Quiver-full Convicted

The Andrea Yates case throws a spotlight on a controversial Christian movement
by Dawn Friedman

Editor's Note: TNH is a secular website. We present this article not as an endorsement or condemnation of anyone's practices, but as one of our ongoing attempts to understand currents in today's parenting cultures.

Anne Peterson* of Atlanta, GA was twenty-four when she became engaged. Before they got married, Anne and her fiancé Tom*, both Christians, had a serious discussion about birth control.

"We had it narrowed down to the rhythm method," says Anne. "We just needed to know when to start having babies. We decided to pray about it separately and when we both had heard an answer from Him, we would come together and share it."

When the answer came, it was not what either of them expected.

"We were looking for something like three children, two years apart, starting in two years," Anne explains. "But He told us the same thing, that children are a blessing, a gift from God. Who are we to refuse any of His blessings?"

Blessed indeed. After five years of marriage, Anne and Tom have three children and one on the way.

Tom and Anne are part of a movement in some conservative Christian circles known as "quiver-full." The nickname comes from Psalm 127:3 - 4:

"Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are children of the youth. Happy is the man whose quiver is full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."

Families who are quiver-full convicted eschew artificial birth control; most refuse even to use natural family planning.

Dawn Prince*, a 29-year old mother to five in Trenton, New Jersey, explains it this way.

"It comes down to the question of where do you believe babies come from? I have a hard time believing conception is just a biological act. I believe that God is at work in each and every conception that takes place."

It is a conviction that was probably shared by the Yates family. According to an interview with Andrea Yates's brother and sister, Russell Yates "wanted as many children as God wanted."

Bring up the Yates's to a group of quiver-full families and they get understandably wary.

"While the Andrea Yates case is tragic," says Paula Dunham, publisher of Joyfull Noise, a magazine for families with four or more children. "Unfortunately, these types of things happen in all types of families, not just those that have five children and home school."

Many quiver-full families are worried that the tragedy will bring unwanted criticism their way.

"I'm afraid to complain to my family about a run-of-the-mill bad day," says one mother of six. "I get old Andrea Yates thrown up in my face if I do."

"Having a large family in a day and age when family is relatively unimportant makes it hard to discuss the challenges of raising several children," says Wendy Armstrong, a mother of four in Paducah, KY. "I find that many are quick to point out that we do not have to have so many children, basically blaming us for making our own lives so hard. It would not surprise me if Andrea Yates experienced the same."

"The most critical people are those that don't know us," says Louise Strelow*, a mother to nine in Grand Rapids, MI. "We have had this happen most often when someone in public counts all our children and might say something quite crude."

John Willis is an ordained Baptist elder in Kane County, IL. His wife, Terry, is a registered nurse. They are the parents of eleven children. The oldest is thirty-two and the youngest is one; they are expecting another baby this summer.

"We both get sayings like, you are having babies like a cat or dog," says Terry. "Or enough is enough, when are you going to stop? I still get angry when I hear this sometimes but it's mostly when I'm pregnant."

"For me to hear that said about my wife is at the least disturbing," says John.

The Willis's get frustrated with other people's assumptions.

"Some people believe that with that many children the mother must be overweight, emotionally unbalanced and generally overwrought, " says John. "In our situation, none of these things are true."

"I'm not fat, crazy, and tired all the time just because I have a full quiver," adds Terry. "On the contrary, this is a lot of fun to me."

Paula Dunham says the argument she hears most often is that people with large families are stretching already limited natural resources for a population growing out of control.

"I have spoken with the most respected demographers in this country, " she says. "And their projections do not support this conclusion. As a matter of fact, in countries like Japan, Germany, and Spain that have very low population rates, many economic problems are surfacing because their populations are not being replaced."

Louise Strelow agrees.

"The entire population of the world could live in Texas!" she says. "With contraceptives and fertility problems, the birthrate is continually dropping and the world's population will probably never be doubled. We may actually have a problem in the future with not enough population!"

In the eyes of some of the quiver-full convicted, the problem is not that they are having too many babies, it's that other Christians aren't having enough.

In her article "How Do We Value Life?" on her web site Above Rubies, Nancy Campbell writes, "Now at this end time when God is looking for a people to fulfill His purposes like no other time in history, Satan is once again trying to eliminate the army of God. Over these last few decades he has been very successful. Born again, God loving Christians have fallen into his deceptive plan and helped him reduce God's end time army."

Not only is having many children good for God, quiver-full parents argue that it is also good for the women who have them.

"Most people don't know that an increase in full-term pregnancies and births can actually help a woman medically," says John Willis. "Especially prevention in the areas of cervical and breast cancer. Terry [who works in obstetrics] showed me that little piece of information from some research work she was doing before our first pre-planned homebirth."

