How do you know when you’re ‘done’?

I have a new post up at Larger Families: Done?   Go comment… please??

Also, some may be interested in reading my interview with Melissa Faye Greene, author of There Is No Me Without You


  1. How do you know?

  2. Thanks so much for your post to Larger Families about being “done”. I especially appreciate the “Savior Complex” comment – we don’t adopt simply to “save” children, yet there are certain realities of what their lives will be like without the love of a family. We are awaiting our fourth child from China, and given our ages (I’m 43, DH is 53) and the financial realities of intercountry adoption, it appears that we will be “done” when we get her home. Already I am grieving. Thanks for sharing your struggles – so many people think I’m ridiculous for being sad about having to stop at four!

  3. My husband has a very simple formular:
    – If you do not have another bedroom in your house that you don’t want to leave, you’re done!
    – If you can’t afford to save for another 4 years of college, you’re done!

    For us, that means 2 — but since I always wanted more, I borrow kids from other people and have them hang out in our house!

  4. Chinamama4:
    I so understand your sadness… (see above, sigh), but also think about the focus you can lavish on your kids. If you are still sad, especially when they start to leave the nest perhaps you can do something that I plan to do:
    — volunteer in school, become a auntie/granny for hire, foster kids for a while….
    no replacement, but it keeps you in contact with kids!

  5. Actually, lots of people feel that paying for your college for yourself makes you work harder at it and be more committed. My husband and I both paid for our own college, and feel it was one of the best decisions our parents made. During our college education, we saw plenty of rich kids squandering the resources their parents provided.

    Not all kids will need college to have a successful happy life. But if a kid is determined and motivated and studies hard in high school, he/she will find a way to get through college.

    My hubby and I are not planning to pay for our children’s college. But we are investing in our kids’ high school education, helping them prepare for the SAT and ACT, so that they will be more competitive for the various scholarships out there. That is our contribution to their college education.

    Our oldest is currently attending college, all expenses paid, thanks to a combination of scholarships and grants. No loans even, so far.

    We have every confidence that if our children want to attend college and are motivated to work hard, they will be able to do so.

  6. The funniest thing just happened. I just got done replying, above, and after I hit ‘submit’ I went to check my email. There was a mail from my daughter, saying that she’s just been awarded another grant. Wow-what timing. God provides.


  7. Waiting for Iyasu says:

    And hey, there is nothing wrong with doubling or tripling up with the bedrooms, either!!

  8. Mary,

    That was a wonderful, touching, and so-true post at Large Families. We have 4 beautiful boys and I have felt a strong pull to adopt a daughter from Ethiopia for 8 months now. My husband feels “done”. It is truly heartbreakingly hard to wait on this. I feel that our daughter is waiting for us and it is a terrible ache. I am so blessed with 4 boys but I am so not done. But yet, we cannot move forward to adopt a daughter until we have unity in our desire to add to our family. That’s the hardest part of the “done” question for me. What happens when one spouse says “done” and the other says “I’m not done”?

  9. kristin, 9 years ago we were in the same place as you. Have you clicked the link in my sidebar titled “Us? Adopt?” if not, you might like reading it…

    All the best!


  10. There does seem to be some instinct for saying the family is “done”. I do love children, but being pregnant and post-partum depression, I definitely was done. Neither of us ever felt a need to foster or adopt. Then one day we realized we were okay.

    “We have every confidence that if our children want to attend college and are motivated to work hard, they will be able to do so.”

    This is the attitude we instilled in our sons. They earned the grades in high school, filled out forms for scholarships and grants. We also told them the many pitfalls of student loans.

    My husband agreed to pick up a small shortage about tuition. Their paternal grandmother promised money for books. (one semester that meant 6 grandchildren in college, but she came through!)
    However, our boys have jobs for any extras. They all 3 lived at home rent-free for the first couple years (an advantage of living in a community with 3 outstanding institutions of higher learning), but they are earning a degree and being productive citizens.

  11. That has been a big topic on my mind lately, thanks.

  12. I just read your us?adopt? entry and it made me cry. That is so so sweet. I want to adopt right now, but my husband wants to wait.

  13. I love it! by the way, i had a great time with your oldest today. You trained her well, btw 🙂 Love ya!

  14. Hi Mary:
    I hear you — my honey went to the army to finance his college (that’s how we met). We were in our early thirties before we had the loans paid back and could think about kids ourselves. So he made the college savings a priority of our kids. …and they don’t need to use them for college: If they want to start a trade, that’s fine with us too!