April 26, 2001
volume 12, no. 116

Is Eight Enough?

    Recently Joseph and I were thrilled to discover that our Almighty Father has blessed us with another glorious gift! He or she will arrive around October 5. We are now the parents of eight children! Praise be to God!

    Having a large family, by today's standards, in today's society is challenging to say the least. The challenge is not having enough resources, enough time or enough energy - like most people imagine it would be. The challenge is facing and answering the constant ridicule. I wish I could tell you that Joseph and I are only ridiculed by non-believers. Unfortunately, we are forced to defend our family size to our fellow Catholics, our Protestant brothers and sisters and non-believers equally.

    With our first pregnancy, we received countless, joyous congratulations from those who knew about our blessing. Our second pregnancy brought similar, but a little less heart-felt congratulations. Our third pregnancy received a raised eyebrow from most. Those who were aware that our first two children were boys, were quick to explain that they understood that we would like to have a girl . . . even though we had made no mention of such a desire. We were shocked with the responses we received during our fourth pregnancy. Everyone seemed to tell us that it was ridiculous to continue to "try for a girl." Of course, this was never our intentions!

    By our fifth and sixth pregnancy, I began to dread the question, "How many children will this make?" My answer was inevitably followed by a big gasp as if I had hit my questioner in the stomach. During our seventh pregnancy I came to fully understand that these people did not comprehend the true nature and power of our Almighty Father. That they either lost the knowledge, or perhaps never really knew that God is the one and only Creator.

    Now each time an individual, often a complete stranger, finds it necessary to question us about the number of children in our family, we utilize the opportunity to explain that seemingly forgotten "truth" - that God is the Author of life. Joseph and I are merely the publishers of His Word. He speaks each soul into existence. He knits together the inmost being of each human in the secret place and He ordains each and every day of life for that soul. Each soul is created to exist for all eternity. We understand that we are privileged and honored that He entrusts us with many of these precious souls, even if it is just for our short time here on earth.

    It is a common belief that couples have control over the size of their families. In fact, the question married couples hear repeated throughout their early years of marriage is, "How many children are you going to have?" This question is asked innocently with the expectation of a numeric answer not to exceed two. It is usually followed by, "When will you start your family?" Think about the implications of those questions for a moment.

    Those questions imply that we somehow have the power and authority to choose how many children we will have in our families. Or for that matter, whether or not we will have any children. They imply that we also have the power and authority to choose when we will have those children we have chosen.

    Jacob was the father of twelve sons (cf. Genesis 42:13). Can you imagine anyone questioning Jacob about the size of his family? Can you conceive of how he would respond to such questioning? "Do all of those children belong to you?" This is the question I hear the most. I respond without hesitation, "No. Every one of them belong to God. I am only borrowing them - for a lifetime."

    "Don't you know what causes that?" I shake my head and say, "Yes. Thank you so very much for reminding me that each of my children are a precious gift from God."

    "Just how many children are you going to have anyway?" I confidently answer, "Certainly not one more, or one less than God has planned for us."

    "Were all eight of your children planned or were some a surprise?" Now this question is one of my most favorites. I respond, "I am confident that God was not surprised by the conception of any one of our eight children. In fact, I believe that God carefully plans the life of every child."

    "When are you going to stop?" I quickly respond, "Never! I will never stop trusting God to give me the exact number of children at the exact time to fulfil His perfect plan for my family."

    What happened to the understanding and belief that God is all-powerful and all-knowing? Who are we to believe that this part of our lives is in our total control? Forty years ago a young married couple would not have been subject to questions pertaining to when and how many children they were going to have in their family. Nor would the parents of more that three children have to justify the "enormous" size of their family.

    We no longer understand that our children are divine, precious gifts from the heart and hands of God. It is no wonder that in a nation which believes the ultimate power and authority of choice pertaining to family size lies solely within the parents discretion that our children are often defined and viewed as: possessions, problems, burdens, time-consuming, financial drains, emotional strains and many other inappropriate terms.

    There are many reasons for this complete change in the hearts and minds of Americans. The main influence stems directly from the widespread acceptance of contraceptives (birth control). Control. Humans love to believe that they are in control. The use of contraceptives physically and spiritually attempts to remove God, the Creator of life, from the position of control and attempts to place humans in His position.

    Not one good thing has come to us as a civilization as a result of the promotion, acceptance and use of contraceptives. In fact, quite the opposite is true. What a terrible, devastating mistake we have made! Contraceptives have given us a host a problems: a surge in the number of teen age pregnancies, suicides and abortions, 51% of first time marriages end in divorce, sexually transmitted diseases at an all time high, and by far the most tragic - we have lost respect for human life - we have forgotten that it is God that is the Creator of life, not us. Human life has no real value.

    Contraceptives was the catalyze for legalized abortion. With the hearts and minds of Americans believing that they were in control it was easy to move this belief a tiny step further. If you are in control of whether or not you will have children, when you will have children and how many children you will have, it only makes sense that you should also have the power and control to end a pregnancy if at some point it is not convenient for you to continue that pregnancy.

    The argument behind legal abortion is absurd! It is my body, I should have the right (to murder my child). This fetus can not survive outside of the womb, therefore I should have the right (to murder my child). It will effect my future, I should have the right (to murder my child). Don't push your moral beliefs on me, I should have the right (to murder my child). I am in control of my life, therefore I should have the right (to murder my child). I did not mean to get pregnant, I should have the right to murder my child). Every child a wanted child, therefore they should have the right (to murder their children). Of course no one promoting abortion ever explains that words like right and choice actually refer to murdering a child. Because you have the power, does not mean you have the right (to murder your child)!

    As for Joseph and I we will treasure as many children as He sees fit for us to have for His greater honor and glory. We will not worry what others think for we know life is precious and when we stray from His Laws through the selfish and life-destructive sins of contraception and abortion, we greatly contribute to His adversary's agenda. Joseph and I will have no part of that. Neither should you! Rather, we should all return to the mentality of years past when they would say, "Are you sure eight is enough? Maybe God's not finished yet!" That's the key: Him, not us!

Joe and Jane Dalton

For past columns by Joe and Jane Dalton, see FAITH IN THE FAMILY Archives

April 26, 2001
volume 12, no. 116
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