"Many studies show that women who have been breastfeeding or have more children have a lower risk or all the reproductive system cancers including breast cancer," says Dawn Prince. "Also if you eat right and take care of yourself, pregnancies are easier and you recover much faster."

They say their families benefit, too.

"Our children do learn to work together and help," says Louise Strelow. "I think moms who have just one or two children have it harder than I do, since they have to do all the entertaining and keeping after them. I get lots of help!"

"It's wonderful to see how a toddler can melt a teen's heart with a big kiss," says Paula Dunham. "It's also great to see a twelve year-old patiently helping a five year-old with their reading."

All the families agree that support is important. Many turn to the Internet to find each other. There are several email lists and web sites directed to quiver-full convicted families. Most of the sites condone not only quiver-full thinking but also home schooling and wifely submission.

Sarah Bennett* and her husband Mark have six children and are expecting their seventh next fall.

"Most of my support comes from email lists I am on where there are other quiver-full type families. I think it takes somebody who has the same convictions to truly understand them."

Dawn Prince and her husband have a strong support system through their church.

"They feel that if this is what we heard from God to do, then we should do it," she says. "But my husband's dad is not supportive at all and has not even acknowledged my [last] baby's birth."

"Our family faces the same challenges that families with one or two children face," Paula Dunham says. "We do not always have time to do everything we'd like, we don't always have a spotless house and there are times when the laundry isn't all caught up."

In fact, for Anne Peterson, laundry sometimes seems like the hardest thing about letting God decide her family's size.

"We do cloth diapers," she says. "So we really wash a lot. I bought laundry detergent yesterday and the bottle said 32 loads. I thought, hmmm, that should get us through the week!"

Other families struggle with much bigger problems.

Kay Lind* has six children. Her first three were born with severe disabilities.

"[Our first three children] have been diagnosed with mental retardation and autism," she says. "Our next three are completely normal. We were advised by everyone around us, family and friends and doctors, not to have more children. Because of our beliefs, we had the courage to go on."

During her fourth pregnancy, Kay says she prayed that this baby would be normal.

"I felt as though I had been through a trial similar to that of Job of the Bible. I intended and firmly believed in having all the children God wanted to bless us with but now I was facing this. Should I abandon my beliefs? Did I really truly believe them when faced with a situation like this?"

Kay says her mother has criticized her for the "immoral" decision to have more children.

"I was told how unfair it was to these younger three," she explains. "But they are learning one of the most important values you can teach a human being. They have learned to be selfless and love their fellow human beings."

Louise Strelow faced her great challenge when her seventh child was born with a heart murmur.

"Joy was born at home," says Louise. "We have a pediatrician friend who came and checked on her shortly after she was born and found a heart murmur."

At a little over a year old, Joy had open-heart surgery.

"During many of the days we thought we would have to say good-bye to her on earth," Louise remembers. "There was one particular night she was not doing well and I whispered to her, it's okay to go to Jesus, mommy will be okay. Amazingly within days the doctors decided to do her next surgery and she made a quick recovery. I think when we really released her to God, God extended her loan to us."

Louise was pregnant again during the time that Joy had her surgeries.

"When we brought Joy home, I was eight months pregnant," she says. "While taking Joy in for a post-op check-up, I began to hemorrhage in the doctor's office. While we were somewhat prepared to let Joy go we never imagined it would be our next precious baby that we would say good-bye to. Our precious little Hope was born perfect, but perfectly still. She was stillborn because of placenta abruption."

Louise says that her experience of almost hemorrhaging to death has deepened her compassion for other quiver-full families struggling with their conviction.

"Having almost died when we lost our stillborn baby, I think we have a different view of how important Mom's life is," she says. "If a pregnancy was critical to my life, would we take precautions? Probably. This I would say is a very personal decision each family has to come to themselves. [It's] between them and God. God may lead us in different ways."

"I think the scripture is clear that the Lord is the one who opens and closes the womb and we shouldn't interfere with that," says Anne Peterson. "I know that sometimes a mother can be faced with a serious illness and may require treatment that would leave her sterile but I would say that's for each family to bring before the throne to the One that has all the answers."

"Family size needs to be a choice made by each family," says Paula Dunham. "Not all families are meant to have ten children and not all families are meant to have two children. Here in America people have freedom of religion and the freedom to choose to allow God to give them as many blessings as he sees fit."

Whether or not Andrea Yates should have had more children is not a question most quiver-full families wanted to answer.

"It seems to me with the whole Yates case that the children are [indirectly] being blamed," says Katherine Evanston, mother of six. "They keep focusing on the fact that she shouldn't have had any more or should have sent them off to school [and that if] it weren't for the children she would not have snapped. I disagree! Maybe the children added stress but she is responsible because she did not treat her depression."

Kay Lind says she has not really followed the Yates case but that she has experience with depression.

