Someone commented, yet again, on the number of children we have.  This time, they chose to use the word “excessive”.  FPD and I, apparently, have adopted an excessive number of children.  Their comment was based, yet again, on the misguided notion that I can’t be giving each one of my seven children enough “individual attention”.  I’ve discussed here, many times before, why I hate having these conversations.  I hate the judgement that people feel they have a right to impose simply because we don’t have a mainstream family.

This comment burned more than the rest.  I think it’s because I hate the way the word excess was applied.  I’m no saint, and I certainly didn’t take in seven children that no one else wanted.  So, I certainly wasn’t going to argue that with this moron.  I did wonder, as this idiot kept blathering, when it had become a inalienable right to have your parents total and undivided attention in a way that makes it so that they can’t have more than the average two or three children?  When did we become so self-centered as to think that the only possible way you can raise a child is to make sure they feel like they are the center of the universe?  Is that the way the rest of the world of will feel about your child?  Probably not.  And, isn’t the point of parenting to prepare your child to live in the real world?  Sheesh.

And excess?  I don’t think so.  While I’m very blessed to have the children I do, excessive is the opposite of the word I would use to describe FPD and I.  We gave up a lot to make sure that our kids get absolutely everything that any other American child gets (without being excessive that is.  Tee hee).  They have extracurricular activities, they have really nice clothes (that I shop endlessly for with coupons and by stalking second hand stores) and I learned to braid hair in ways that make African-American ladies ask me which salon I take the girls to.

I wanted to tell this person how all these things pale in comparison to what my seven kids give to each other. 

I wanted to ask this person if she knew just how blessed my children are to have each other?  They have something that I’ll never have.  They have six other people who know exactly how it feels to walk the road they did.  I see them bonding in ways I never thought possible.  They understand each other, they care about each other and they are family.  I am four years older than my brother, and eleven years older than my sister.  My childhood was lonely.  We have only children hanging out at our house every single day because they are lonely.  Our house is a home.   Each child brings something to our family that I never thought possible.  Is it excessive to have seven children who know that this home is their place in the world?  Even when that place is sometimes loud, occasionally smelly and usually sticky, it’s their home, something some of them didn’t have up until now, until they found each other.

who doesn’t call that excessive at all.    

5 thoughts on “Excess.

  1. “Excessive” means “beyond what is needed”. So, which of the seven children in your home does this person think did not need you? Or that you did not need? So stupid!!And speaking as an only child – I did not have my parents’ undivided attention all day, every day. And when they had other things to do, I had _no one else_.Clearly this person was speaking from a narrow, Western/American point of view and has done very little to see how ODD our culture looks to people from other places. Our exchange student from Bangladesh thought it was very strange to have her own bedroom here, because at home she shares her room with her elderly GRANDMOTHER. And does so JOYFULLY. And shares her home with her siblings, some of their wives and their children, her parents, etc. And THAT is normal. This should make you feel better – they adopted three times as many children as you: http://www.byutv.org/watch/2164-101*grin*(And yeah, I’m behind with ONLY four. Someday I might catch up to you in your “excess”. HA!)

  2. I hope you do catch up! Because our house is NEVER boring. I wish everyone could have that. In the light of day, after sleeping on it, these comments bother me a lot less. It is such a shame to see people with such narrow minded views. I immediately thought of how self-centered our culture is. I love that your exchange students shares her room with her grandmother. I think that’s a testament to just how much family can mean. When my American kids whine about something absolutely foolish (like not getting the right dessert) I tell them to go and ask Ally and AJ how many desserts they got in Ghana. That quiets them down real quick. I guess we’ll just keep on rockin’ the excess over here!–FPM

  3. I am the oldest of 11 children (5 bio, 6 adopted) and while my husband & I do not choose this for our family, I respect that everyone knows how many kids they want. My mother got a lot of these kinds of comments while we were all growing up. There are always advantages and disadvantages to having larger or smaller families. But, it is a decision between, your husband, you, and God and NO ONE ELSE(and this includes nosy relatives).This reminds me of 2 interesting sites I found recently about what idiots will say to families with adopted children (http://www.significantlysimple.com/2011/03/what-not-to-say-series-part-3-adoptive.html and http://dimsumanddoughnuts.blogspot.com/2011/03/my-free-time-is-much-more-limited-now.html). Too bad stupid people don’t wear signs :-)Enjoy your children. Neither you, nor they, will ever have an excess of the things that matter: love, friendship, and support. And I will say that while it was sometimes rough growing up with so many children, it is wonderful to have so many wonderful aunts and uncles for my children!! 🙂

  4. I would just like to say, I think what you do is a wonderful thing, you have so much more courage than most of the people out there. And just remember that you are changing those children’s lives in a good way and I most certainly admire what you do for them, I wish I had the stability and courage to change unfortunate children’s lives someday…

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