Questions and Answers!
I know there are a lot of you out there with questions. So feel free to ask! I will try and answer them as best as I can. Just comment below with your question.
So here is one that we get frequently that I will start out with.
How do you plan on supporting all of your children in the future? For example, weddings, missions, college, adult dependent children, etc.
My first and best response is that we have faith that the Lord will provide. If you would have told me 11 years ago that we would have been able to afford and raise 8 children, I would have called you crazy (let alone 10). But we truly believe the words of Nephi when he says:
"I will do and do the things the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." 1 Nephi 3:7
We have seen this very clearly in our lives. If you do what the Lord asks, He will always provide a way. The trick is to have the faith to do it before you have the answers on how he is going to provide. We have always had what we needed and more! We live in a nice home, in a wonderful neighborhood. We have always been able to provide for our children both temporally and spiritually. We go to church and home devotionals every week. We have clothing and food. Our children are involved in piano, cello, sports, tumbling, horseback riding, scouts, etc. We have good health insurance for our children so they can recieve the many surgeries and therapies they have required. We take family trips and I really don't think we miss out on anything that smaller families have. We have never wanted for anything that were needs and very little that were wants.
So why would I worry about the future, when the Lord has never failed us? Why would I doubt Him? He will not abandon us in the future.
All that being said, I believe that we too must do our part in order for the Lord to bless us.
Kevin has never had a day of unemployment. He has been willing to do the most menial of jobs in between his "real" employment. He is an honest and hard worker. His employers love him. He has integrity and is responsible. Because of this, and the Lord's blessings, we have always enjoyed a stable and good income.
We are honest in our dealings. We do not take out debt unless it is absolutely necessary. We do not take out loans for purchases (except houses), including for cars. We save a lot of money by not paying interest. When we do take out loans, like a mortgage, we have always paid it on time. We have a beautiful credit score in the 800's because we meet our obligations. This also allows us to save a ton of money because we get good interest rates, we do not pay late fees and we save carefully for the things that are important, while avoiding the things we cannot afford that aren't.
We save and plan for the future. For our kid's college we have purchased a rental cottage. It will be payed off by the time the kids go to college. The current rent more then covers the expense. When we bought it, it was a disaster, but we worked hard as a family and now it is adorable. We can use the rent after it is paid off to help pay for college. We are also hoping for scholarships on some of our kids. We have 3 children who have skipped grades, and all are very hard workers in school. We make education a very high priority. We also believe in our children working during college. I learned A LOT more and took it a lot more seriously when I was responsible for the bill.
Then it is the plan to use this cottage for one or more of our less independent children to live in when they get older. It is just down the street from us. Our disabled children as adults will recieve SSI, medicaid, food stamps and rent subsidy to help them make ends meet if necessary. We also will strongly encourage employment no matter what the disability. We also have a large home that we could make a basement apartment for a less independent child to live in. As our children become more independent, the expense of caring for them will equalize or lessen.
When we die, we have a huge life insurance policy so that less independent children can be provided for. They will also have the added benefit of a close very large family to help look after them.
Things are really changing for the disabled though. The opportunities are growing for employment and independent living. We met a man who has such severe CP that he must drive his power wheelchair and communicate by blowing through a straw. Despite this, he lives completely independent, has a great job, is married with kids and is very happy. Our daughter Clarissa, might have severe CP but she is brilliant and I know one day she will live on her own. Many people with disabilities, mental, cognitive or physical, live full, successful lives. Techonology is improving rapidly that will only make this more of a reality.
As far as missions and weddings go, our children are already saving. We feel it is important to give children allowance from a very young age so they learn to manage money responsibly. Our children put 50% of what they make into a savings account at the bank (and they give 10% in tithing). Our hope is that as they get older, this will become a habit that will carry them through their teens years as they get "real" jobs. We expect that our children will be able to pay for their own missions. It is amazing how much they have already saved!! If the girls decide to get married and not go, this will become their wedding fund. If not, we will have 2+ years to save for their weddings while they serve their missions. We believe their missions will be more meaningful for them because they have saved their whole lives to go. What a sense of accomplishment they will have!
But even the best laid plans can go astray when tragedy strikes. This is where the Lord makes up the difference. When we do all that we can do, if it is not enough, the Lord will provide a way to accomplish the things He wants for your life, and honestly, the other things do not matter.
I hope that this gives some peace to worried loved ones and hope and inspiration to others. Do not fear the future. The Lord does not work in fear. Fear does not come from Him. Fear is a tool of the devil to keep you from living up to your full potentional and having extraordinary lives. So if you are feeling fear, know the source and discard it. Have faith that if you are following God's will for your life, the rest will simply fall into place. The things that don't, were designed for your benefit, to learn and grow and become more refined. So either way, you benefit!