I am quite an optimistic person and I am not prone to drama, but even I think that the idea of parenting is being seriously neglected by my generation. The number of divorces is record high and a lot of my peers choose a life free of marriage or parental responsibilities.
At the same time, raising a happy family is one of the most fascinating accomplishments one can achieve. Having a place to call home and people that love you unconditionally is a true blessing. We wish to share a story of four different families with unique destinies but one thing in common, they find family to be a source of inspiration and strength.
These are not superheroes or celebrities… These are ordinary families with extraordinary stories which can inspire you and melt your heart.
The Moskalets family
This young family is often described as passionate, lovable and high-spirited. Serge & Natalie met at a young age of 15 when they happened to be sitting next to one another at a music concert. Little did they know that 5 years later these high-school sweethearts would be saying “I do!” As a newly married couple and their love for music, these two song birds dove into singing just about everywhere, including being the front vocalists/entertainers for one of the most well-known party bands in Sacramento, known as B Sharps! They are blessed with three beautiful children – Abigail (age 4), Claire (age 3), and their three month old son Caleb.
Motherhood or a career
Although being a stay-at-home mom is probably the most rewarding job of all, I believe that a career is possible with three kids. I honor women who can balance both career and children, and I believe that a mother can have an especially unique impact on her career.
Problems you didn’t expect, but encountered after having children
We continually heard from other parents that sleep was rare with children. We didn’t fully believe it until we had children of our own. We haven’t slept since!
Where do you find strength?
Marriage is a team. In a team you are actively looking out for one another and ready to take over if needed. In our marriage we feel one another and run in to provide when the other spouse is running low. It’s a beautiful dance.
How to find a good father?
I believe that a good dad is not born. A good dad is one who can recognize the responsibility given to him by God and one who can steward his family well.
Your best weekend
The best day off is when we have no plans and take a spontaneous trip to wherever we feel that day. Don’t forget ice cream and cake pops!
An ideal family is one that can recognize that the ideal family does not exist, yet simply loves one another no matter what.
The Mironyuk family
The Mironyuk family is not just your average large family. During their 11 years of marriage, this young couple adopted 9 children and gave birth to 2. This modest and friendly people believes that a world without orphans is something that all of us should strive for. According to them, they felt a God’s calling to adopt children from orphanages after their first son was born. They consider adoption as their vocation and refute the myths that this procedure is too difficult and expensive. The age of the children in the Mironyuk’s family range from 8 to 19 years old and 10 out of 11 kids are home schooled.
Your biggest fear
After we got our firstborn son, we decided to adopt another child, but we had too many questions and unfounded fears. We continued with the process and literally a few weeks after we brought our new child home, we realized that all our fears were in vain because a child can’t be a stranger.
The best gift you ever got
We have two, the first one was when our church remodeled our 2 bedrooms / 1bath house into a 6 bedrooms / 4 baths. And the second gift was when we were able to buy a 14-seater bus that could fit all of us, and we now do not need to take two cars to go somewhere together.
3 major adoption myths
1. It’s impossible to adopt in the US
2. Orphans have poor genetics and they may cause lots of problems in the future
3. Adopted child can destroy your family and it is impossible to love them as your own children
Your cherished dream
We believe and hope that other families will also be inspired by our example, and in the modern world will be fewer orphanages and all the kids will be able to find their families in which they will be surrounded by love, care and affection.
3 tips on how to save money in a large family
1. Cook at home
2. Buy clothes on sale, usually after the end of the season
3. Use coupons
The Mischenko family
The Mischenko family started 28 years ago, when Dmitry and Svetlana met at the Moscow Financial and Economic Institute where they were both studying. They have three sons, Maxim (26), Michael (20) and Matvey (9). Matvey, their youngest son, was born with Down syndrome. Welcoming him into the family became a milestone that divided their life into a “before” and “after.” It took God’s wisdom and much support from each other to rearrange their lives. Dmitriy and Svetlana founded a ministry called “Side by Side” to help other families with children with special needs. For already five years Svetlana and her husband help families like theirs overcome difficulties and accept God’s unpredictable plan.
Three Don’ts for your family
Do not compare yourself to others
Do not remember the insults
Do not say “I won’t succeed” (faith is the key to success)
Never go back, only move forward and only together
Your Recipe for a happy family
A sea of love, a spoonful of understanding, a cup of patience, a few cans of kindness, generously season with care and understanding and maintain harmony in any situation.
How did Matvey’s birth change your life?
Dramatically. We changed our interests, habits, and surroundings. Most importantly, our relationship with God and our outlook on life have changed. We always tell people that they don’t have to feel sorry for us, because we are blessed with a very special and sunny child.
We try to go on a family vacation together every year. We usually spend it somewhere warm by the ocean. It gives us lots of impressions, memories and joy and leaves us re-energized for the rest of the year!
Book, movie or song that inspires you the most
Based on our family experience we can firmly say that this is the book of Psalms from the Bible. It rescued us in the most difficult times of our life.
The Vaughn family
It all started 18 years ago with an internship in Sacramento, California, where a boy from Oklahoma and a girl from Pennsylvania first met. They joined together in ministry and have been married for 16 years now. They have been blessed with 4 children aged 13, 11, 9 and 5, along with one fur baby. When they started their family in 2004, they had the perfect plan. They were so excited to see their dreams unfold! In 2008, God took them on a different path by blessing the Vaughn’s family with a son with special needs. This was definitely a twist in the roller coaster of life that made it a little more exciting and unpredictable! But if you have a ticket to ride with the lucky few…it’s definitely a fun one with lots of turns, loops and twists!
Favorite family leisure
We love to ride our bikes together! If it’s at nighttime you will most likely think you are watching the Disney’s electric parade because we deck our bikes out with LED lights for fun.
The most crucial moment of your life
When I first laid eyes on Logan, I knew something was off. The Doctors didn’t think anything was wrong, so we went home. I started to lean on Doctor Google and so I searched for some of the answers for what I felt was “off”. After 3 months, I got the call that confirmed my suspicions- “Your son has Down Syndrome”.
The secret of being a good parent
To have fun. Fun is a child’s language… so to teach, love and meet them you need to reach them in their language… which is fun. Whether it’s cooking, doing chores, going on a vacation, bike ride or even a bath- make it fun and I promise you will be the best parent to your child.
What are you doing when your children drive you crazy?
You’ll find us in the closet together eating- Jody eating chips and me savoring a York peppermint patty until they stop 😉
What have your children taught you?
So much! But I vividly remember taking my kids to the therapies when they were younger and seeing them interact with other kids with special needs…the didn’t see the wheelchairs, or weren’t scared of the sounds a kid might be making… they taught us to see past the disability and love people for what they are made to be!