Kristina and Galip Ozturk have had 21 biological children in 19 months using surrogates.
They join Kristina’s 6-year-old and Galip’s nine older children. Sixteen nannies help the family.
Experts say that if the family dynamic is healthy, raising this many children could be OK.
Kristina and Galip Ozturk have a big family. In the past 19 months, the couple, who live in the country Georgia, have used surrogates to welcome 21 biological children into their family.
“I can tell you one thing – my days are never boring,” Kristina recently told The Sun.
The Ozturks’ youngest baby is 3 months, and their oldest is 19 months. In addition to the babies, the couple live with Kristina’s 6-year-old from a previous relationship and one of Galip’s nine older children.
Experts say that though the family’s size is extremely unusual, it’s not necessarily an unhealthy dynamic, especially if the Ozturks have the money and emotional resources to support their children.
“What is important is the environment: Is it safe, is it nurturing, are basic needs met, is there trust and communication?” Kendall Phillips, a licensed professional counselor, told Insider. “As long as those elements are in place and those who are in charge of the family are mentally and emotionally stable, then the size doesn’t matter.”
Forming a secure attachment
It’s critical for child development that babies form a secure attachment with an adult; this helps them interact with the world with trust rather than distrust. And this can happen even in a family as big as the Ozturks’, Phillips said.
“If infants, toddlers, and children are raised in a safe and trusting environment that is consistent and comfortable, there should not be problems with attachment,” she said.
To provide that environment, the Ozturks rely on 16 live-in nannies and a variety of personal chefs, cleaners, and assistants, Kristina said on Instagram, adding that the nannies were not assigned specific children but rotated.
Meghan Marcum, a psychologist, said this setup could still lead to meaningful bonds.
“It is possible for a caregiver like a nanny to provide a secure attachment, and this is often the case when both parents are working full-time jobs,” she said.
The challenges of so many siblings
The Ozturks’ babies are extremely close in age:
One 19-month-old: Mustafa
Three 18-month-olds: Mariam, Ayrin, and Alisa
Two 17-month-olds: Hasan and Judi
Three 16-month-olds: Harper, Teresa, and Huseyin
Two 15-month-olds: Anna and Isabella
Three 14-month-olds: Ismail, Mehmet, and Ahmet
Two 13-month-olds: Ali and Kristina
Two 12-month-olds: Sara and Lokman
One 11-month-old: Galip
One 9-month-old: Olivia
One 3-month-old: Judy
Marcum said that typically the advantage of having siblings close in age is that they provide one another with playmates; on the other hand, being close in age can lead to sibling rivalry.
Phillips said there’s no predicting how siblings will bond. She said she’d worked with twins who weren’t close and with siblings with a large age gap who were.
“Relationships in general, even siblings, come down to personalities and the general makeup of the family and its dynamics,” she said. “Age becomes less of a factor over time and life choices may become a factor over time.”
People are fascinated by extremes, Marcum said, and the publicity around the Ozturk family is an example of that.
Many people were critical of the “Octomom,” Natalie Suleman, who birthed octuplets in 2009, but that family appears to be thriving, Phillips said.
“It is not traditional to have many children,” she said, “but if those who choose to do so can do it with love, comfort, care, safety, and trust, then I can’t think of any drawbacks.”
Read the original article on Insider