"I was disappointed that life had not turned out the way I had pictured it. It seemed as if all I had hoped for was lost. I shut off all my emotions and decided to no longer feel anymore because I was tired of being sad. ... The turning point was when I had decided to turn back to the Lord. I asked Him to help me and help my family. ... I took to heart the verse from the Bible that says to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ."

"I don't know much about [Andrea Yates]," Anne Peterson says. "But I do know that she should have had some others involved in her life that would have seen that coming or been there to help. She couldn't have possibly been really walking with Jesus; why didn't someone in her church see that ahead of time?"

Bruce Hallman, the father of seven adopted children who works "full time for the Lord as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ," agrees.

"Andrea Yates is just another victim of the present-day apostate church," he says. "She had no strength in the Lord because she truly didn't know the Lord. A right relationship - truly worshipping Him in spirit and in truth - would have given her the overcoming power she needed to resist the Devil during her period of testing."

Dawn Friedman is an at-home mom to Noah, 4, and freelance writer in Columbus, OH. She feels that the most radical thing she has ever done was to embrace her role as a feminist mother at-home. When not reading to her son, volunteering for LLL, or writing frantically to meet a deadline, she maintains a weblog, this woman's work.


Guest's picture

:jawdrop: :jawdrop:

Guest's picture

The quiverfull movement misuses the Bible and misunderstands the liberty under the New Covenant of Jesus. This is the only covenant Christians have been placed under through Jesus Christ. Any Christian who is confused about their freedom in Christ regarding their right to use birth control, is invited to examine the online study - The Christian Birth Control Right.


Thank you.

Guest's picture

The author is talking NEW TESTAMENT freedom, but fails to give ONE N.T. example of scripture.It is true a woman has 1 day a month to get pregnant, but the body spends TWO WEEKS preparing the lining of the uterus for implantation of the fertilized egg. Just because God didn't make a woman able to concieve each time she had sex does not PROVE God approves of birth control. That is absurd. The fact that a child is made in the 24 hour window is more of a miracle than if you could get pregnant every time you had sex!God designs the body for rest, cleansing,restoration naturally.He knows what He is doing. The website also underminds God's ability to provide in the future more income, patience, & energy to child bearing aged ppl...basic message is TRUST in yourself.See if YOU can afford or have time or energy for a child. Sounds like Satan's message hasn't changed much.

Guest's picture

these people feel birth control is "anti-child" they truly make me ill

carrilloclan11's picture

I have 10 children 7 boys 3 girls and 1 in heave due to a miscarriage. I am expecting our 11th. loved your article. It is so hard to get support even in your family. I am a practicing catholic I know alot of catholic use birth control or get broken as i would say. Because what are you fixing if it is workin just fine. It is really hard in every way. But with prayer and Gods help and the Holy Spirts guidance we could do it. God doesn't give us anything we can not handle.
I would love to read more articles about this subject just so we do not feel we are not alone.
mom of 11

anon's picture

Expect the "Crude" comments you get, as most people are rightly viewing you with virtriol when we look at the world at large and see our oppulant society on the verge of collapse because a bunch of religious nuts, hedonists, and unthinking culturally brainwashed people are pooping out more children than we can support with the love and care we've been able to provide them thus far.

Yes, something is wrong with you, Even cavemen didn't just have children whenever, they had to be able to feed those mouths. the ones who kept their women knocked up too long to do any real work and couldnt provide the care they needed declined and died out.

Leigh Williams's picture

I don't know who this guy thinks he is, but it's contemptible that any minister of the Gospel would say, about a clearly mentally ill woman, "She had no strength in the Lord because she truly didn't know the Lord." Absolutely shameful to say something like that; I have no words of condemnation strong enough. I am sick to death of these fundamentalist morons and they way the bring the name of Christ into disrepute.

Guest's picture

I agree with Leigh on the Hallman comment. As the mother of 9 I think there is very good reason to believe Andrea did not have healthy support from friends surrounding her, as they raised their children together. The very fact that no one saw it coming tells me that no one really cared about her or her family. God never meant for us to go alone in this world, even as a family.

Sean's picture

I don't have too much of a problem with people having lots of children, if that is their choice, but the baggage that goes along with this stuff is terrifying. Phrases like "God's end time army" frankly make my hair stand on end. I am expecting the world to go on, rather than ending in some kind of apocalypse, and I hope for it to be at peace! Along with that is the disgusting emphasis on submission and servility. These are not the values of a free people.

Guest's picture

"Been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding, the cretins cloning and feeding..."

Watch "Idiocracy":

Zia's picture

Yep... Quote Harvey Danger and pretend it's some great revelation. Kudos.

Guest's picture

What a lot of the no children and only one child movement haven't considered, is that they will be freeloading off the backs of my children when they reach the age for social security.

