That's the question asked me a few months ago by one of my friends from college days (some twenty years ago now).
And it's a good and important question, because the truth of the matter is that Claudia and I have twelve children, most of whom are doing remarkably well. One of the deficits of the blogosphere is that postings only allow the reader to catch snippets here and there of a person's or family's life. If I were to read only what I have blogged and make a judgment about my own family or my own self, I would have to conclude that there is an unhealthy preoccupation with dysfunction. Knowing enough about family systems theory to make me aware, there would probably be "experts" out there who would say that such a preoccupation is the reason such dysfunction continues to rear its ugly head.
The truth of the matter is that I don't blog nearly as much about our healthy children as those who are challenging. Part of it is because the intent of my blog is to help parents who are caring for similarly disabled children, and while there are multiple resources for those working with "ordinary" kids, there is little out there for those encountering really, really troubled kids. I guess that's the kind of "niche" I hope my blog serves.
But it certainly doesn't give a sense of balance to the reality of my life as a person or our lives as a family. So, for the sake of balance, let me just highlight a few reasons why I do not regret being the father of twelve children, all of whom joined our hearts through adoption:
• I am almost always able to have a travel companion, whether it's to the local gas station, the Cities for a meeting or an extended trip across the country;
• I witness daily the ways that God draws together a group of people unrelated by genes, early life experience or geographical origins;
• I always have someone in the kitchen to help me cook, someone to accompany me to the grocery store (and help to carry in the groceries), and at least one person each night who is happy with the particular item I have chosen to prepare;
• I do no have to feel guilty when I turn on the television and hear the plights of the world's children because we are doing something about it;
• I will have many, many people at my funeral one day (even if half of my children and their children show up there will be a crowd);
• I don't have to feel guilty about contributing to the world population crisis. Claudia and I have produced no offspring, but we have the privilege of helping twelve already here;
• I am living so close to my life's twin missions (to make disciples of Jesus Christ and to care for the children of the world) that I have little reason to be discouraged or depressed;
• I am able to see everyday the diversity of God's creation if I do something as simple as look into my children's eyes: the round, deep brown recesses of Hispanic heritage, the crescent-shaped brightness of Asian origins, the sparkling blue of Nordic beginnings, the elusive, verdant green pools of Irish ancestry.
• My joys are multiplied by twelve, and my pain is divided by twelve.
What about the other kids? They are doing well, thank you. All of them woke up this morning in a warm, safe home. They dressed their freshly-showered bodies into clean clothes. They were transported to schools where they will learn from teachers who care about them. They will return home today to a snack of some sort, and they will join others to eat food prepared by hands who love them. At moments they will argue, they will scowl, they will act oppositional, but they have a place to belong, a mom and dad who love them, and the best chance they have to reach the full potential with which they were born.
And that, in my book, means we're doing pretty well together.