In 1997, Bobbi McCaughey and her husband, Kenny, got some beyond-surprising news: They were soon going to be adding seven children to their family! Although this news was unexpected, they were thrilled at the prospect of such a challenge. And now that the children have turned 18, the parents wouldn’t change anything about their family.
After Bobbi and Kenny had their first child, Mikayla, they found that they were having trouble conceiving again. So, like many other couples, the McCaugheys turned to medical professionals for help and began using fertility drugs. But unlike many other couples, they found out that the drugs had worked a little too well!
Although the McCaugheys were excited at the prospect of such a large family, it also came with risks. Doctors explained that there hadn’t been a set of septuplets that had all survived infancy. They suggested selective termination of some of the fetuses in order to ensure that the remaining babies were born as healthy as possible.
Bobbi and Kenny, however, decided against this. They believed that it was God’s plan for them to have seven children, so they decided to try to keep all seven of their babies, if possible.
The children were born nine weeks early and had to spend months in the hospital. The largest baby was just two pounds, five ounces. The news of their birth made national headlines. President Bill Clinton called to congratulate the family, and donations poured in to help with the cost of raising eight children.
The family actually got a free house, a free van, a two-year supply of diapers, free college tuition to any school in Iowa, and other generous assistance. Once the attention faded, however, the family was forced to be quite frugal to ensure they could make ends meet.
Fortunately, the McCaugheys had a strong support system of friends and family members willing to step in and help out. Whenever they needed something, someone was willing to lend a hand. It was difficult, but the family wouldn’t have had it any other way.
The biggest challenge for the parents was finding ways to feed their growing children. Bobbi bought many things in bulk to stock up and looked for sales wherever she could find them. It required some creativity, but she made it work.
Now the septuplets are 18 and ready to start lives of their own. Kenny, Kelsey, Natalie, Brandon, Alexis, Nathan, and Joel all have their own individual interests and personalities. It’s been a fascinating journey for these parents to watch their children grow into young adults.
The McCaughey children, for their part, love having so many siblings. They say there’s always someone around to hang out and do something, so they’re never alone. Although some people might relish being a part of small families, the eight McCaughey siblings love having a large family network.
Looking back, Bobbi and Kenny are thrilled that they chose to go ahead with the pregnancy and have all of their children. They couldn’t imagine their lives without each and every one of their special children. Although it’s certainly had its challenges, the rewards of raising these children have been completely worth it. What a wonderful family!