Friday after we got the great news that our case had passed court, I had about 4 hours of delighted euphoria. Then I started freaking out. Ten kids??, my brain said. TEN? Holy smokes, are we nuts? Can we really do this? And older kids to boot? What if they hate us?

John, bless the man, was calm and reassuring during my freak-out Friday night. Saturday morning I woke up feeling much better. So much better, in fact, that when I read the question in my Opinion Saturday comments asking how we could meet the needs of so many children, it took me at least five minutes before I started freaking out again. And in that time I was able to mentally tally some of our resources:

— I’m home full time
— John only works 3 days a week
— Our big kids are a great support
— We have supportive extended family
— Homeschooling allows us more time with our children

And on and on…I knew we had a lot going for us, and those thoughts did reassure me somewhat.

But the doubt came creeping in again. I wondered again if we really could do this, or if we were crazy and this time really have bitten off more than we can gnaw. (I swear, adoption leaves me just as hormonal as pregnancy– it is nutty.)

To ratchet up my anxiety another notch, I spent an hour paying bills. In tallying the numbers it was disconcerting to see so much more money heading out than is coming in at the moment.

Again, John was steady and encouraging in the face of my anxiety. He reminded me of the raise he just got, and the money his employer gives as an adoption benefit, and the equity we have in our home, and our lack of any debts besides our home. Things will be fine, he said.

But still the little nagging doubt persisted, dragging me down.

Until Sunday.

This morning our pastor told the story of the little boy whose tiny lunch was made sufficient to feed a crowd of thousands. Five rolls and two sardines, through the miracle of God’s power, was made sufficient to feed thousands of people. With baskets left over.

Oh, how I needed that reminder.

THAT is what John and I are counting on as we prepare to leap into this big (fool-hardy?) endeavor. Not on our power. Not on a good work schedule or deep pockets or on grandmas and aunties who babysit. Yes, all those things help. But in the end it is God’s power and God’s grace that will make our efforts enough. God’s grace will multiply our effort as parents. God’s resources will supply the bikes and the Easter dresses and the braces. God’s power will make our meager offering enough.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

That’s enough for me. And it will be enough for our children too.

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  1. I wondered after reading your earlier verse if you might be struggling with this. I’m right there with you: there is only one way to get thru and it is thru HIM. Each time we adopt and know it is the right thing to do, money is just “available”. Only thru HIM. You know it won’t be easy. You know there will be days you are tired and cranky. You know there will be days when one child needs much more than all the others. But you also know you are their parents because HE asked you to be, and it is really all you need!

    Ephesians 3:16-18
    I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ

  2. We had this same story as a topic at church a few weeks ago, and it was asked of us if we could slice our pie into more pieces to share…This was a sweet confirmation for us.
    and YES….you must be crazy! But look what God has done for you already. You have more than enough. You have more love and gutsyness than most people I know. You have very long and reaching arms. AND your family is square behind you! God has blessed you and of course you should be a little scared! LOL…DEB

  3. I have no words of wisdom or advice….because I will probably never been in your fabulous shoes. But there is just something about you and John, Mary. Your house is a happy place, filled with love and encouragement. I have to think that God would not ask this of you if he didn’t intend to carry you through. I think you know that as well. I can understand your overwhelming feeling, however. Your girls are going to have an adjustment period, something you are ready to take on, but after that, they will soon realize that they are in the midst of goodness. A family that will love them forever. They are truly lucky. You are truly blessed.

  4. Mary, how I needed that reminder today too. Thanks so much for sharing the truth. I have been commenting little while still reading lots, so I just wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    The same God who put in your heart the desire and love for your first child will continue to provide for every detail as you welcome your 9th and 10th child, too. He is faithful and His love enables us — especially when we feel too weak to do it on our own.

    Praying for all of you : )

  5. I love the movie with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda _Yours, Mine, and Ours_ about a blended family. There is an updated version, but the original has Lucy’s humor even in the face of pregnancy.

    My paternal grandmother was the 5th of 7 children.
    Her father died when she was 6 years old. Her mother re-married a widower with 8 children.
    Then they had 9 more together by birth.
    When I was a kid, our family reunions were always so much fun, but so many of the oldsters are gone now.

    If they could raise a fine family through Prohibition and the Great Depression and WWII, then I’m sure you and John and your family will be very all right these days.

    Your Bible verse is exactly right for your situation.

  6. thanks you. i so needed to hear that today!

  7. Just do what I do when doubts like that come creeping in. I shake my head and say “Satan get out of my head!”

    I learned that at a church girl’s summer camp.
    Works pretty well, in my experience.

  8. Your husband only has to work 3 days a week? What does he do? Sign us up!!! 😉
    And big BIG congrats on your girls. I’m so excited for them to come home!
    Remember, God is in charge.

