Questions for Katie’s siblings?

April 28th, 2012

As part of our Straight Talk series on special needs adoption, I am working on a post about siblings.  I asked our older children if they would be willing to write, and not surprisingly Laura began her essay right away. <grin>

Both of our oldest boys, ages 18 and 16, offered to answer questions directly.  So if you’ve ever had questions you’ve wanted to ask our older children about having two little sisters with special needs, or about adopting Katie, you are very welcome to leave a comment on this post.  All appropriate questions will be considered and answered to the best of Joseph and Daniel’s respective abilities.

Thank you so much, friends!


Oh, and a P. S. too:  ONE WEEK until the Big Families and Friends picnic!  See link on sidebar for more information.  For picnic location, please email






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13 Responses to “Questions for Katie’s siblings?”

  1. Anne says:

    We teach our children to be compassionate by doing the usual things of sharing, angel trees, sponsoring a child and even volunteering. They are compassionate children and I am very proud of them. But in the end they are quite focused on their education and activities above all and we encourage that. But I see something different in your family, a certain selflessness if you will.

    My question really is, how do you raise children that you will be confident will look after Katie and Verity after you are gone. Many parents, even christians will say that one of their fears of  having a special needs child is concern of what will happen to that child after they are gone and if the siblings will be too focused on themselves /their families, squabble among themselves as to who will take care of their SN sibling, have issues of money, will not have the same concern as the parents about the SN sibling and in the end, abandon or give minimal care to a vulnerable person dependent on them. 

    it is glaringly obvious to me that your children have an excellent example in you for compassion, patience, faith and putting others before self. Can you please talk about parenting. I don’t think it is the usual christian parenting because it is also glaringly obvious that you are doing something different than what the norm is.

  2. Mary Kathryn says:

    I hope this isn’t a delicate question for the older siblings, but it’s something I’ve always wondered about. Downs babies are often born to older mothers, and Downs children sometimes live far into adulthood, sometimes outliving their parents. Does the possibility that your little sisters will outlive your parents, alter how you might plan for your future? Do you see yourself as possibly caring for them in your home. (I have a friend who’s a grandmother, who’s caring for her sister.) How do you see this impacting your marriage and your life?

  3. Holly F. says:

    As a fellow mom of a child with Ds but with younger children all around, I’ve wondered how your older children processed the news of Verity’s diagnosis when they were told.  I imagine the way y’all told them made a huge difference but I would like to know what went through their mind.

    Also, did they have any complains/concerns about adopting when you have such a large family already?   (This is assuming they would feel comfortable telling their complains and concerns, if any.)(I forget what show or documentary I had watched one time but the family was quite large by society’s standards and some of the older children were not too happy to hear that mom was pregnant again.)

    As mentioned above, your children seem to have a very unselfish feel to them.  Also very nuturing.  Do the boys find it easier to be very affectionate with Verity and Katie?   If so, is it more the “little sister” relationship or the Ds?  (My oldest child is a boy and at the age of 11, is not very affectionate with his seven year old sister but very affectionate with his 3 year old brother who has Ds.  I think it is the Ds that brings on the affection…lol… I’m curious about your family.)

    Thanks Laura, Joseph, and Daniel for the opportunity to learn more about them.



  4. Jennifer says:

    My question is about adopting. If we were to adopt, we would have to cut back on some things in ordr to save money. This most likely means that extra curricular activities would be gone for a season or two. How do your children feel about having less because the adoption and medical needs cost so much? I’d really like their true feelings and not the politically correct answer. I want to get a feeling for if my boys will resent me and their adopted sibling because they missed out on some activities they really enjoy.

  5. Jill says:

    I don’t have a question but just want to say I love seeing the pure JOY in Katie’s face in your photos. Oh how she must think she is already in heaven! I tear up each time I see that smile, thinking of all the years she had nothing to smile about and now has so much.  