Guest's picture

My husband and I have chosen NOT to have children. We also will NOT be taking social security, since we do not qualify and have investments and retirement accounts not to mention long-term care insurance that will be more then enough to take care of us. We will NOT be freeloading off of your kids....perhaps more people should provide for THEMSELVES rather than thinking that social security is going to take care of them. The more kids you have, the more likely you will HAVE to use social security, since you will have no money left for retirement. Oh, and spare me the "I won't have anybody to take care of me in my old age" crap. That is SELFISH, and NOT what kids are for. Also, we have nieces and nephews (WAY more to "replace" us, by the way) that we care for and are sending through college, so don't think we don't contribute to the next generation. Nice way to generalize, though.

Guest's picture

Well, it is your perogative to not have children but I will say after just having my son that he is quite the blessing. I was never against having children, however, I was never really into kids either. But having my son has really changed my perspective on being a mom. And it was no fairytale for me, I had a pretty traumatic c-section and a very difficult first few months with him. But the Lord is good, and has given me such a precious gift. All I'm saying is that having a child might really turn your world upside down, but in a good way, you'd be surprised.

Guest's picture

Ma'am, I think that you SHOULD take social security even if you do not need it. Give it to a worthy charity if you (most commendably) feel that you do not need it. There are so many worthy causes that go begging.

Guest frud's picture

"Quiverfull" is so quaint and old testament. An update is called for. A NEW testament. how about,"AK47 clipfull"? so much warmer than a quiver.

Guest's picture

God does not make "cookie cutter Christians", meaning each christian has to follow the individual path God has laid out for them....It is a personal relationship and we do not always follow closely, sometimes not at all. For some missionaries, they chose to leave behind their one or two children to let others raise them as they felt led by God into deepest darkest jungles to spread the Gospel.
In my case, with my husband suffering illness after illness in our 30 plus yrs of marriage, we felt no kids was best for our situation. I never wanted any anyway, so God had already made someone to be my husband's life partner.
Joni Eareckson, a vibrant Christian, lives her life in a wheel chair after being crippled in a diving accident as a young woman. God gave her a husband who loves her deeply but they have no children.
Jesus never married nor had children as He was about HIs father's business.
The problem is that sometimes we think that what God wants in our life is what He wants for every other christian, then we mistakenly try to put those ways of living on others as being the only way. Remember, there was only one Moses who led the Israelites out of Egypt, one Noah, one flood, only one David who slew Goliath, and one Mary who was visited by the Holy Spirit to become pregnant with Jesus.
I once helped a family much like the Duggars homeschool as they were on their way to having 12 kids. The wife said to me all she could ever think of as she was growing up was having babies. I told her all I could ever think of as I was growing up was having horses, which God has blessed me with 3.

Shefali's picture

God has called each of us differently and I agree with that.

God has not called all of us to be married - St. Paul himself says that for those that can stay single without sinning, that is better as they can serve the Lord 100% vs. having to devote energy to a family.

God has also called some women to careers - Lydia was a merchant of purple cloth in the New Testament who supported the ministry of the early church through the wealth she earned.

Some people God HAS called to have large families, and these people ARE a blessing. However, for people who KNOW they are not called to this - situations can be set up which are very stressful and which also damage the children. Andrea Yates is an example. People who are naturally introverted are probably not the best fit for a large family, or people who are called to very demanding ministries, etc.

I'm a Christian and I'm pro-life but I'm also pro-choice in the sense that I'm all for birth control - if God wants to get around birth control and bless you with a child despite your using a condom, for example - He will. He can make it happen. I personally only use the rhythym method, for a variety of reasons. I actually think this has fostered greater tenderness in our marriage. However, I would not say it's wrong for someone else to use other methods.

It's like other modern things that were not around 2000+ years ago - we have surgeries, penicillin, etc. Are we acting against God when we go to a doctor for heart surgery, or when we take our anti-diabetes medication? I do believe that faith healing occurs, that medical miracles occur - I firmly believe that where doctors can do nothing, God can still perform wonderful healing. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean God doesn't allow us to use our own intelligence and talents.

It's like sitting on your butt and praying for a miracle to pay your bills vs. working hard and asking God for blessings on your work - we are not called to be passive, but to be active partners of the Lord. That is why we actively pray for people, we share our faith with unbelievers, we visit the sick and give food to the poor.

For some people, being single is the better choice. For some families, it may be better to not have children, or to just have a few, or to adopt instead of having children. For some, having 12 or 20 children may be what God is calling them to do. Each of us is unique, and we should NOT judge our fellow believers!

Guest's picture

No God, does nt make us all identical. He des however have a plan for each and every one f our lives. The Bible clearly teaches that the Lord is the one who has the power to open and close the womb. As Christians, we are not called to have 1-12 children, but to trust God for the children He blesses us with. Would people complain if God chose to bless them with a bigger house, more money, or a longer life....no, but if someone suggests that God might chose to bless them with more children those same Christians would throw a fit. God's plan for our life might be zero children, it might be 1-2, or it might be 32. Who are we to tell the creator of the universe that we know better than He does? We are called to trust him and not ourselves.

