In Case You’re Wondering


So sometimes (read: always) when I walk around town with three young children, I get comments.
I really don’t fully understand this. Back when I was rolling only two deep, nobody thought anything. But three? Three makes people loose their minds in wonder and comments. Even when she’s not in her tutu!


Just drink all that in for a minute.

I can leave the house and bet the farm that before we return, at least 4 well meaning strangers will comment on my hands and how they’re “full”. And I’ll get at least one, “Oh bless your heart”.
I’m cool with it, this isn’t meant to be one of those ranting and raving posts about public comments. But it more just intrigues me. What is it about three kids that draws attention? Is it like that for others?
Please talk to me. And I’d really like to hear from families that have more than three kids. Do y’all just give up on public appearances!? Can society even handle you? Or do you just keep your “full” hands at home, away from awkward interchanges with strangers?

We do get some other standard questions/comments as well. I figured I’d share them here, along with answers. Just for fun.

1. “How long will you have him?”
That’s the first question I’d ask, for sure. And it’s the one question I’d love to know the answer to. We have no idea. It’s up to the courts and this is a really interesting thing for me to work through, running on someone else’s schedule. They don’t even consult us, can you imagine??!! Rude.

2. “Why is he in foster care?”/ “Does he have parents?”/ “What happened to him?” / “Is it because of drugs?”
When we were placed with our little handsome, the second thing I wanted to know (after a ballpark of how long he’d be with us) was some background. We weren’t told anything.
And, as we’ve slowly pieced together information and gotten his back story, do you know what I’ve learned? It never really mattered in the first place. All I needed to know was that our little babe is precious and needed a home and love. We’ve been blessed with the ability to learn more of his story, but here’s the thing…it’s just that. His story. It’s not ours to share. (We’re not allowed to anyway).

3. “Is he up for adoption?”/ “Are you looking for someone to adopt him?”
Nope. He has a biological and a current family that loves him. As for his future, it’s up to the courts to decide. They don’t give us any sway. Again…rude.

4. “How are your kids doing with this?”
Our older children are doing really well actually. That was one thing we were very cautious to monitor. We talk often about our job as a foster family to provide a safe, loving home and family to a child in crisis, for as long as the Lord sees fit. We discuss trusting in Him and His timing. I’m constantly amazed at how utterly natural this whole shebang seems to them. No matter how awkward I can be at times.
As for our youngest, our little baby for now, he’s knocking our socks off. Happy, calm, full of joy. So far showing no signs of the oddness that seems to ooze from our gene pool rubbing off on him.

5. “Do you hope to adopt him?”
I mean, sometimes I have a hard time not stuttering over this one. Especially when a minute earlier I was feeling up all the apples in the produce section, filling up our little baggie and my brain was nothing but a gentle hum. It feels like someone just said, “what color underwear are you wearing?”.
The answer….we don’t hope anything at this point. We pray and trust.
And as for what we’d like? The Lord’s plan. Nothing more, nothing less.
As for deepest darkest wishes? Depends on the day.

6. “Why did you decide to start foster care?”
I wish I had a neat little concise answer. I talked about it some here. But you know who says it so well, it felt like my own heart poured out? This girl. (She’s talking about why she’s adopting, but our whys are the same.) It’s our thang. Honestly, like she said, I just can’t stand the thought of kids in orphanages. (or group homes in our case. Or being tossed around from foster home to foster home). Our family felt that, while we can’t do much, we can provide a safe, loving home for a child that needs it. For as long as they need it. Our home is nothing but a blessing and we want to use it as such. Not a haven, tucked away for just us, but as an embassy for Him to use as He sees fit. We just opened the door. The rest is His story.

7. “Why do your older children seem to never wear clothes?”/ “Do you know your son just dropped his pants and is urinating in public?”/ “Have you noticed your 2 year old seems to be using that baby carrier as a means to shop lift?”
We’re working on it. There’s just nothing else to say.

xo Hillary



Posted on in Family Time, Foster Care, Love Him, Love Others 10 Comments

10 Responses to In Case You’re Wondering

  1. James

    Our girl’s beauty just blows me away some times. What a precious picture. Thanks for being such a precious wife and incredible mother to our brood, all 3 :)

  2. carissa

    beautiful. your hearts are shining for Him.

    today actually, three people told me my hands were full. with only 2. weird. i think it’s because the kiddos were in the jogger and that’s like a 3rd child the size of a great dane. or, maybe i just have an overwhelmed look all the time? shoot.

  3. joanna

    And my heart just swelled even more with love and respect for y’all. (and yes, emme in that tutu may have added to that swelling ..just a smidge.) Love your humor and your heart- and your patience and obedience to Jesus- its really one of the most beautiful, encouraging things I know! That baby boy is blessed to be in your loving care, for as long as God has him there. And, for the record…you look good with three. Even if they are not all clothed and jump out of car windows like animals. hahaha xoxox

  4. Lindsey

    Oh my goodness I stopped counting the amount of people that say to me daily ‘your hands are full!!’ After having our #3,
    Izzie. Then I started to see my eldest mid start churning listening to my responses of ‘yeah.’ and I thought I really hope she doesn’t think my hands are too full or think that I’m
    Not happy with full hands. So now I just always respond they are full, full of many blessings! You’d be surprised at the people’s responses after that :-) so I’m with you what changes in people’s minds with the third??
    You could write a book after all your experiences!

    • Tori Easom

      Linds, I love that response! I haven’t thought much about what Ayden might start to perceive about my responses to people’s comments. Plus, you’re right…when I do respond in a way that makes them know that I am not annoyed at the fact that I have so many young ones, sometimes people are shocked to hear that.

  5. Mandie Joy

    Hillary, it made me tear up that in answer to “How are your kids doing with this?”, you mentioned how ALL THREE of your children are doing. You didn’t make a distinction. That says so much about how you’re choosing to carry your heart through this process. You are doing this so well. So well. [mj]

  6. Brandi

    Love this! You are braver than you know. Thanks so much for opening a window into your life and walking in His love. It will make all the difference in the world in your lives and the lives of the children He puts with y’all. May His grace and peace abound in your home. xo

  7. Tori Easom

    YES!! I cannot begin to count the number of times someone says “Oh, you sure do have your hands full” every time I am out with them. But, I don’t even have to have all three with me. They’ll say it with just the girls. Who knows…

    Hillary, I absolutely love you. And I love that Jesus is just all over you. And it’s so clear to everyone who sees you. So proud to call you friend.

  8. hillarygardner

    Thank you girls so much for your sweet and encouraging words. Love y’all.

  9. Lisa

    I can totally relate to your experience! When it was just me and my 3 boys out in public, we always heard “you’ve got your hands full” and now that we are fostering we have 6 young children and people always ask “Are they all yours?”
    One lady even said “I feel sorry for you”. (All the kids were behaving well at that moment too… people can be so funny sometimes!


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