  6. Missy says:

    I have a few questions for the big kids. I know that obedience is important in your family. I also know that as kids grow that becomes more difficult. What do you do as children to make obedience something special and not just “because Mom and Dad say so”. Do you ever want to get away from “the little ones”. Do you have things to do that give you space? Would any of you like to visit Bulgaria or other places in the world, maybe on a mission trip? And the last one, just for fun, your mom always seems so calm and quiet, does she ever yell? :)

  7. Susanna says:

    Jennifer, I was hoping someone would ask this question! You will get honest answers, both from us and from our boys.

    Donum veritatis, you know…colossal waste of time to write if we’re not going to write the truth…


  8. Monica says:

    Hi! Thank you to Katie’s siblings for this oppportunity! As a family who has special needs adoption almost 100% in our future, I’ve wondered about the impact it will have on our biological children. I’m not too worried though, because I am a sister of three much younger adopted siblings. I am 27, my brother is 14, other brother 13, and sister is 9. When I was growing up, my house was full of babies and toddlers — different ones all the time! We did foster care from the time I was 11 to the time I was 18, and my three siblings are adopted out of that system.
    While I resented ‘living in a daycare’ at times, and a constantly tired mom (I was an only child before then!), I now see my siblings as the most influential people in my life. Because of them, my husband and I are on the road we are on. We are their guardians should anything happen to my parents (hopefully something we never have to face, but have to have these things sorted), and I know that I would never let them live with anyone else!

    Having said that, my question is similar to Mary Kathryn’s, since adopting children with special needs means the possibility of full-time lifelong care. How do your children feel about the possibility that they may be caring for Katie and Verity as adults? Also, how do they feel ‘sharing’ mom and dad with siblings that require quite a bit of extra time and attention?

    Thank you! Blessings, Monica 

  9. Gretchen says:

    I’m curious to know if any of the older children feel like you as a family should adopt again.  Or if perhaps they are interested in adopting themselves when they have families of their own. 
    Also (we’re adopting a special needs child due home this summer) if they have any advice for other children in families who are welcoming a child via adoption.  We’d love to hear it!

  10. Gail K. says:

    One of the concerns that others have shared with us about our decision to adopt is that it will take away time and attention from the kids that we have now. As siblings of a large family, including two children with special needs, what are some things that your parents have done or that you think are important to help all the kids in a large family feel important and valued?

  11. Lauren says:

    I have a question for the kids in general. :) Would you say that you were born with a “nurturing heart” or is that something you’re having to develop or maybe even struggling with? Now that you have two “special needs” sisters, how would you say that has impacted your heart for others both “special need” and “normal”? Do you feel that God is using Verity and Katie to mold you into who He wants you to become as adults or do you feel that this is more about who God is molding your parents to become?

    Has your family ever taken Gary Smalley’s Personality Test?
    My husband is a Beaver, I’m a Golden Retriever, our daughter is a Lion and our son an Otter. We sometimes joke about how our personalities change the way we view the world and how each of us feels that our temperament is the “better” one in certain situations. Do you feel that some of you are better equipped with your “special needs” sisters or do you feel that some of you are gaining new strengths by having them in your family?

  12. Beck Gambill says:

    How has adopting Katie, and now having two special needs girls in the family, affected private time and time with parents? What sorts of responsibilities do the older kids have in the household and with the younger children? What would you want other people to know about your family that they might not know? Thanks for sharing, looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

  13. How lovely it would be if there were guarantees in life, or would it.  If we were guaranteed perfect health, both mental and physical, would we be so willing and ready to call on the Lord?  If our life were problem free would that teach our children the lessons they need to learn.  As a mom of 4 sons who are now grown I can say, “No, no a thousand times no!”  My sons were taking care of my dad when he got cancer and was on hospice.  Now they stay with my mom in the retirement center, to the amazement of the other residents.  My third son has serious psychological issues which didn’t show up till he was 19 and tried to commit suicide multiple times which left his frontal lobe damaged.  He will never marry, live alone, or do so many things young adults do but his brothers assure me that he will never be abandoned, they will make the best choices they can for him.  I now have a daughter-in-law who loves him as much as we do and feels they same way my sons do.  Yes, it is hard to raise a special needs child but aren’t we all special needs to God.  With love Ginny Kinison

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