Guest's picture

This is a sad sad thing. I am not going to tell anyone how to live their lives, however have any of the people being "called" to be baby factories by God given any thought to the hundreds of thousands of Gods Children in this country and around the world who are suffering, starving, being abused or left to become adults without a family in foster care.
It is simply heartless and irresponsible do create more children while ignoring the ones that already exist. Not to mention doing it in the name of God. The funny thing is that these same people who create more children while ignoring the suffering are the same people who believe abortion is wrong. You cant have it both ways. You can have dozens of children you want without judgment the day you allow the women of the world to abort the children they dont want. If you are going to force people to have kids they dont want you should have to be prepared to take care of them.

Guest's picture

So how many children have you adopted?

Anhata's picture


Freya's picture

I am not a Christian any more (not something I wish to debate, thank you very much), but I was drawn to the Quiver-full idea when I was and while so much has changed in my life, this one has not. (Unfortunately, my quiver is currently stopped at five due to the lack of a partner.) I strongly believe that to thwart conception is contrary to natural law and is, frankly, not too good for us. I would like to see more scientific evidence on sites such as this one.
Thank you and brightest blessings to you!

Guest's picture

The whole thing about not using birth control reminds me of a joke.

A man owned a house by a river. One Spring the river was flooding. The man knew about the flooding and knew that his house was in danger and he decided to stay anyway. As the water came closer and closer neighbors would come by in cars and offer to take him to safety but the man always smiled told them;
"God will save me."
After a few days the water had reached the first floor of his house and the man was forced to move to the second floor. A rescue worker from the city came by in a boat and shouted up to him,
"Get into the boat and I'll take you to safety."
The man only smiled and shouted back,
"God will save me."
A few days later the man was on his roof in a blanket trying to keep warm. The entire rest of the house was submerged. A helicopter flew over and hovered just above his house.
"We're lowering a rope," the co-pilot shouted down. "Grab on and we'll fly you to safety."
But the man only smiled and said;
"God will save me."
A few days later the man drowned. When he came to the pearly gates he was furious.
"What's wrong?" asked St. Peter. "Why are you so angry?"
"I had faith," the man yelled. "I told everyone God would save me. What happened?"
St. Peter smiled kindly at the man and asked him, "What did you think the neighbor's cars, the boats, and the helicopter were for?"

Think about it.

Holly100's picture

and am baffled. To the person who states that childless people will be supported my her children- these childless people are paying the taxes for your children's education (should they choose to partake in a public education), welfare checks (and many families of 12 accept these), and public parks, roads, libraries, etc.

If God has the ability to open and close the womb, he can certainly do so in spite of any type of birth control. The pill is not going to stop the will of God. Goodness, Jesus was born to a virgin- railing against even natural birth control methods is over-the-top.

I would say breastfeeding is the closest thing we have to birth control. If we are supposed to breastfeed for at least a year (as most doctors recommend) I would bet that it's best for everyone involved if women wait a full year before becoming pregnant with another child.

Guest's picture

Not sure where you researched, but most true Bible believing Christians do not accept any form of welfare. They are also usually gainfully employed and paying their own taxes for schools, roads, libraries, etc. What is ironic is that most people in the Quiver Full movement home educate their children, and yet still pay large amounts of tax dollars to support the public school system.

Why do you believe that Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary and yet don't believe the verses about God opening and closing the womb, children being a blessing from the Lord, etc? What process do you use to determine which parts of the Bible you believe and choose to follow?

Lynn's picture

This is a secular site, for starters. That doesn't mean TNH is anti-religion; it means we're not here to convince anyone to follow any particular religion. There are plenty of other places to debate religions of all kinds. This is not one of them.

The original article was written as a way of trying to understand the horrible tragedy of Andrea Yates, and the movement from which she came. I'm not saying Quiver-full created the situation, nor is the writer, but those of us not part of that movement wondered what it was about, and this article was an attempt to find out.

anon's picture

oh look, most TRUE christians,

listen dumbass, theres no "true christians" christian was specifically re purposed as a catch all so that denominations could fight against the betterment of society and ruin civilization TOGETHER (by, you guessed it, destroying birth control) the problem? all of you biggots couldn't handle the fact that the person preaching in-front of you was a different denomination than you, because as soon as they said they where baptist or catholic, or Quaker or evangelist or whatever the fuck the rest of the audience who didn't fit in would swiftly find their opinion of the guy talking about why birth control was wrong to plummet harshly. the idea of identifying yourself as a christian to outside churches began existing SO THAT you morons would stop no true scotsmanning each other long enough to fight as a team. It certainly doesn't ever take you idiots too long to break down on each other though, as demonstrated by your historically inept condemnation of anyone from a church slightly different than yours.

