Sunday, November 4, 2012

The "Perfect" Number of Children to Have

Kal, riding solo as the only child... for now

I cannot settle on a perfect number when it comes to how many children I want to add to my family. It's a good thing most kids come into your family one at a time, so you can usually make that decision one kid at a time. And stop when it feels right. If I had to decide from the get-go, I'd be in trouble, because I fluctuate like crazy when I try to pinpoint a specific number of kids.

I've heard that most people end up having the same amount of children that were in their own family growing up... or pretty close to it... or an average of the number of kids in your family and the number of kids in your spouse's family. That's a comfortable number of kids for most people. There were 4 kids in my family and 4 kids in my husband's family. And when I really think about it, 4 seems like a pretty good number. Four feels pretty comfortable. Maybe there's something to that theory.

But I also look at large families and think that would be so fun! It was kind of lonely in my family sometimes. There was a rather large age gap between my two older brothers and then me and my younger brother, so most of my childhood felt like it was just the two of us younger kids. And I didn't have a sister, so I wonder sometimes if I missed out because of that? Lots of kids would mean more work for us, but it would be so fun for the kids to have lots of siblings (built-in best friends). So 4 kids then turns into 8 or 9 kids. Maybe 10. Why not? The more family the better, right? It would be crazy and chaotic and just the way I like my life! Never a dull moment. The more the merrier. Holidays would be a blast.

But the more I think about this huge household of kids, I start to think... more kids means more responsibility, stress, financial burden, and time constraints. How do people manage having so many kids and still make sure they're all taken care of properly? Not just financially with food, clothing, and shelter, but how do you make sure each kid gets enough of your love and attention? How do you manage to teach them all? And discipline effectively? How do you keep them from running the house? Ha ha. Sounds like a circus to me. The number of kids outnumbering the adults in the house is scary.

Plus, I don't necessarily want to raise kids for the next 50 years of my life. Would that take a negative toll on my marriage? Eventually I'd want my house back and my husband back, so limiting the number of kids I have starts to look appealing again. Maybe we should only have 2, maybe 3 at the most. Then we'll have the kids out of the house by the time I'm 45 or so. And then we can paaaarrrty! Yeah, 2 or 3 kids. That's do-able.

Right now I'm thinking... Kal needs a sibling. Definitely. At least one. Maybe just one. Or maybe two... or three. Hmmm.... yeah, 4 kids sounds about right. Ha ha. That's a good number!

Kal with his cousin Kash, having a blast!
I'm glad it's something we can change our minds about over and over again. And take it one at a time. Right now, we are 100% sure that we want to adopt again to get Kal a little brother or sister. I wasn't sure if now was the time to do it. I don't feel a rush to add another child to our family - not like I did when I knew Kal was out there. But I don't want huge age gaps between my kids (that's a whole 'nother issue! what's the perfect age gap? ha ha), so we're jumping right into the adoption process again and just going with it.

We've been considering Foster Care too. Not now, but in a few years. And that would add another dimension to it all - there would be lots of kids in our house, some permanent and some not. We may not want too many children of our own while we need to focus on the special needs of foster children. You know?

I guess having a "perfect" ultimate number doesn't really matter, just enjoying each step and realizing each day is perfect, each child is perfect, each a gift from God. Being grateful, being excited about life, living in the moment rather than trying to plan every little thing. :)

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