Tuesday, September 02, 2008

FAQ's and My Occasionally Snarky Answers

I decided it's time for a Frequently Asked Questions segment to be permanently posted on the side bar. This will be a work in progress as I think of more questions and more snarky answers so check back frequently. In Real Life people ask us a lot of questions and I'm sure my other 2 or 3 internet readers occasionally entertain the same questions in their own minds so here goes in no particular order....

Are they all yours?! or the alternative They aren't all yours, are they?!

And, yes, this is always asked with both a question mark and an exclamation point at the end. I don't know why, I have internet friends with 20 + children, my 13 are a drop in that bucket. The simple answer to this question is...yes, they are all mine - gloriously mine (although my husband does take some credit for them as well).

Don't you know how that happens?

Yes, we like it very much and apparently we are quite good at it. We'd be happy to enlighten you on the methods involved in either way of acquiring children.

Have you ever seen that family on tv...what is their name?

The Duggars, and yes we have seen the programs produced about their family. I find them to be uncomfortably perfect.  Please don't expect anything resembling that from us.  No, we don't know them personally but we do know lots of other large families.

Are you Catholic? which is only slightly more popular than Are you Mormon?

We are neither - we are Eastern Orthodox Christians.

Which ones are yours?
This is a really stupid question, especially when it follows on the heels of the previous question. I'm well aware of the fact that people really want to know to which children did I give birth but I like to play it stupid so that the asker can see just how offensive that question can be. Why, they are all mine. If the adopted ones are not mine then whose are they? Please don't ask me this question with my children present - they may begin to feel like they don't belong.  And, by the way, have you *seen* me and my husband?!  It's not rocket science.

Which ones are your real children?Well, they are all real. I don't believe God makes artificial children. And they certainly all sound real at about 7:30 every morning.

Which ones are your biological children?

As opposed to...synthetic? Aren't we all biological?

Are they all adopted?

This is a variation on the last question worded slightly more politely. If you really must know, we're proud to say we made the white ones all by ourselves and picked the beautifully colored ones out of a catalogue (and, yes, three of them really were picked out of a catalogue).

Are they brother and sister?
Another stupid question to which I just smile and nod and say "yes, they are all brothers and sisters." Some more persistent people will continue with "I mean are the adopted ones brothers and sisters?" To which I smile and nod and say "yes, they are all brothers and sisters." When I'm done being snarky I will point out that our five adopted children are from five different countries - Hong Kong, Korea, Cameroon, India and the US. It would have been only by some quirky miracle that they would have been related before they were adopted into our family.

Do you do daycare?Yep, day care, night care, weekend care. We care for 'em 24/7.

Do you foster?
Nope, can't give them back. Fostering truly takes a different sort of person than we are capable of being.

You must have a big house.

Yes, by the grace of God, we do. We live in the house in which Tad grew up. It started out as a 3 bedroom rancher and when his family expanded to 5 children in the household his dad added on a second story with 4 more bedrooms and 2 more full baths. The bedrooms have been reconfigured somewhat after the fire and two more added in the basement. We also added ten feet of space to our kitchen and dining room to accommodate the two five foot tables upon which we eat our meals and do our school work.

What kind of car do you drive?

Tad drives a Scion to work. I drive a red 15 passenger Ford E350 van named Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Do you homeschool?

For some reason, people always just guess that we are homeschoolers. I am pleased to say here that they are right. We do homeschool. We also public school - which we do like homeschoolers. This school year we have 6 officially registered "students" from kindergarten to 11th grade.  We have 4 in the local public high school and one in the middle school.

You must have a lot of patience.

While this is not a question, it is a comment I get frequently, the implication being that the author of said comment is pretty durn lacking in patience him or herself and feels incapable of handling a large family, let alone schooling their own children and cleaning an 8 bedroom home. My response to this is usually that patience is on-the-job training.

Which agency do you use?

Bethany Christian Services.  The last adoption was a private domestic adoption.

Did you have to travel?

Nope, both Philip and Miriam were escorted from Korea and Hong Kong respectively. We may go there some day with them but that is doubtful. Neither of them are able to really understand the idea of having an identity in a different culture. While Ruth's family is from Cameroon, Ruth was born here and was a domestic adoption.

How much laundry do you do?

I have to do at least 3-5 loads a day to keep up with the laundry. I actually enjoy doing laundry so I do the bulk of the work but the children do help. We have an extra capacity front loading washer and a super size gas dryer. Each of them are responsible for getting their own laundry baskets to the basement. I run the washer and the dryer with some occasional help from the 2 year olds in the transference process.  Each of the older children is then responsible for putting away their own laundry. I put away the small boys and baby laundry. Well, that was probably way TMI on the laundry thing...sorry...like I said, I enjoy doing laundry.

Why do you carry your babies like that?

It occurred to me the other day that I actually get asked this question almost as much as any other question listed here. For those who have never seen me tote around a baby, I often will put their belly in my palm (for newborns) or around the waist (for older babies) and then fling them under my arm with the head facing front and the feet dangling behind. I do this from the time they are quite young and the short answer to the question is that it's just plain easier to multi-task and carry a baby this way. I learned this method of carrying a baby, however, from my Uncle Ray. My Aunt Nancy and Uncle Ray are both retired nurses - Uncle Ray worked as a nurse anesthetist. For as long as I can remember, they were always foster parents and, because of their medical background, usually took in the medically fragile children. Eventually they even remodeled their home to have a plexiglass wall in the living room for a particular brain-damaged child with out of control behaviors and dedicated one large bedroom to a hospital-type setting. Uncle Ray was born with a degenerative hip condition. As the years went on he went from walking with a limp, to using a cane, to motoring around in a scooter. They lived not far from where I went to college and so I was a frequent visitor to their house during my college years. It was a common sight to walk into the house and see Uncle Ray shuffle past with his cane in one hand and a baby slung under the other arm - oftentimes with tubes or wires hanging out of some part of the baby's body. Of course my stays at their home always taught me something new as any visitors were quickly put to work feeding babies, sucking out breathing tubes or holding court with the night nurse. Slinging babies under my arm a la Uncle Ray became a natural part of childcare for me and thus the practice continued as I grew older and carried about my own children.

This is a work in progress. If you have a question you'd like answered here, I'd be happy to add it, granted that you are willing to accept a certain level of snarkiness embedded within said answer.


Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me how rude people can be with the questions they ask. I can't tell you how many times people have asked me if my children all have the same father or if we are going to get one of us fixed...I always look puzzled & ask " do we look broken?"


ps: I am a Grandma! Elias john Thomas was born Sept 4th. Katie had a nightmare experience but Eli is a gift!

s-p said...

Great stuff! (2 adopted, 3 step, and dozens of fosters over the years).

mamatee said...

as always i am in complete awe of you my dear friend.....you keep making buying swappin findin whatever it takes to get that house full of babies that will someday grow up and change the world...because they had a mama who taught them how.....oh daddy too

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