Thursday, August 20, 2009


This post has been swirling around in my mind for a few weeks after a frustrating exchange with my Christian social worker. She had come to do our 6 month post-placement report for Kate and Zoey and admitted that she thought twice about approving us for the girls. She had eventually decided that we did in fact, have 'enough space' for them.

Enough space?

So the size of our house is the most compelling reason to approve or deny a child a home?

She said, "I have other clients who ask me to approve them for 12 kids and I tell them no. At what point does it just become a group home?"

I understand her desire to make sure that parents can handle that many children. However, it wasn't so long ago that it was fairly normal for people to have very large families. Birth control didn't exist. Large homes were far from the norm. This country was built on the backs of pioneers who had large families and lived and traveled in (gasp) a 4 x 9 covered wagon. Once in their homes, those homes were quite small.

I responded that there is a very big difference between a group home and an adoptive family. Group homes are a stopping point where children can get a roof over their heads and three meals a day. Families are where you B.E.L.O.N.G. Someone gives you their N.A.M.E. Someone says that no matter where life takes you, you can always come H.O.M.E. "

She responded that yes, kids need to belong, but they need to have enough space.

I slowly responded that Americans have much larger homes than any other country in the world. She didn't respond and not wanting to offend, I left it at that.

But I was ticked.

When did space become more important than this?

When did having enough room to put our overflowing closet and dressers, become more important than this?

Has our perspective in America become so skewed that we think piano lessons, soccer games, and college funds are more important than saving a life? I know that some people think our kids are 'missing out' on some of the things that 'normal' families do. It's true that our kids are not involved in three sports or music lessons and that we stay home a lot. But they have a FAMILY who loves them. If they didn't live here with us, they would be in an orphanage. They would belong to NO ONE. Even if they had some opportunities in their home countries for education, who would they come home to at holidays?

I signed the girls up for school yesterday (sob), and the staff was shaking their heads in disbelief at our '10 kids!' There was a hint of disapproval in their eyes as they seemed to be wondering how I could care for so many children. If not for God's help, I'm sure I wouldn't be able to. But
"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Phil. 4:13

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Melissa B. said...

Wonderful post, Karin! I'm passing it along!

Kim K. said...

Amen, girlfriend!

Cindy said...

I agree!
Glad you stood your ground with your SW, and without realizing it you are an inspiration to many! Your children are blessed by their mommy and her love.

Holly said...

Yeah. We live in a world where even many Christians embrace the world's view instead of God's view.
It makes me so so sad.
I wish your social worker could interview the kids...ask them if having a big huge house with their own rooms is really what's most important.
How about asking Christine who just brought home her 12th child what's most important.
I'm not saying everyone can or even SHOULD try to parent 10 or 12 children. But the Bible is clear. It says that children are a BLESSING. They are an INHERITANCE from the Lord.
How about asking Carolyn who has 11 children and is in the process of adopting 2 more older children from Ethiopia...when is it just a group home? When? When the parents stop being parents, when they don't LOVE their children and pour into them, when the children have no inheritance or acceptance because they aren't really FAMILY....I don't know ANY large, adoptive families that fit that bill.
The world cannot understand without Christ. They just can't get it.
I'm so thankful that God moved the mountains to bring every one of your children into your family.
Barely enough space....pish posh!

Lori said...

Wow, wow, wow. You nailed it, friend. What an important and TRUE post. THANK YOU for writing that. I was just laying in bed this morning wondering how we could expand our house to accommodate more children...perhaps I'm thinking too much like a modern American. :) Our house isn't too's family-friendly and COZY!

Angie said...


Chris said...

Hmm would that social worker have a problem with 4 boys in one bedroom?

Hope we don't get that one (SW).

In other countries they sleep in the kitchen and roll up their mats before breakfast....

Group home Hmmmph!

Jackie said...

I have always thought it quite sickening and a major work of Satan that he has convinced folks not to adopt because they think they cannot give them these unimportant, frivolous, stupid "things" and forget that they can give them the priceless and amazing gifts of love, peace, knowledge of Our Savior, each other, a home, family, a safe haven, the list goes on and on. Thank you so much for this post, Karin.

BTW, in PA the law requires (only when adopting of course) that boys and girls HAVE to be in separate rooms no matter their age.

Kimberlie said...

I hope you don't mind, but I am going to link to your post. Well said. I bet up in the NE area people will ask you if you are Catholic. Although large Catholic families are becoming rare. Someone at my parish told me one time, "good for you for having a large family." We have only 3 children and that's large?!?

Your post has confirmed in my heart that it's not about the stuff. It's not about college money saved, or huge homes, or private school education. All reason that many Christian families give for not having a large family.

As for your SW, if China says yes when you send in your LOI and the adoption agency has said "Yes", who is that SW to say "No"? Sometimes the arrogance of those in the social services field makes my blood boil.

Shonni said...

It's so sad, and it really makes me made!
Thank you for posting this...we all come up against prejudice ideas when we step out of peoples "ideas" of how things should be!

Elaine said...

Ditto, Amen and you go girl! This attitude of bigger and better is one of Americas biggest problems. All a child desires is to know they are loved and that they belong.

sierrasmom said...

I am often amazed at the sizes of the homes people build. And then both parents have to work very long hours to pay for them. And kids should be outside most of the day anyway!!!! I will take my small simple house any day!!! Thanks for writing this post!!!!!!!

Amy said...

AWESOME POST and SO TRUE. I love how you pointed out that not long ago most people did have large families and now all of a sudden we are crazy- WHY? Because of space? Because we can't BUY them EVERYTHING they WANT. Ugh. Love your post, love your thoughts and love your heart. Amy

KCCCKQCK's DAD said...

Karin, you have touched on something that has been brewing in me awhile...the Lord is really causing me to step back and examine our activities and the motivations behind's very convicting and pruning.
We have 4 girls in one room (double bunks) and when Kevin gets home and a little older we'll have 4 boys in one room! My kiddos LOVE sharing rooms...I even gave the oldest (13 yr. old) the option of having her own room and she refused! We really only need one bathroom because they ALL use MINE! ;)
Thank you for sharing your heart...I am on your page, honey!

KCCCKQCK's DAD said...

Oh's me, Laine. Sorry...I'm on hubby's computer!

Adeye said...

Go friend. What a stunning post. I have chills all over.
Amen and Amen!

Marmee said...

Love this post! Thank you!! Our social worker (and state) wanted us to have a 10x12 room for every two kids. So, we rented a house that size during our homestudy and then moved into a smaller place when we were done! ;o) Right now four girls share a 10x12 room, two bunk beds and lots of love! They can't sleep if one is gone! I believe that this is part of Satan's plan, so that fewer of Heavenly Father's children have families!

Janet said...

Great post, our kids don't do extra activities, unless the WANT to. So many parents sign the kids up for everything, and the kids could care less. I had a dear friend, for many years, that only wanted one child, so she could give the child "everything" that she had missed out on---?!?! She grew up in an average family with a nice brick home--crazy! That friend did not last long, once we started having children.
I don't want to sound like I have a "get even" mentality---but I would have to report this SW. Unless your state requires a certain amount of square footage, she has no right to make such comments. And to think that she has turned people down?? She obviously does not understand her job! I'd love to put a link to this on my blog if you don't mind.

Karin said...

Janet...that is totally fine if you link from your blog. :) I am honored that you want to.