We have 9 children, ranging in age from 17 years to 2 years.  We have had an active life these past 18 years, to say the least.  I never thought I would have 9 children, but it just sort of happened.  Now, before you say anything, yes I do know how it happened.  What I mean is that we didn’t plan on having a large family, but, more importantly, we did nothing to prevent having a large family.  So, almost 19 years after our marriage, my wife Diane and I have a family of 11.

 

While I am absolutely tickled pink over my wife and kids, having 9 children can seem overwhelming at times.  And, given the fact that I am no longer in my 20s, having 9 kids can feel overwhelming as well.  I had been known to mumble that I was “too old for this,” or “I can’t keep up,” or “#@*&!”  Just kidding about that last one – this is a family blog, after all.  It was in this setting that my wife and daughter first brought up the idea of adopting an orphan from China.  Actually, our daughter is the one who first became interested in international adoption, and once she learned of the overwhelming need to find families for so many orphans, it became a passion.  She convinced her mom that we should pursue such an adoption, and after showing her countless pictures of sweet little faces, Diane relented and embraced the idea.

That was the easy part.  The knew that the hardest part would be somehow getting the father (that would be me) to agree to such an undertaking.  Well, let me tell you, I was not at all happy with the prospect of adding to my already seemingly insurmountable responsibilities.  No sir, I had done all I could do, and I could not emotionally or physically (or financially) handle bringing another child into our family.  Needless to say, I did not please my wife and daughter with this response.  But, for some reason, the two of them continued to dream about adopting a little girl from China.  I would walk into a room, only to see the two of them huddled together, grinning at the computer screen as they searched through the far too many waiting children.  This annoyed me.  Hadn’t they heard me the first time?  How dare they not respect my wishes to avoid any further burden in my life.

This scene repeated itself over and over again over the course of about a year.  One day, Diane and Victoria came to me and wanted me to just look at one more picture, even if we weren’t going to adopt.  I relented, and they showed me the picture of a 13 year old girl in an orphanage in China.  She, like many other children, would “age-out” of the system on her 14th birthday, and would never, ever have the chance to be adopted or to have a family of her own.  Once a child ages out, their future prospects are very dim; they often end up on the fringes of society.  When Diane told me that, right then and there I knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that we had to do everything in our power to go and get that little girl.  She had to be our daughter.  She broke my heart and made me fall in love with her.  What a sneaky trick!

 

So, Mr. Grumpy Pants had a change of heart, and I’m so glad that I did!

– Mark

P.S.  If you’ve ever considered adoption, please don’t wait any longer to “take the plunge.”  These children can’t afford to spend another day without the love and nurture of a forever family.  And if you haven’t considered adoption, might I just say, “Snap out of it!”