When we go out as a family of 15 we get stares, glares, and many questions. Are you a daycare? A youth group? Mormon? Catholic? Don’t you know what causes this? We answer with a simple “No” and carry on. “Well then what are you?”, some will ask. I want to shout out that we are a family built from love. We are parents who are raising children who come from trauma. We are healing their wounded hearts, souls, and minds. We spend almost every waking moment parenting, advocating, and helping our kids heal and thrive. I want to tell them about the meltdown one just had in the van over nothing obvious. I then want to tell them about the endless supply of hugs I get. The friendships my children have in each other. The tears that well up when a child does something that we were told they would never achieve. Before I can speak I may hear “We are just humans!” one of my children shouts as they have quickly learned to use mommy and daddy’s sarcasm. Oops! Who are we really? We are simply the Light family.
We are blessed with people in our lives who are supportive of our family size. In November of 2016 we got a call that would change our lives once again. Three of our girls’ bio mom was in labor with her 8th baby. She had asked us if we would take the baby because she knew DCS would be involved. Unfortunately she has not been able to change her lifestyle and this baby would become a ward of the state. I was blessed to be present when a beautiful baby boy came into this world. We had been asked a week before to take him, by his mom. We only told a couple of people as we didn’t know if his mom would really want to place him with us when the time came. Once we had placement we spilled the news on my Facebook page. Our friends were accepting, supportive, and excited that a baby boy was joining the Light clan! Within days our church family had started a meal train for us. We were provided dinners for an entire two weeks while we adjusted to our new life with a drug exposed infant. Shortly after, our church home group hosted a baby shower for us. We were blessed with many necessities for our new addition. This was our 13th foster to adopt child and we had never had a baby shower before! To think of the way our friends and family came together to help us during a huge adjustment is overwhelming.
Things aren’t always as heartfelt for us. We have also heard negative things from strangers, family, and friends. We have been called selfish, child hoarders, crazy, and unable to know my own limits. I’m glad other people know me better than I do! When we had our first two kiddos they were often very sick. They had multiple cases of pneumonia and hospital stays for the first six months. A couple of months into the placement a colleague said, “Call CPS and tell them to take them back. You need ones that aren’t so sick”. These children aren’t clothes that you return because they don’t fit right. They aren’t puppies you take back to the pound because it turns out they have a leather shoe obsession. They’re children who have been through awful things. They need love, stability and to feel safe. No, I can not and will not exchange them for another model!
We are the Light family. We are unique. We are blessed. Sometimes we shake our heads in disbelief at some things other people say to us. At the end of the day the looks and questions from strangers don’t bother us much anymore. The love and support that surrounds us is wonderfully overwhelming.