Are All Those Kids Yours?

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Jonquil Graham

"Marry if you must," warned Jonquil's mother. "But for God's sake don't have kids. You'll rue the day they become teenagers."

When the Grahams were 'given' a child on their honeymoon, they decided to foster, and then, in rapid succession, to adopt nine children of their own, including two sets of twins from Russia and Romania respectively. After all, they had the perfect setting - a rambling old house in Golden Bay, New Zealand, set on a kiwifruit orchard - and hearts that always had room for one more.

How do parents manage a large, multi-cultural family - including five from orphanages - and what happens when they become teenagers? The Grahams share their joys and stresses of being parents, revealing that the costs of raising children are not just financial. You need emotional and social resources too.

For those who have fostered, adopted or raised teenagers, you will find yourself laughing, sighing, perhaps weeping, and wonder how the parents stayed sane. Or did they? Was Jonquil's mother right?