December 30th, 2006
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Do not tell me I can’t possibly raise 39 children, because I’m doing it, and doing it as a single parent. This can be done and I have fifteen grown children that are happy to back me up in this boisterous claim.

Adopting older children in sibling groups quickly makes a family grow. I chose to adopt school age children since back then I was the school library media specialist. As a single mom we certainly needed my paycheck.

Working while raising 10, 20, even up to 30 children was challenging, I’d decided on early retirement when the numbers were bumped up to 35 as five new children from one family joined us in 2002.


In the 1980s and throughout the 1990s most of my children, all in sibling groups, averaged between the ages of 5 and 13. I did not set out to build such a large family, I simply enjoyed my life as their mama and continued to feel that I could parent more children until a few years ago when instinct let me know clearly that I’d adopted enough children.

I did not want to parent 40 children, 39 was fine with me.

I’ve been blogging our family’s ups and downs for the last eighteen months, a gritty perspective certainly, and now I plan here to take a more topical approach while still interweaving our stories.

What I lack in any form of expertise, I suppose I make up for in experience. Raising 39 children, most of them previously traumatized by the foster care system, has been a challenge for want of a better word.

I’ve used my considerable energy first on my family, also on matching children to home study ready families, on gardening, as well as in encouraging those families that feel called to adopt. More importantly, I would think, is the encouragement that they’ll need later when the honeymoon period subsides and reality kicks in.

This is not an easy road, trying to parent children that were not under one’s wing during their critical, formative years. I’ve raised four of my children from scratch, from the very beginning, one birth child and three grandchildren…the rest of my darlings arrived in very banged up states of mind; angry, defiant and ready to rumble, not at all happy to be plopped down in yet another family, particularly a family that now claimed to be forever.

I’ll share my experiences and what I’ve learned.

3 Responses to “Raising 39 Children”

  1. barbarabh says:

    Welcome Cindy! It will be terrific reading you. You bring such a wealth of experience and a vast amount of compassion into the weird, sometimes funny, sometimes sad world of older child adoption.

  2. UnschoolingMama says:

    Okay, I won’t tell you ;o). Besides, I’ve been reading your other blog for about a year and I’d day, you’re doing it and doing it well.

    God bless you Cindy,
    Nicole P.

  3. Holly says:

    Hey Cindy – welcome! While I only have 18 living kiddos and am small potatoes, between you, Theresa Showell and me, we could have some lively converstations!! And yup, we’ve adopted some of those very banged up kids and it can really be tough. Looking forward to your posts!!

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