up, if need be. I am committed to my life as a stay-at-home mother, and feel blessed by God and my dear, supportive husband and family that I have the opportunity to advance my education to allow me to make money - and stimulate my brain and help shape the brains of thousands of young nurses - all from my front room desk. I don't believe there is anything wrong with finding ways to augment your family income, as long as you keep God, husband, and children a priority high above career goals or material possessions. Two thousand years ago, I might have been a seller of purple (Acts 16:14) or the businesswoman of Proverbs 31. Thirty years ago, I might have done day care from home, sold Watkins door-to-door with my children accompanying me, or taken in sewing or editing work. In today's world, I'm a grad student preparing for a life as an online educator. I don't believe that goal is incompatible with parenting...otherwise I wouldn't be doing it!

She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes. (Proverbs 31:16-19)

2) Adoption lights me up. It is my opinion that I am much too comfortable with my standard of living, my easy schedule, and my level of commitment and service to others. Adoption is something both I and my husband feel called to do. We feel it would be remiss not to continue to knock on that door (which takes at least 2 years to open, at the least) despite what we see as insurmountable difficulties standing in the way. We have the approval of my physicians to go ahead with this plan, envisioning better health just around the corner. As it stands, my health in no way incapacitates me as a mother to my current four children, who are vibrant, healthy, clean, intelligent, curious, and in other ways well cared for. Those who know me "off paper" would assure you this is true. That being said, we won't add another child to our family until the current health storm is sufficiently resolved. It takes exorbitant energy and time to connect with a child who has lived a life of deprivation, loneliness, solitude, and destitution. I will only take that on when I can do so with a good reserve of both time and energy. That isn't today...but it might be two years from now, or four, or six!

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important then clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-27, 34

3) I believe in hard work. I believe working hard develops character and allows me to fully live my days here on earth, instead of wasting them in lazy repose. I don't think I need much beyond food in my belly and clothes on my back to live for Christ. I am willing to give up or use up the rest of my material possessions in serving others. I think it is silly postmodern mentality to believe that one woman can only care for four children. I admire the beautiful community I see develop in larger families, where older children undoubtedly take on some minor care duties of younger children, and younger children learn from siblings as well as parents. Counter to our current consumer culture, I believe children should be taught an attitude of service from an early age. In some ways, a large family is a natural counterbalance for selfishness, idleness, and loneliness.

As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it. (Genesis 9:7)

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)

I think sixteen children is more than I, personally, can handle. But five, six, seven or eight doesn't scare me a bit. My biggest concern about mothering a large family is what type of vehicle will be required to convey us from point A to point B. I think everyone's limit is different. After all, we all have different talents, resources, and missions in life. I am certain I have been placed on this mission of mothering, and I don't want to limit my perception of my capacity for hard work based on culturally-defined "norms" for family size. After all, it's only been a few generations since families routinely had seven or eight children.

She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her... (from Proverbs 31)

Some readers might be confused why I go into detail about these thoughts at this point. Part of my purpose is transparency: I write from the perspective of my life circumstances, my faith, and my vision for the future. It seems only fair to divulge those details when constructive to do so, as a source of encouragement and explanation. Also inherent in the blogging process are the anonymous comments of critique. I've gotten a few lately, and because these readers asked for a response, I decided to do so. In the future, I don't plan to respond to anonymous comments. If you wish to engage me in constructive dialogue, I would be more than happy to do so. Please leave your name at the bottom of your comment if you do not have a blogger account. Otherwise, I have no way to identify where the comment originated from.