What I Want You to Know is a series of
reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their
personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the
unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to
this series,
click here. Today’s guest posts is by Becky Ketarkus.

Large families aren’t freaks, and I’m no saint.

When people ask
me how many children I have, and I answer, the reaction is always the
same…open mouthed shock. I’m 34, and I have seven children, with an
eighth on the way. They all came to our family through adoption. When I
add that caveat, I see the light bulb of understanding go on, and then
the inevitable ‘you really are amazing for doing that’ comes next.


I’m
not amazing, but I’m not a freak either. While people say they think
we’re amazing, they distance themselves quickly, because in a world of
families made up of 2, 3 or maybe 4 children, there is no way that my
husband and I can be doing this well with SEVEN, can we?

I want the world to know…. We do fine.

I’m
not perfect, but you won’t find me with uncombed hair, in my bathrobe,
with a lollipop stuck to the side of my face at school pick-up either.
Well, not usually. I have my days, just like the families with 2, 3 or
maybe 4 do, but overall, I get dressed, comb my hair and even *gasp* go
to work. Our lives are complex, just like everyone else, but mostly,
we’re regular people. Please treat us like it. In return, I promise
never to judge you for not adopting, or for not having a large family,
because frankly, I don’t have time to care what anyone else does. Your
choices are your choices. I’m happy for you. Please return the favor.

The truth is, my husband and I didn’t set out to adopt all
these children. We didn’t look at each other before we were married and
say ‘I know, let’s go out there and save eight orphans!’ We don’t
think of our children that way. They were kids who needed us at a time
when we desperately needed them. We didn’t delve into the dark depths
of Africa and save anyone, and our children weren’t rescued from foster
care. They’re not dogs from the pound, and I’m not a saint. It makes
life harder for them when you act like I am. I’m just their mom.
Please treat me like that.

We wanted to be parents, this was
how our family formed. Yes, a lot of days it’s more complex than if we
had children who looked like us, who had a past that we knew and
understood. Adoption isn’t always easy. We deal with complex issues,
but most days, our family is just our family. I don’t know any
different. My kids don’t know any different. They also don’t know what
it means to be an only child. Most of them don’t even know what it
means to be one of three, or even four. They don’t remember, because
our large family formed quickly. I don’t know how they’ll feel about
their siblings in adulthood. All I can do is hope that they love
growing up in our loud, noisy household as much as I love raising it.

When
you question how I give each child enough individual attention or how I
plan to pay for all their college educations, I’ll answer you honestly.
Some days I don’t, and I have no freakin’ clue. We do the best we
can, just like every other family out there. Our kids are loved,
they’re happy, and we have everything we need.

And, before you ask…no, we don’t know if we’re done yet.