Guest's picture

I'm not signed on to anything but to love and serve the Lord, but after 4 children, I have come to think this: If God says children are a blessing, why don't we want to be poured out upon with that blessing? If we inserted money or houses we would say, BRING IT! You know why? Because we comsume blessings upon our lust and not for the kingdom of the Lord. Our culture has thwarted our perception of what is good when it comes to these blessings. Every good and perfect gift is from the Lord. Children are just that. I'm not saying that I'm Mrs perfect Suzy homemaker that homeschools my children. Leave out perfect and Suzy and that's me.
It comes down to this. When I am not living for myself in the moment, I am living for God and I reap amazing rewards from that. When I'm tired, I look to the Lord, from Him comes my help and he strengthens me. He is my sustainer and it's true...I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
God has chased me with blessings and rewarded me for obedience. I have never deserved a single blessing He has given me, but I gladly take each and every one. My children have been mine and my husband's greatest blessing. If the Lord gives us more, I will love it, if He doesn't, I will pour myself into our 4 children all the same. They are an incredible investment. Praise the Lord!

Anhata's picture

That's what I want to know.

I don't know the stats for anywhere else, but in my state, there are generally around 300 children at any given time in foster care that are available for adoption. We're talking babies, toddlers, preschoolers, elementary age, and teens. There are sibling groups, some of them up to five children who will probably have to be split up.

Where are the Quiverfull Christians and their "children are a blessing" for the kids that are already here? For kids that desperately need a forever family?

Why is a Quiverfull woman's womb so sacred but not the safety, security, and wellbeing of abused, neglected, brokenhearted orphans?

You want to talk about biblical passages? Look up how many passages exhort us to care for the widows and orphans. There are dozens. These childrens no longer have parents. Their parents' rights have been terminated by the state. They need strong, supporting, loving homes, forever families.

Our foster care system is severely strapped if not on the verge of completely broken. If people decided to adopt quiverfulls of kids, what an amazing gift that would be to their community and to their spiritual lives.

My husband and I have one bio child and are in the process of adopting two siblings from foster care. The two younger children came to live with us almost two years ago. I have experienced whole new dimensions in my capacity for love and acceptance, trust and the joys of expanding my family.

I did it in a socially responsible manner. I'm providing a safe, nurturing environment in which hurting kids can heal.

I'm convinced that there IS no higher calling as a parent to take children not your own blood and bone and make them part of your family and to raise them to be aware that they are part of the greater family of God, no matter who bore them and who raises them.

I invite any Quiverfull couple to look through the two binders in my DHS office, both of which are three inches thick, of the waiting children in my state. Or the binder in whatever state they reside. Look at the photos of sibling groups of three, four, five, even six and say, "No, my womb is sacred, any babies of MY husband's sperm and MY eggs are more deserving than these children who are alone in the world."

Guest's picture

Okay, here goes- I am in agreement with what most people in the quiverful movment believe. As for adoption, let me tell you all about it. I have 8 biological and 5 adopted children. My church has an adoption ministry to support anyone who wants to adopt, including funds. (we did not use this ministry because we adopted before we joined the church) Adoption is a long, difficult and EXPENSIVE process. It is way more expensive than giving birth in a hospital and raising those children for a good number of years. Our three siblings from the foster care system in Alabama cost $18,000, our son from Guatemala was $30,000 and our son adopted locally was $27,000, partly because we had to pay all of the medical costs for his mom, who had a c-section. None of this includes costs for travel, filing later paperwork for finalization, having to buy a bigger vehicle, etc. We are intensely grateful for the gifts these dear women have blessed us with.

When you use blanket statements about people in the quiverful movement, such as,"Why don't they adopt? Let's see them do that!" You do NOT know what you are talking about. You sound ridiculous. Don't you have anything better to do than to attack those who live according to their beliefs? GET OFF YOUR THRONE!

Lynn's picture

The woman you're replying to has recently adopted two older children from foster care in what's been an extremely emotional and exhausting process. That's why she's passionate on the subject.

Shefali's picture

God bless you. You are truly serving God and sharing His love with orphans.

Anon's picture

I'll tell you why some people choose not to adopt. I know two families trying to adopt children that need homes through the foster system. They have gone through 5 "adoptable" children before they were able to keep one. They also usually have the child in their home for over 2 years before they can adopt them. During that time, they have to take the children for 2-3 visits per week with their bio parents. Once, they were given an infant boy and had him till he was nearly 3 years old, assured they would get to adopt him. After becoming extremely attached to him and calling him their son for nearly 3 years, he was given back to his bio dad. It crushed that family. I couldn't stand to play those games, getting attached to one child after another only to have them taken away from me. As for international adoptions, it is a long process, requires expensive required "donations" and also requires 1-2 long trips overseas that not everybody is able to do. I have 4 children so far and would love to adopt and have looked extensively into it. It is not just "go down to the orphanage and come home with needy children." It is a long emotional process often to be severely disappointed in the end.

