They have 12 kids: five biological, seven adopted, and four of them with special needs. There are school lunches to pack. And loads of laundry. And meals for 14. But somehow, Rob and Maureen Tumey are surprised that anyone would want to hear their story. Because, as Maureen shared, they’re “nothing special, just an ordinary family who has said ‘yes’ to God—again and again and again.”
Rob and Maureen had always considered adoption. But after having three kids and then getting the news of twins on the way, they felt their quiver of five may just end up being enough. Their house was too small, their vehicle at capacity, and their bank account not adoption sufficient.
But the call to adopt never went away. Rob and Maureen began to ask these two questions: “How do we serve in God’s kingdom with our family of five kids? How can we include the kids in ministry?”
That’s when God put his finger back on adoption.
In 2010, the Tumeys brought home twin girls and then in 2012 three little boys from Ethiopia. And just a few months ago, they brought home two little girls from China.
Every time they wondered how God would provide. But when they said “yes” to him, he said “yes” back to them. He’s provided a house, vehicle, and the ability to meet every adoption expense that has come their way.
It’s not been easy. They currently have kids in five different schools. They often have hard conversations with their biological kids. They don’t go out to eat much. They rarely have downtime. But here’s how they respond to the practicalities of God calling them to parent 12 kids:
“We have to keep God’s promises before us, or it can get discouraging. He is the true Father to the fatherless. God has a special promise and plan for each child. It’s not all roses. It’s tough. There is trauma along with deep scars of neglect and abuse with many of our kids. No, we may not see the benefits to this sacrifice here on earth, but we do this because Christ loved us. He can make and has made rivers in the desert.”
Rob and Maureen are an example to everyone they meet of what it looks like to grapple with the hard parts of life and say “yes” to God. They love as they have been loved. And they are changing lives through their sacrifice.
The Tumey family has taken God at his word, followed him, and seen him faithfully work miracles along the way.
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19 ESV).
By Tiffany Pollard