Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What is a Quiverfull Family?

Sons are a heritage from the Lord; children are a reward from him
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.
Psalm 127:3-5

My husband and I did not start out our married life being a ‘quiverfull’ family. We had grown up during an era that taught the zero population group theory at school. Having more than the two children it took to replace you was selfish, our teachers said, and was taking the resources that belonged to someone else in our overpopulated world.
So as we prepared to be married, we agreed that we would have two children.

Those two children, both girls, were born by the time we were 24 and 28 years old. Although we thought we had completed our family, I never wanted to do anything permanent. I loved children, and knew if I did that, I would regret it. The birth control pill was cheap and easy to get, so that’s what we did. Life went on, and since I did wish I had a houseful of children, we became foster parents for the state of Oklahoma, and filled our home that way.
It backfired though, when a newborn boy came to live with us. I feel in love with this child, and longed to adopt him, even though the state had made it clear that foster homes were not allowed to adopt. (This has since changed) My heart broke as I gave back this little boy when the time came. I begged my husband for one more baby to fill my empty feeling arms, and soon our son Gage was on the way.
Two years later, we were blessed with a surprise, and son Max was born. Two boys and two girls seemed perfect.

We moved from Oklahoma back to our home town in Texas, giving up our foster license in the process. In going back to the church we had attended before, I met a new group of ladies. They were homeschooling mothers of many children. They intrigued me, and one of them gave me a book to read: “The Way Home” by Mary Pride.
This book was amazing to me. It said what my heart had also always said, that children are a blessing. Not only that, but God actually wants us to desire children, and have many of them. In fact, Malachi 2:15 says “Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring.”

We were convinced, and decided to let the Lord plan our family from then on. At this time, we were around 34 and 38 years old, so it seemed we didn’t have a lot of child bearing years left. I was soon pregnant again, but my first quiverfull pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. This was devastating to me. I didn’t understand why God had let this happen. Wasn’t I trying to please and obey him? A miscarriage is a sad and lonely grief, as usually only the expectant mother is bonded with the child. My conviction wavered somewhat, but I still stood on what I had learned, and seven months later, I was pregnant again. Another son was born, followed by another miscarriage, and then another birth, giving me my fourth son in a row. Then in my forties, I had a baby girl. We now had seven children, and this little girl ended my childbearing years. I entered the next phase of life happy and fulfilled, knowing I had used my body the way God intended for it to be used.

Even still, God was not finished with our quiver yet.

My oldest daughter and her husband became foster parents. I really enjoyed her foster children, but soon, there were two that I grew especially fond of. When the courts ruled the mothers rights to these children would be terminated, my husband and I decided to get a licensed again as a foster/adopt, especially now that the country had decided that foster parents could adopt their foster children. We had begun the process when it was discovered the mother of these children was pregnant again. She soon had a premature baby boy and the state granted her an extra six months to try and get her children back. We offered to adopt the whole sibling group if she didn’t make it, and sat back to see what would happen. In the end, she got her older two children back, and relinquished her baby. We received our foster/adopt license and when this child was a year old, we were finally able to make him our adoption placement, and finalized that when he was eighteen months old.
Since we had our license again, we began to foster. Two little girls came to live with us within a week of each other, not related, but they certainly looked alike with their blond hair and blue eyes. We became very attached to them both. For a while, it looked like they would both be freed for adoption, but after twenty months, the end came: we adopted the older girl, and the younger one was sent to live with relatives in another state.
Although I have fostered more than fifty children in my adult life, I was devastated by the leaving of the younger girl. I knew it was good her family was able to have her back, but that did not dispel my grief. And in the midst of it, six days after she left, Child Protective Services called and asked me if I would take the five month old brother of my four year old adopted daughter.
Although I was physically exhausted with grief, I was still a quiverfull mother. I knew that God was placing this child with us. I knew he would give me the strength to take care of him. So I said yes. Three weeks later, he moved in with us, and one year later, we finalized his adoption.

My husband and I are now 55 and 59 years old. Our foster home was closed with our last adoption because we were maxed out with the number of children they would allow us to foster. They did ask us however, if we would like to keep our adoption license, just in case the mothers of one of our adopted children had another baby. Since we are close to the family that is most likely to happen too, and could work something out privately, we declined, and let them close our home.

Does that mean we are finished and will not have any more children? No. We are still a quiverfull family. If God should happen to send another child, I know we wouldn’t turn it down. While we are not actively seeking more children, our hearts and home is still open. And that’s what being a quiverfull family really is. It’s not a contest to see just how many children you can have. It’s just being open to what the Lord sends.

And I can testify it’s a blessed life!

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