Anhata's picture

In my state, when you apply to adopt from foster care, you are assigned an adoption assistant, you are matched with children who's parents' parental rights have been terminated (TPR), and you adopt. Or, you can foster a child, and if the TPR happens while in your care you can apply for Current Caretaker Adoption. The first option is what everyone told us to do to avoid heartbreak. If your state does not have a streamlined adoption process like this, you should contact your state reps and find out more info. My state's successful adoption placement rate is over 90%.

Guest's picture

While I think that it is certainly a blessing to have many children and I commend the mothers and fathers who are able to parent their many children with grace and love, I'm still not sure where I stand on this issue personally. Reason being is that I have health issues and finances are also worrisome for me. We just welcomed our first child and I love being a mom so much that I have a desire to have a few more. But where does it stop? I don't think that I would be an effective mother if I continue to have children into my 40s, now don't get me wrong, I know some Godly mothers who birth in their 40s and seem to have the energy of a 20 yr. old, and I think that is such a blessing. I'm just taking my personal health into consideration. But, I go back and forth on this issue because I feel like I'm not trusting in the Lord when I decide that I should take matters into my own hands. Can anyone relate? I would really appreciate your insights, but not from a secular standpoint, I would like sound biblical advice. Thanks

Guest's picture

I am from a quiverfull family and community (11 kids). I would not exchange my siblings for the world. I love my family. I do not regret my parents' decision, because my siblings are gold to me. But I would not have more than maybe five kids. I want to give each child time. I want my children to feel they are seen by me. I'm sorry but quiverfull families generally can not and do not provide enough attention to their children. I know so many children (myself and siblings included) from quiverfull families who have struggled to make it in the real world. The media and quiverfull highlights the richest quiverfull families, and their spokespeople are often wealthy, but like most American families, most quiverfull families are not rich. They are middle or working class, especially because usually the mother does not work outside the home. Oftentimes the older girls are denied their childhood and self-development. None of the children get the individual emotional, financial or mental help they need as a unique individual. There is simply not enough TIME. Often the kids' talents and strengths are neglected or undernourished. There is often a lot of insecurity. The pros are that quiverfull kids are often very considerate and kind, but you need more than that to make it in this world. Oftentimes the parents need so much help they treat the children more as employees. In a way a quiverfull family is like immigrant families I have observed, however usually immigrant families understand that the world is competitive and though they may require much of their kids, they also encourage their kids to get an education and get street smart. Quiverfull kids are isolated from the real world and the parents are under the delusion that studying the Bible is enough. It's like they think their kids will step out into some world hat doesn't exist, but at any rate they do not prepare them for the real world, I'll tell you that. They expect all their daughters to just magically meet a wonderful man who can support them-- this leaves many of their daughters stranded. The girls are not encouraged to be financially capable or independent. When they need to be because usually their parents can't help them out monetarily. The sons often don't have help in getting a competitive edge, necessary in the world. Again, for rich quiverfull families it can be ok -- the families that go to the rich conservative colleges and whose wealth connects and entitles them to other prestigious quiverfull families. There is not enough money or resources for most quiverfull children to be competitive in 2010. In a weird way it is like Quiverfull peoples' designer handbags or status symbols -- but they are cute little children instead of expensive items. Yes my mom loved all of us. But all of us can count on one hand the number of conversations or alone time we received from our mom. Let alone an engaged conversation. This movement is weird because it hinges on the value of PEOPLE, the value of little children. And yet feeling you must have more and more PEOPLE (children) necessarily means you are not truly valuing the relationship preciousness of the (often already 2, 3, 4, 4, 6, 7, 8...) kids you ALREADY have. It is a weird conundrum, and quiverfull parents won't admit it. But their children often know it, though we may not speak about it. As with any ideology, it is the people who get lost in the grand ideas, the romanticism, this ideology. And yes we do get lost. Though they say so, it is not true that the Bible is against birth control. But the Bible DOES teach that children are PRECIOUS and better to drown than to "offend one of these little ones". There is just as much if not more Biblical support to limit family size, in honor of the precious children God has already given you (!) than to want to have endless children, and with each one that comes, less to give each kid. And, also, siblings are no replacement for parental time, love and energy. I am an adult. I have seen that I could not give everything my younger siblings needed.

Shefali's picture

This is a really good point and one reason I stopped after 2 kids. I am naturally somewhat introverted and I knew I could NOT give more children the attention they needed. I would rather have a smaller family but be close to each child and nurture those bonds. I do also home-school, and my husband actually works out of the home, which makes less money but provides more time for us as a family to spend together - we'll have all our meals together most days, for example.

