Huge Thanksgiving Celebration for Unique Family
By: CJ Cassidy
NEW MADRID, Mo. - For many Thanksgiving is a day for family and friends to come together, perhaps even look past the tough times and laugh about the good times.
One New Madrid family has plenty to be thankful for.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have nothing on James and Malinda Darter.
One look at their diverse and large family will show you that.
"We have eighteen total. Which includes one biological - 17 adopted children," James said.
That's right, the couple adopted 17 children along the way, and of course that makes for a busy holiday.
It takes a 22 pound turkey to feed that many people under one roof. That's besides all the stuffing, ham, green bean casserole and candied yams.
And did we mention pie? The Darters say they just want to make sure everyone gets a piece of their favorite on Thanksgiving Day.
Of course no family quite so large could get by without their shares of spills and messes, but Malinda says they've learned to cope.
"It's tough. Just the physical part of taking care of the kids. We have two daughters who are very fragile, and we've lost three. Just the emotional strain is hard... but we wouldn't change it for the world."
A few years ago, the state awarded Malinda "Mother of the Year."
Her certificate still hangs on the wall, but it's clear to see her kids give her all the approval she needs.
"James and I were lucky enough to find each other and have the same love for children," she said.
Ironically enough, the Darter's home address is 911.
The numbers reflect the same beacon of hope the couple represents to their family.
The Darters used to be foster parents before they began adopting children, but once the started adopting they say they couldn't stop!