Kristie Gottlieb and her husband, Mike, moved to this area in 2003 to be a part of Generations of Hope, an intergenerational community of adoptive families in Rantoul. A former schoolteacher, Kristie and Mike (an adoption specialist with a local agency) had one child, Josh, now 18.
In September 2003, they met a sibling group of children ages 8, 7, and 4 at the time. A month later, Rhiana, CJ, and Kim moved in. Three years later, due to a need for an emergency placement, Zach, Gabby, and Ben joined the family–a sibling group ages 9, 7, and 5 at the time.
In October of 2009 the family moved to Arcola where they are enjoying the country life and looking forward to gardening, collecting eggs, and milking goats.
See why we think Kristie Gottlieb is a Chambana mom to know.
Q: Big families are unusual these days. What is it like to have seven children?
A: Having seven children keeps me on my toes. It is very challenging, but also very rewarding. In our family, there is always someone to play with and always laundry waiting to be washed! We buy groceries in bulk and cook enough for a small army at each meal. I have found that organization is key. If I don’t plan meals and create chore charts, things fall into chaos very quickly. Most of the time, my goal is organized chaos.
Q: You adopted six children. Why adoption?
A: With our professional experiences, my husband and I were very aware that there are many kids who need permanent homes. We felt we could handle another child or two
(ha!), so we decided to add to our family through adoption.
Q: What is Reactive Attachment Disorder and how does it impact your family?
A: Reactive Attachment Disorder is a disorder that inhibits a child’s ability to bond. For most children, the bond with parents takes place naturally during infancy. For example, when a baby cries, the mother figures out why the baby is crying, and she meets the need–by feeding, changing a diaper, or simply picking the baby up for cuddle or play time. The baby learns that mommy is there when needed to provide comfort and love. Therefore, the baby develops the ability to trust. Being able to trust is paramount to bonding.
For some babies, however, when they cry, no one meets the need. Babies may be left in their crib–hungry, wet, and alone–for hours or even days. Many babies are abused by the very people who are supposed to comfort them. These babies learn NOT to trust. For them, the world is a very scary place. They learn to close their mind to hunger and discomfort. Instead of developing an ability to trust, they develop a survival instinct which enables them to manipulate others in order to get what they need to live.
Because our children came from situations in which they were neglected and/or abused, several of them developed RAD. Although they are healing, we still deal with a variety of behavioral challenges.
There are other ways that RAD can develop. For example, a baby who is born prematurely and needs extensive, painful medical intervention in order to survive may develop RAD. For that baby, although needs are being met, they are being met in painful ways. Being picked up by an adult usually means pain–due to blood draws, IVs, etc… Their parents love them but are often unable to provide relief from their pain. The end result is that the infant doesn’t learn to trust.
Q: You have quite the menagerie of pets, and recently adopted a pot-bellied pig. How does he fit in with the family?
A: Hamlet fits in very well! I don’t think he really knows he’s a pig. He is at home hanging out with humans, the dog, and especially the goats. He loves to dive into the hay in the goat barn and snuggle in for a nap! He also loves to eat anything–except his pig food!
Q: How do you make time for yourself?
A: I have a wonderful husband who allows me to sleep late (when possible) and tolerates my love of Star Trek. On very stressful days, I lock myself in the bathroom for a wonderful bubble bath complete with candles.
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