The Duggars, Large Families, and Adoption

I watched the Duggar’s visit to China tonight along with most of the Chinese adoption community.

I have also read many of the negative comments virally exploding on Facebook about such a large family considering growing their family even more by adoption.

I even read one very critical comment suggesting the Duggars should have thought about adopting fifteen children ago.


As a mom of quite a few biological children and two adopted teens from China, I have much to say on this topic.

There is a basic truth that we have somehow lost sight of in this country that was once so rooted and grounded on the principles of God.

God is all about life and creating, about growing and expanding.

He gives life.

He is not limited by our finite, tiny minds and narrow scopes of how many children we think we can handle.

As a mother of many who never did anything to avoid having children, I strongly disagree with the mindset that we must limit the number of biological children we have in order to care for orphans. God is bigger than all of that. He can bless families with huge numbers of biological children AND BRING THE ORPHANS HOME.

We do not need to limit God or to prevent life in one fashion to welcome it in another.

God has all the power in the world to bring the children home and bless us abundantly, if He so chooses, with many biological children.

Furthermore, it’s not the huge families who have learned to trust God for their family size that are perpetuating the orphan crisis. It is the mindset of many smaller families, the mindset that says no to God, the mindset that doesn’t have room for more in their lives that keeps the orphans from coming home.

And it is not God who is so busy creating new life that allows the orphans to suffer and remain alone.

It is His body, the church that has taken their eyes off the suffering Savior, and instead come to value comfort and ease and amusement, that fails to bring the orphans home.

Of course large families are adopting the children.

Large families have had to learn to go against society and even the church to grow their family beyond their own comprehension.


Merely having a big family grows one’s faith immensely.

Large families have come to understand that resources don’t divide and diminish with each child. They grow and multiply.

Large families know that God provides.


Large families know that God grows their resources just as He grew the loaves and the fishes.

Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses. Proverbs 28:27

Large families have learned to step out of the rat race and busyness of life and to spend time at home working with and tending to their children.

Large families have already learned by necessity to structure and manage more in their lives.

Large families typically homeschool their children which can be the perfect environment for an older child who has grown up in an orphanage and is not developmentally ready for traditional schooling.

Large families view children as God sees children, as blessings from His very own hand.

3 Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court. Psalm 127:3-5


Parents of large families have already laid their desires and dreams at the feet of Jesus and know that their fulfillment will come in serving their Savior and welcoming His gifts into their lives.

Parents of large families know that there is no greater joy than following God’s will.

Parents of large families know they can parent another. They have done it over and over again.


Parents of large families have parented many children with various personalities. They have years of life experience and wisdom.

Not only are the parents of large families overwhelmingly prepared and willing to welcome another, but the children are as well.


Children from large families are blessed to understand that they are a part of something bigger than themselves. They learn to give and to share.

Children from large families know the world does not revolve around them.


Children of large families value the friendships they have with their siblings.

Children from large families are happy, fulfilled and deeply loved.

A large family provides a fertile, welcoming, stimulating, loving community for an adopted child to immediately become a part of.

Large families welcome more children with an adeptness and skill that no brand new parent could rival.

Sometimes it is an established family that is prepared to care for the children with bigger challenges and needs.

Of course large families are adopting the children.

Of course large biological families are extremely well prepared to care for orphaned children.

May God use the Duggars to bless many orphans through their voice and may He use us to do the same.

And may God grow the faith of His people and bring the children home!


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  1. Mama D.'s Dozen says:

    Preach it, Sister!!!

    We had 10 bio. children before we adopted 3 older siblings from Africa. We purposely pursued an older set of siblings, knowing that they are the least likely to be adopted. We didn’t “need” another baby. We knew we had room in our home and love in our hearts to add 3 at once.

    Homeschooling was absolutely the BEST option for the older children that we adopted. I cannot even imagine them trying to transition into our public elementary and middle schools, coming home so very young emotionally, socially, and academically. But, because I had already schooled my bio. kids at home for 17 years, I was able to meet the individual needs of the new children.

    Laurel πŸ™‚
    Mama D.’s Dozen recently posted..A Week in the Life of a Crazy Busy Family . . .My Profile

    • Kimberly Trumble says:

      I am curious what placement agencies you used to adopt. My husband and I only have 4 children and are struggling to find agencies, even “christian”ones, that will work with us to bring a sibling group home. So sad that there are children waiting because they do not fit the typically requested age of 0-2 but when a family wants to bring them home they are not allowed because of family size.

  2. Karen Haske says:

    Thank you for your comments! We aren’t the large family…only 4 biological sons and 3 “littles” adopted from China (#4 will be coming home in the fall), but I do agree with your opinion on the matter of large families. I too watched the Duggers and got very excited about their “willingness”. I’m sure their daughter-in-law, Anna is being moved by the holy spirit and even though they’re expecting #3, I expect they will probably be considering adoption.
    Karen Haske recently posted..One of those days…My Profile

  3. Penny says:

    Diane, you probably know this blog, but just in case you don’t, she did a series of posts earlier in March about life in a large family. She has many adopted kids (just brought home 3 more!) and for one post she asked them specifically how life was different in a family from their life in the orphanage, and recorded their answers. Very interesting reading for this mom of one!

  4. Vertical Mom says:

    I am not surprised by the negative comments. Satan HATES children and wants them to suffer. I just may send this post to every caseworker who turned us down for kids because we “already have enough”. REALLY?! You don’t have any other options for getting these kids out of foster care but you won’t even consider us because we have five already?! I am giving this post a standing ovation. I hope Jim Bob and Michelle DO choose to adopt! That would be such a testimony. Thanks for writing this, Diane!
    Vertical Mom recently posted..ShoesMy Profile

  5. Vickie says:

    What a great write up!!!! I only have 3 bio kids (now grown and married with families of their own) and stopped having more on the recommendation from the doctor. We have adopted 8 (still at home) already and we are waiting on approval to adopt a sib group of 7. We are shocked and in awe of God’s working thru us for adoption, and this cw of the group of 7 seeing that we are already large in comparison to others, and still says we are a perfect fit for her group of 7. Like you said, we already get the larger family dynamics and thank the Lord there are caseworkers out there that see and understand that. What a huge testimony that the Duggars do and will have that “God ain’t finished with me yet”. And yes, we’ll keep adopting for as long as the Lord calls us to do so. I’m excited to have 15 at home all at once.

  6. Judith Pielemeier says:

    Stay at the orphanage or be adopted by a loving large family like the Duggars? If anyone in the world can handle it, the Duggars can!

  7. Laura Lee says:

    I wish the Duggars would adopt me. :). What a great family. I agree with everything you said. We need to be sensitive to “small” families, though, since we never know the whole picture. I know several ladies, at least five, who would have loved more children…bio or adopted…but the husband wasn’t on board. Pretty common, I’m afraid.
    Laura Lee recently posted..taco soupMy Profile

  8. Lisa says:

    Thank you for this inspiring post. As the Mom of 7 (almost 8), I needed this word of encouragement to remind me how many blessings a big family enjoys. Every blessing to you all, what blessed children you have.

    • Veronica says:

      You guys are amazing. We are so happy for you both plus 1. Can haldry wait to see you over the holidays and give you both the big hug you deserve. We will be more than happy to keep you in our prayers. We are both so very proud of you, plus I will have a new child to spoil, which I am looking so forward to. May God continue to bless you through this process.

  9. Jessica W says:

    Love this. I wonder what it is that causes people to lash out against the Duggars so much. They’re delightful. Their children are delightful and they aren’t doing anyone any harm. For crying out loud! I only catch the show on the web, so I’m always a few seasons behind, but I’d love to see them adopt. Their nurturing family would be a fantastic place for any kid. (I’d love to send my own kids to hang out with their kids for a week or so). I bet they’d come home with a fantastic new perspective! πŸ™‚
    Jessica W recently posted..Finalist!My Profile

  10. Stephanie says:

    I think having large families is great. I think adoption is better. We have to be more conscientious about the over population of our planet- if everyone did as the Duggars have done think of how quickly we would be using up our natural resources- our planet cannot sustain that type if thinking. Long ago, big families were necessary to help work the farms and fields and birth control was non-existent or not as readily available as it is today. Bigger families are great, but we are the stewards of this planet- if we screw it up, we don’t get a do-over. If you want a big family- adopt- its a more responsible choice for the future

  11. A.Roddy says:

    The thing is large large constantly criticize smaller families , but it can’t be the other way around. You seem to think smaller families are morally defunct. Larger families doesn’t alway mean family values. i have read comments from those who come from large families, many raised like the Duggars, where abuse was hidden behind closed doors. They also felt they were robbed of childhood. I feel for the Duggar kids regadless of number. They seem to turn up their noses at other cultures and ideas. The lder girls are stuck with 3/4 of the grunt work because their parents can’t stop having kids. The last birth was almost a disaster and the toddlers don’t seem to know who Michelle is. Even if they werent’ relgious, there would be concerrns. I also believe if they weren’t religious the Duggars wouldn’t be so received.I wish people would stop to think why they want so many children. For their benefit or the child’s?

    As far as limiting family size, what is a joy for one person can be a living nightmare for someone else. There is no formula set in the Bible or elsewhere. To call those who limit famly size or choose to have no kids spiritually defunct is taking it a bit too far and against Biblical principles. Didn’t Jesus warn against judgement?