  9. Mary, I needed to hear this today! Thank you so much, and you know you are 100% right. If you could be 1000% right, you would be that, too.


    He doesn’t call us to be adequate, just obedient. If we were adequate, He would get no glory.

  10. Thank you. I needed that, too. I’m having plenty of “what are we doing?! Eleven kids?! Ack!” moments these days myself. I appreciate the reminder that we’re not doing this alone. :o)

  11. I like what Beth wrote above.

    I get that sense just from reading your blog.


  12. Mary, I am a lurker – but your posts always give me hope that I can do this Mom thing! We’re adopting from China and considering Ethiopia as well at some point. Your personal story helps me to put things into perspective and gives me hope and joy at the beauty of having a blended family.

    From one sista to another, Phil. 4:13

    “I can do all things who Christ who strengthens me”.

  13. That is a beautiful thing to remember and to keep in mind as you become a family of 12. I’m sure that the love will be enough, and everything else will come as it is needed.

  14. God will provide as He always has for you! Just rest in the fact that you are doing His will and nothing else matters!!

  15. Mary – your family is incredible – God has given you such blessings!

    You are truly an inspiration. Without your open heart and writing, I’m not sure I would’ve been obedient as quickly starting our adoption journey.

    Thank you.

  16. Thanks for the reminder Mary. Works and Faith are inextricably intertwined and it is so easy to focus on the works and forget about the faith. Even when we don’t “forget” it is easy to get sidetracked by the works and place less value on the faith, which is why I guess faith is harder than it appears on the surface.

    Congratulations! May your family find peace and happiness in all things.

  17. AMEN!!!! Thanks so much for sharing this, Mary!!! I think b/c you are so well known (in the blogging world) and write so well, people can easily believe the lie that you are sufficient in and of yourself (and that they need to be that way too)!!! And though, as believers, we know that isn’t true….lies creep in, and we tend to believe them (and compare ourselves)!!! It’s good for you to share with us readers the realities of your fears and your need to lean on Christ!!!! AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!!!! Thanks again for sharing!!!

    So, what does your hubby do that he only works 3 days a wk?? That’s SO FUN!!!! And what a HUGE help!!!!
    And what company does he work for that has an adoption benefit??!!! That’s GREAT!!!!!!!!! You don’t have to answer either of those if they are too personal! : )

    We are SOOOOOOOOOO excited for ya’ll and the girls! I can’t wait to learn from you as you “risk” all the comforts of this life and give of yourself even more!!!! And these girls!!! WOW!!! I know you are going to learn tons from them! And I hope we get to as well!! : )

  18. Those loaves and fishes cover me in my High PRA sitch now too. God can provide. In whatever way needed. Even a transplant.

    Mary- thank you. I needed to be reminded of that.

  19. You are remarkable in your insight, strength of faith and willingness to go where God leads you (and only feaking out a little). I grew up in a Catholic neighborhood and a number of families had 9 or 10 kids – in these teeny tiny post WWII houses. They got by. Everyone pitched in. God bless you and your marvelous big family.

  20. Shawnda,

    My husband is a respiratory therapist and works 12 hour shifts 3 days a week. He’s GONE on those three days, but it is great to have him home the other four. And yeah, the hospital has an adoption benefit of $2000 per CHILD, we just found out. So that alone will pay for around 15% of the adoption.


  21. I have wondered about individual time with my kids before too (my husband and I have adopted five, and I would like more). A lot of people ask that question. I totally agree that homeschool is a huge part of the “Mommy time” I give to each of my children.
    I’m a “newcomer” to your blog and have really enjoyed reading what you have to say. Thanks for sharing your life for others to see!

  22. Just preachin’ to the choir, I know, But…. “And MY God will meet ALL your needs according to HIS glorious riches in Christ Jesus” 🙂 A few thousand dollars are not at all a big deal to Him. The cattle on a thousand hills are His….He made it all! Another very favorite verse of mine is the one I shared at camp:
    Phil 1:6–Being confident of this very thing: that He who began a good work in you will be FAITHFUL to carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
    Without Him you never would have wanted to adopt, started the adoption process, or gotten these beautiful little girls in your family. He has brought you safe thus far, and He will bring you all the way 🙂

  23. Thanks for this post. We are foster parents, and our two foster girls are part of a sibling group of 5, and there is a young aunt their age as well. We keep going back and forth on taking in the aunt or the oldest of the sibling group, both of whom were placed alone. We’ll keep praying!

  24. LOL on this post, as I’ve had these same thoughts as we’re still settling in with four and already discussing children numbered 5, 6, (7? and 8?) depending on how large the next sibbling set is?! Crazy?!?!?! I’m amazed at how many people already think we’re crazy at just four! 🙂 Ahhh… God’s grace!