The first clue was the blue, 15-seat passenger van in the driveway. It was the biggest vehicle in the subdivision, and it also had a license-plate frame that read, "This isn’t a daycare – they’re all mine!"
All 13 of them.
The Bliss family are still settling into their new digs in Spanaway, and there’s a lot to settle. There are 15 people in the Bliss family, including 10 adopted kids from five countries.
I just spent about 90 minutes talking to Rodney, a small-business consultant, and his wife, Annie. I half-expected to see a dozen kids running around the house with near impunity, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that the kids behaved well. The younger ones, when getting a little too rambunctious, quieted down when told to. The older ones, upon returning from school, were courteous.
I also cringed at the idea of talking to pure idealists, but it was clear they’re not out to save the world. Rodney said they adopted more kids because they wanted them and because they felt God wanted them to. (The Blisses are devout Mormons.)
The kids were adopted from the United States, Colombia, China, India and Haiti. The issue of ethnicity came up a few times, and the Blisses seem to handle it well. "We’re not raising our kids to be colorblind," he said. They mix different aspects of the kids’ ethnicities at holidays (such as piñatas at birthdays), and they believe the Northwest provides good role models for kids because, he says, normal people of various ethnicities live normal lives and are successful.
Rodney also shared a couple of fun exchanges he’s had with people who, upon looking at his family and giving an odd look, decide they’d like to know more. They tend to go like this:
Stranger: Which ones are yours?
Rodney: All of them.
Stranger: Oh. (Pause.) Where are they from?
Stranger: Oh, I was asking what nationality they are.
There are more photos after the jump: