Meet Isabelle, former bella covergirl from Great Falls, Montana. She is one of 18 kids in her family - imagine sharing the bathroom! bella asked Isabelle what it’s like.
What is so different about your family? How many children have been in your family home?
I am from a mixed family - the oldest in the family is 48 and the youngest is 6... there are a lot of us! My 3 oldest siblings are birth children. The other 15 of us were adopted as newborn babies. Our parents flew down and picked us up. It’s unusual, hey? But this is what family means to us.
Can you tell us your favourite memory of one of your siblings?
So many memories! It’s hard to pick just one. Some that I have with my family are the many road trips we have taken to California and Arizona together. Some of the most fun were when we would play games we made up outside in the dark. There was one game where we had an angel, a tagger, and the rest of us were the civilians.
What has it meant for you to show real love?
For me it means to accept others for who they are. Everyone will have disagreements with each other but in the end these things are not going to matter. Everyone is made different and we need to be kind to one another. We try our best to do the golden rule - treat others how you want to be treated.
How does a bigger family operate in the day-to-day (eg - who packs the lunches, what chores are done by whom)?
Now that we are older we all do our own lunches and clean our rooms and do our laundry. My mom still packs a lunch for the youngest. We all work together to keep the house neat and clean.
What is your favourite thing about living this way?
I love having a big family. I want to have five kids myself.
What's the most challenging?
When all of us were younger, it was harder to be by yourself.
When things can get challenging, what helps you get through the craziness to show love and how do you keep your love on?
When things get challenging in life I find strength in my faith. I trust that there is a wonderful plan for my life and that someone is looking out for me. I also turn to my friends and family. I know that this is just a small circumstance in my life.
What would you say to someone who feels discarded and not treasured the way they are meant to be?
I would tell them that nobody is perfect and we all are going to make mistakes in life. We all have different talents and skills. Sometimes these develop as get older in life. We all have a purpose in life - becoming aware of this helps us grow and flourish.