Some questions are hard to answer.
For our family, we’ve come to realize there are a host of family-related questions that have no simple answers.
After our biological son was born (Big Brother A), we took a leap of faith and started our foster care journey. We’ve had four children in our home over the last 3 years. One of those children stayed in our home for a significant amount of time. Baby S came to our home at six weeks old and stayed with us until a few months shy of his second birthday.
That’s a year and a half in our home. We were mom and dad. We celebrated a birthday. We took family vacations. Then over a painful few months he transitioned back to live with his biological mom. Now we have an empty crib (when we moved to our new home Big Brother A asked to have the crib in his room because he missed Baby S). And we have family pictures on our walls that include a boy that people don’t see when they visit.
Then came Baby Gigi. Now about 2 weeks old, she is our second biological child.
And when you have a new baby, anyone and everyone wants to catch a glimpse and they have lots of questions. They inevitably ask about the labor. They always ask if you are getting enough sleep. And then they turn to Big Brother A and say some variant of:
How do you like being a big brother?
Everyone means well. We are not out to catch people with a “gotcha” whenever they ask this. But my wife and I often get a little chuckle and cast knowing glances to each other.
They tell him that they think he will be a good big brother. Yes. He will be a good big brother. He’s already got four other younger siblings and almost two total years of experience in this department.
This next question comes from people who don’t know us well. They know we have a new baby, but they aren’t sure what the rest of our family looks like. It’s a harmless question, but we are never sure how to answer...
What number child is this for you?
I feel like saying “two” doesn’t accurately describe our family and it definitely short-changes the impact those babies had on our family. But saying “six, but three were only here for a short time and one was for a year and a half but he’s back with his biological mom” is way more than they were asking for (like when someone asks how you are doing and all they are really looking for is “fine”).
I guess what they ultimately mean if pressed is “How many kids are in your home right now?” That’s a fair question. After I answer politely, the inevitable follow-up is…
How is the transition to two?
It’s about the same as the last four times we transitioned to two.
I absolutely love that this is a messy question for us. Our family’s unofficial motto is “Walk towards the mess.” Time and time again God did that for us. When humans were at their worst and running hard away from their creator, God decided to wade into the mess of humanity to bring a solution. He did it by choosing one man, Abraham, to build a unique relationship. He did it by choosing an unlikely king, David, to forge a unique nation. He did it by becoming a man Himself, Jesus, to bring us back to Him. Time and time again God has rolled up his sleeves and moved deep into the mess to make things right.
We want to do just that. When things are hard, we want to turn towards the mess and not run from it.
There are easier ways for us to grow our family. There are safer ways for our kids to engage with ministry. There are simpler ways for us to help those in need.
But God didn’t choose a simple solution. He chose to die for us.
The least I can do is try to figure out how to answer the messy question “What’s it like with two kids?”