Chances are, one doesn't see a family like ours every day.
I mean, look at us. Right away, you can tell we aren't like most families.
For starters, there are two parents .... and 15 children, children of all ages, colors, nationalities, and abilities (and disabilities).
I'm the oldest. My name is Jedidiah; I'm 15.
Underneath me in terms of age are my sisters Juliana (14); Jordana (12); and Juliette (11); brothers Jericho (10), Juano (9), and Jordan (8); sisters Jonquil, Julip, and JoyElise (7); brothers Payton and Paul (6 and 5); and Theopholis (Theo; 4); sister Kim Jung Michaela (3), and the baby of the family, 1-year-old Ezekiah (Kiah) Blaze. Most of the kids are African-American, but Kim Jung comes from Korea, Juano comes from Mexico, Juliana is from Poland, and Kiah is Native Alaskan and African American.
We are a crazy, mixed up family, as you can see.
Kiah was left brain damaged as the result of being shaken by his father when he was just two weeks old; he spent six months in the hospital, fighting for his life. He just got out in the last two months and was placed in our care when the agency heard about our family and how Mama and Daddy take care of kids who have great needs. So that was how Kiah came to live with us; we now have a new baby in the family.
Juliana, Jordana, and JoyElise all have Down syndrome; they are mentally disabled. They all go to a special school for kids with mental disabilities and all love school so much. They are quite smart, even with their mental delays.
Juliette has cerebral palsy and can walk with a walker, but other than that and a minor speech problem, she can get through life with relatively little problem. She may only be 11, but she's great with the little kids; she's almost like a second mother to them.
Jericho, Juano, Jordan, and Paul all have varying degrees of spina bifida: Jericho and Jordan are only mildly affected while Juano requires the use of a respirator to breathe and Paul uses crutches and braces exclusively when he walks, plus he has to be "cathed" by either Mama or Daddy every few hours or by another grownup while at school.
Payton is severely autistic and has to have constant supervision: he is nonverbal and is prone to violent temper outbursts. He can be a real handful at times.
Kim Jung has severe allergies and like Juano, Paul, and Kiah, she is often in and out of the hospital.
Julip is visually impaired but can get around thanks to her cane or when out her seeing eye dog; she has a yellow lab named Trixie who acts as her eyes. They work very well together, but when "off duty", they are the best of friends. They are nearly always together.
As for Theo, he is healthy, but does have some learning disabillities (ADD).
And then there's me. The oldest, the "second man of the house", under Daddy; Daddy is the first and lead "man of the house". I'm responsibile for all my brothers and sisters and would do anything possible to make sure they have happy, carefree lives (though that is hard to do since some of them are sick so often or are in and out of the hospital). I also take care of the tube feedings for Kiah and Juano.
Sometimes I do get annoyed when I have to help out with the young'uns, but if I didn't, I would let my family down; most of all, I would be letting my parents down, and I'm sorry, but I'm not that way. I am their big brother; they look up to me to help them and I am ready and willing to do so at a moment's notice. Mama and Daddy raised me to be a caring person and that is just my overall nature.
I figure if Mama or Daddy can't help them do to other things, then who else would be left?? That would be me. So I gladly help my parents out, just to make things a little bit easier on them.
When Kim Jung, Kiah, Juano, JoyElise, or Paul end up in the hospital (for whatever reason it may be), I don't see Mama or Daddy. They are at the hospital with their sick ones (as they should be) while I run things at home. This works great during summer vacation; when school is in session, then Grandma (Daddy's Mama, who lives in Alabama) comes here to Texas (we live in Abilene), and stays with us for a week. That way, we can continue to live out our busy (if slightly deranged, crazy) lives in peace without all the extra worry.
Grandma is great at helping out in a pinch. She's retired, she's in great health for a woman of 69, and she loves spoiling her grandkids at any opportunity she gets.
Well, I have to chase Payton again; he just tried to stuff the cat down the laundry chute again. Sigh! With him around, as well as the others, life is never dull for a moment! Oh, well; I wouldn't trade it for all the world; I love my family way too much! Take care; may God bless you as much as He's blessed our family! He has certainly blessed us in a BIG way, bigger than most, it seems! And I am very grateful! :)
~Jdedidiah Lancelot Owens. :)