    • ruth says:

      i have only one child who is 14 years he has lots of love and he very good boy he has very high grades in school me and husband could not have any more children because i was very ill and when a was having my son i was in hospital for 9 months

  12. A.Roddy says:

    And bioloy has nothing to do with parenting or fostering abilities. I knew a lady from churgch, still living, who took in various foster kids with no bio kids of her own. Furthermore, infertile couples will likley have first picks and they should if they qualify. I doubt if any US aganey woudl let them adopt because foster kids usually come with special needs. Some states require one parent staying at home for the first few months. I don’t think the Dugggars canm provide the stability since they travel so much. Then, yout last bio child must be at least 2-3 years older or younger than the adopted child. Frankly, I think the Duggars have their fair share of children.

  13. Carrie says:

    Yes, yes, and yes!! We only have 5 kids and people look at us like we’ve lost it. We live in China, so that turns heads too :). The Duggars are a wonderful family that trusts the Lord’s goodness over the limits the world tells us we should be living by. It’s beautiful! Thanks for your words of blessing over large families!

  14. Pam says:

    Love your blog, and I think this is my favorite post you’ve done! Your points are all excellent and true!

    As an only child, and now mama to 8, I consider myself BLESSED to have a larger than average size family! It’s just downright fun!

  15. Kim says:

    This was a wonderful post! We are the parents of 9 biological children and are in the process of adopting a young boy from Africa. Thank you for getting it out there that it is a positive thing to have a large family and that large families have the capacity to add more!
    I don’t think there are too many large families who look down on those who have small families. Most of us realize that it is a personal choice between a couple and God. I do think that there are definite advantages to children learning to share and trust God in big families, however, that they couldn’t get any other way. (Just like there are advantages to children having more alone time with their parents with smaller families.)
    This was a refreshing post. Most people seem to gripe or look down on large families, or at the very least think you are crazy. Thanks for sharing how positive it can be to have a big family. πŸ™‚

  16. julee feser says:

    A friend shared your blog and I am so glad I visited it. Love your large family post. We have 8 bio kids and 22 adopted. Only 16 children still left at home, the rest are grown and two who have passed away. We feel so very blessed by what the Lord had done for us with our children. Your post was such a gift to me today. Most of our adopted children are special needs. Our lives are exhausting , physically, emotionally and financially. But God always gives us what we need to do what He says. Praise Him for giving you your heart for His blessings of mothering all the children He brings to you. We are expecting another dear son with down syndrome from China soon. We have five Chinese children, the two newest have been home 6 weeks
    Julee Feser

  17. Maria Burns says:

    I agree with some of this and disagree with some. I am VERY happy that they have chosen to adopt. I am one of those people who feel they should have adopted a long time ago instead of birthing so many while other children sit in orphanages.(or worse-institutions) I feel “anybody” can birth a child, so we need to be responsible and at some point, if we want more children then consider to choose to adopt. A lot of us usually have no problem with physically being able to birth numerous children, but we NEED to step up for those who are already born and in need of a family. You mentioned that God is greater then all this and its not Him that causes there to be orphans, its the people (us) that choose not to step up. That is totally true! So when we get married and birth children I feel we need to stop at some point and step outside the box and consider adoption. I only have 8 children and my heart would love to have more children. (there is always room for love) We stopped because of a couple of reasons. The main reason is because we adopt special needs children so there is a limit to what we can give. (if we had all healthy children it would be so much easier to have many more-a child who can breath on his/her own and scratch their own itch, lick their own lips need ALOT less care then those who cannot) 24/7 of my life is caring for my children, my boys are part of me, literally) That is the main reason why we stopped. Secondly, I don’t agree with the fact that the older children in that family basically raise the younger ones. As a large family of course my children are a big part of the process, but I think a child should be a child. I’m sure most of you will not agree. I’m used to that though, we are not the normal adoptive family. We go forward in adopting the children most people pass up, thus the children who need the most time consuming care. Hence, not allowing us to have as many. With that said, I think we are all called to different paths. Some families have numerous , more self sufficient children (for lack of a better word) while others adopt less, more needs children. Some just birth, some just adopt, some mixed. (of course my human sin nature, judgemental side feels more of Gods children (us) should not just step up and adopt, but step up and adopt the children who will have the hardest time finding a family. The ones most folks rather not adopt. There will likely be families waiting to adopt a healthier child) JMHO

  18. Roberta says:

    I applaud this family. I was an adopted child of a family that had already given birth to 3 children. After getting married, we so wanted a child of our union. What we didn’t know was that God, in his wisdom, had other plans for us. After 31 years of marriage, we now have 8 children, all special needs, all wonderful, all adopted and our home is so blessed. We are older parents and are continually surprised at the reactions of our community–some negative, some surprised and some supportive. Our lives may not be perfect, troubles come and go, joy abides and special moments with each child are daily experiences. What we generally want be to understood is that we are so blessed and don’t question God’s will. We are thankful for his wisdom and grace and know that he will protect and provide. Thank you all for speaking out and revealing your hearts.

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