“Why do you want more kids?” people ask me when they find out we’re planning to adopt. “Don’t you think you have enough already?”
I don’t know how to answer this question because I don’t know how many kids is enough.
Do I have enough kids to drink all the milk before it goes bad? Yes.
Do I have enough kids to make our own basketball team? Yes.
Do I have enough kids to finance our orthodontist’s dream trip to the Caribbean? Yes.
So…is that enough?
I find myself stumbling over answers because the question is all wrong. It infers that the reason for having children is to fulfill something in us, and people should only have the minimum number it takes to be personally satisfied.
When people say to me, “Don’t you have enough kids already?” the assumption is that I am somehow unfulfilled by the number of children in my home now. I need more children in order to be happy, and isn’t that selfish and irresponsible of me?
Why on earth would I want more?
The simple answer is, I don’t want more kids.
I do not want to add broken children to my manageable home. I do not want to risk my own children’s emotional or physical safety in order to take on someone else’s “problem.” I don’t want to pour my heart into a child who might hate me in return. I don’t want the lice. I don’t want the attachment disorders. I don’t want the sexual aggression, the lying, stealing, manipulating—any of it.
I am not lonely, or bored, or in need of affirmation. I don’t want more kids because I have some kind of superhero complex, or because I’m such a great mother. I don’t want more kids because somehow, five kids is not enough. Oh, no. Five kids is enough, and some days, I am not sure I can handle one more.
(Of course, I said that when I had one. And I said it when I had three. And now I have five and I really, really think it’s true this time.)
I don’t want more kids because I think I can handle more. I know the truth: in my own humanity, in my own weakness, I can’t.
I cannot love more than enough children. I cannot have Christ-like compassion for the child who shreds me with her brokenness. None of us can.
What wrecks me is this: God doesn’t seem to be particularly interested in what I can handle. He seems to care more about what He can handle.
And that just blows the question out of the water. At the end of the day, fostering is not about me. It’s never been about me. It’s not about my ability as a mother, my desires as a human being, or even my comfort level as an American.
It’s about what God has called me to do through His power working in me to love my Savior by loving His children. It is the thing that makes the “wanting to” irrelevant and the “able to” inconsequential. God wants, and God is able. That is enough.
Do I want more children?
The only people who ask that question are clearly not God because that is not a question God ever asks.
God does not ask if we want to love unwanted children (James 1:27). He doesn’t even have the consideration to ask us if we’re able to. With all the audacity of the Lord of the Universe, He assumes that if we’re breathing, we can do better than just think of ourselves and do for ourselves because He did better, and it is His power at work in us equipping us to be and do like Him. Not our strength. Not our ability (Ephesians 3:20).
It’s scary to believe it. I do not like to jump into the unknown and hope to heaven I land on supernatural wings. I am afraid, and that fear would make me turn tail and run if not for this: my fears do not excuse my obedience to God.
Fears are the stuff of shadows anyway. Worst-case scenarios rarely happen. The worries I toss about in my head are minor in comparison to the actual, horrific suffering of real children, right now.
I look at my home, my godly, patient husband and my compassionate, loving children, and I know that I cannot allow imaginary hurts to keep us from infusing living hope into a child’s present, perpetual, real-life.
That doesn’t mean hurts won’t happen. We will do everything we can to prevent them, but love doesn’t always come out clean. Our five kids might feel the sting of it
But for our sixth child, it will hurt much, much less. Infinitely, eternally, less than life hurts now.
That is the thing that keeps me pressing forward when my heart fails. Do I want more kids? No.
What I want is to get to the end of my wants. I want to get to the end of controlling and taking on only what I can do. I want the immense privilege of seeing what God can do through me. That fills me with unspeakable, illogical joy at the prospect of being used as He wills. I have a Christ-like love for a child who is not my own and all the anticipation of Christmas at the gift—the privilege—of being his mother, no matter the cost.
Why do I want more kids?
That is why.