I always thought it was so much fun to read about big family food needs! You know, those grocery pictures from moms who tell about how they feed their ten kids every day?
I was fascinated by the pictures of their huge grocery hauls. Seeing their weekly super-sized piles of bananas, their multiple gallons of milk, and everything else it took to feed their families always made me smile.
And now? Now, I get to be the one with big family food needs! God has grown our family from six to twelve! So would you look at that? I’ve become a mom with huge banana piles to enjoy. Therefore, I decided that I get to share about this too! Want to follow along?
Our Big Family Food Needs
Here’s a peek at a week’s worth of overflowing Wal-mart shopping cart. (And that is why, if I’m shopping at Wal-mart, I only shop Walmart pick-up now, oy!)
When I go to Costco, I skip the regular carts altogether and grab one of their big orange utility carts. Where do I put the huge haul to get it all home? Oh not to worry. It all fits in the back of the “Mama Copp Mobile.”
It’s a 12-passenger with a lot of cargo space in the back for ALL THE GROCERIES. And the strollers and fold-up wagon, of course.
Everything feels big right now.
Big van. Big needs. Big responsibilities. Big messes. Big family. Big food.
I love this, even if this comes with some big hardships too. We can’t grow if we don’t struggle.
Did someone say grow??
We’re growing in several ways. Adult kids, a daughter-in-law, an almost daughter-in-law, a girlfriend (not pictured), two adopted boys, and four little girls that we’re still fostering. Our current family total is 15, counting Matt and me. Nine kids still live at home (technically one of them lives on the college campus across town but he’s still considered part of our “household”).
A Little Back-Story
Many of you have followed our story from the beginning of this blog. You watched our four biological sons grow from little to big. And we thought our grocery needs were big then (because they were, ha).
Beginning in 2018, God surprised us by making us foster parents. Then adoptive parents. And foster parents again. Six little ones are a part of our family right now.
An answered prayer?
People look at all our babies and tell us how lucky we are. “Look at all those babies you get to snuggle!” And they’re not wrong. It’s absolutely amazing! Sometimes I ask God, “Why did you choose us for this? Why do we get to be so blessed as to enjoy all of these soft cheeks, squishy toddlers, baby cuddles, piggy tails, and pre-schooler giggles? Why do we get to have such a big family? Why did you choose us to be this family, these parents, to have all these kids?”
It appears that He chose us because we asked for it. Not this, actually. We were praying, but we didn’t ask Him for foster care and adoption. We never asked God to grow our family. We were actually on our way toward empty nesting, and we weren’t even sad about it. Our high-need parenting years were almost over and Matt and I were looking forward to the time we would have to devote to different ministries (lol). So we asked God:
Teach us how to truly love our neighbors. We are ready to serve you in new ways. Show us what you want for us!
Oh. So see? We actually did ask for this. We just had no idea how He would answer.
It’s what God wants for all of us.
Not foster care or adoption specifically. But He wants open hearts ready to serve in whatever ways He calls us. His ways are incredible and His plans are big. He asks us all to become uncomfortable with Him because constantly sitting in comfort doesn’t accomplish much for God’s Kingdom.
Did I say this was about food?
I’m getting there. But first I needed to share the beginning of the story.
I wish I could say, “So long story short…” but goodness has this story been long. And it’s only been three and a half years. So much has happened in our family and so much of it has involved challenge that it pains me to begin sharing it.
Our gain comes with loss. Heartache is at the root of our family’s growth. Our bonus children bring baggage that only God can heal. And while I don’t like to admit it, I’ve had to grieve loss too. Loss of what I thought my life would look like right now. Loss of freedom. Loss of comfort. Loss of well, sleep, ha.
I thought I knew who God was. Turns out, I only knew a little bit. We can’t know what we know until we know it. And as we’ve been brought through so many new life challenges, God keeps showing us more about who He is. How He works. What His power can do.
The more we walk this new journey, the more we realize how much more there is to God and His ways. It makes me wonder what in the world I might be able to share with you next month. Next year. Five years from now. What a God!
So here we are.
I guess I should start talking about groceries now because that’s really what you came for. But oh I can’t talk about the food until I talk about the faith. The journey that brought us to today. The path we’re on that continues to lead us down unknown futures.
Truth: The future is unknown for all of us. We can dream some dreams and make some plans. But our tomorrows are under the control of One who dreams bigger and plans better. It’s incredibly exciting when we choose to put our trust in the Father!
Big Family Food, then?
Yes, Big Family Food. I thought it would be fun to share what this looks like in our family right now. I have a series in the works to share:
- What my grocery store hauls look like
- How much I spend (are you sitting down?)
- How I cook for this many
- How I manage our meal plans and snacking needs
- Where and how I store all the food
- How we afford it
- How I keep from going crazy (she has, in fact, already gone crazy)
Who We’re Feeding Daily
- 3 adults (Matt and me, plus Justus who is finishing out his senior year of college and living at home to save money)
- 1 high schooler
- 2 elementary kids (currently ages 8 and 6)
- 2 toddlers (who just turned 2 and 3)
- 1 baby (currently age 17 months, but I’m in denial and refuse to call her a toddler yet)
- 1 infant (who doesn’t affect our grocery budget yet)
And yes, I’ve been around the block enough to know that what our big family food needs are now will only keep getting bigger as these little ones grow into big ones!
Who We’re Feeding Frequently
- All of the above plus…
- Elias, our college junior, who lives in an apartment across town. We supply him with some of the food he takes back to his apartment, plus he comes home (often with his roommates) a few times a week for meals
- 20ish college students most Sundays for lunch (our kids bring their friends, the friends bring friends, it’s turned into a big thing and WE LOVE IT)
- Some of Malachi’s high school friends once or twice each week so they can hang out during their lunch period.
- Whoever else God brings to our table during the week
Our grocery needs go beyond our family
But then again, we kind of feel like everyone is family. All the college kids? They are ours. The high school kids? Ours. Extras who we’ve just met who came with the regulars? Welcome to the Coppinger Zoo. You are ours now too (here, please hold this baby).
So actually, if ever we are eating a meal with “just our family” we feel like something is off. Where are the extras? How is it just us right now?
How do we do it?
Well, that’s what I thought would be fun to talk about during the next few weeks. I’ll start taking more pictures as I grocery shop and cook and serve meals. It won’t be glamorous and some of what you see might make you cringe. I’ve had to let go of trying to execute plans perfectly and instead settle many days for “just surviving.”
But hey. At least the kids are cute.