Despite home-schooling I try to make sure the kids also have time with others from a wide variety of experiences. They are active in sports, for example, and youth groups and they have many friends in the neighborhood. It's not about isolating my children, but about making sure they get a great education and that they are protected from some of the worst influences.

Guest's picture

You simply follow a couple in their nearly dying age just want publicity based income by narrating and brainwashing. No religion wants a life at a risk of another. Baking babies is not the sole purpose of a woman. Grow up. These phsycotic oldies have done their merry making and now trying to mint money. Nothing sells more than bad news and religion. Unfortunately people believe wrong things pretty quickly. Follow a religion and not a snippet of it called something stupid as Quiverful

Guest's picture

;) :grin: I think every family has a parenting style. Today I have had personal conversation, interaction and shared time with my 6 biological children as well as 2 step children. We were all visiting together after supper laughing telling whatever happened today or favorite stories. Someone realized it was after 10 pm so we reluctantly have headed off for bed. Everyone has 24 hours in a day we choose how we spend it. There can be individual quality time with quantities of family members.

Guest's picture

I have 4 kids and many of my friends are QF-minded though I am not. I used to have a blog and when I wrote in it as having a bad day with postpartum depression I recieved a lot of really nasty feedback from people calling me the next Andrea Yates and saying that I was actually a threat to my children!! I was so horrified from that because when I heard about her it scared me terribly - it was one of those things that gave ppd such a bad rep even though she did NOT have postpartum depression, but postpartum PSYCHOSIS which is much more serious and YES there were signs. I'm a very thorough person so I always want to get information, so I did look up about her and from what I have read, Andrea had mental illness for a very long time - even before her children were born. She was also involved in a longstanding relationship with a very cultish family who was giving her legalistic literature about how sinful women are, supposedly. This fed her disease. She wasn't a communicative person and she hid a lot of her delusions. I don't see what any of this has to do with having a lot of kids. Certainly homeschooling can be isolating, but she chose that. Not having help can be isolating and stressful, but her husband offered her a nanny or housekeeper and she declined. So we have a fairly wealthy family with help available, a very closed-off, very ill individual, and a cultish setting. That's not us, so please stop the insults.

Guest's picture

I am also very tired of hearing about Andrea Yates, as if this isolated case proves something profound. There have been HUNDREDS of cases in this COUNTY alone, let alone the state, of parents murdering their children. Most often it involves either drugs or a murder-suicide or both. It is always always tragic when this happens, but if we want to talk numbers I bet you a million dollars that people with small families are statistically MORE likely to "snap" than people with big ones. And they don't "snap" and niether did she, there were reams and reams of paperwork about her mental illness. It takes a long long time for someone to get that sick.

Do I think large families need more support? Yes I do. I think all moms need more support. Stay at home mommies can isolate themselves and that's wrong. When I see people say stuff about how moms shouldn't have friends or go to an outside church, it makes me want to scream. Some fanatical religions really do abuse moms like that, but most don't.

You have to keep your heart open and make friends. Even with all the slander and gossip that has been spread about me, I keep my heart open and show love to other moms. It doesn't matter big family or small, God put us here to show some love to one another. When we get a chance we would love to adopt. It will be a hard process but a good way to spread some of that love and caring that we have around.

Lynn's picture

This article was written and posted not long after the Yates tragedy. That's why it was the hook.

Guest's picture

""The entire population of the world could live in Texas!" she says. "With contraceptives and fertility problems, the birthrate is continually dropping and the world's population will probably never be doubled. We may actually have a problem in the future with not enough population!" "

Anyone with only a grade-eight education knows better than to believe this. Do people really allow themselves to swallow these comments without doing their own research?

Ginger's picture

What bothers me about quiverfull is that SO many of the homeschooling families I know have many children but are on some sort of public assistance. This REALLY bothers me. If they cannot take care of them (that is, afford them) why do they have them. The State is helping to pay for them. The State is us taxpayers.

Nina Pienkowski's picture

Actually, whether you like it or not, having children is what caused Andrea Yates fate. She suffered from post-partum psychosis, not just simple depression which is bad enough. In fact, her psychiatrist advised her and her husband to not have any more children after her 4th because it could further irritate her mental health. Andrea Yates actually refused sex with her husband, but he conned her into it with his sick desire to have more children (buttering her up with compliments if she essentially put-out for him again). HE even consulted with her psychiatrist about taking her off her medication in order for her to concieve. This is the man that moved her across the country numerous times, had very much freedom outside the home, and admitted that he never changed a diaper once in his entire life. People who belong to the Quiverfull movement don't like to admit this because it makes them look bad, and rightfully so. They are prime example of the pitfalls involved with the very necessary First Amendment. These are simply people who use the Bible and misguided churches as fuel for their confirmation bias: big is always better, no matter the financial and mental costs. Don't be fueled by their passion, charm, and large (ever growing) numbers. Never underestimate the perseverence of the foolish who refuse to have their delusions destroyed.

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