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Local Mother Recounts Losing Eleven Children

A Mother finds a unique way to cope with the loss of eleven children.
"We lost the baby and it had just threw me into such shock that I couldn’t quit shaking. It was awful, I thought they thought they were going to lose me," said Betty Smith. She describes her feelings after losing a baby. Only this wasn’t the first, or second. This was Smith’s eleventh baby that died shortly after birth.

"To be around a baby it was hard," she said.

Smith and her husband already had one child before the eleven tragedies.

"I did not feel good about raising a child alone without brothers and sisters," said Smith.

Her persistence only led to more heartache.

"After we had lost so many of our babies that were born to us, the doctor said I want you two young people to think about adopting," she said.

Betty and her husband had such a love for children they agreed to adopt. But the smith's didn’t look for perfect and healthy babies.

"The children had a lot of really expensive things that needed to be done for them," she said.

The couple began to take in one child after another, each with their own special needs.

"The state didn’t help like they do now days. So that was partly why we were a family that didn’t have too much...but a lot of children," said Smith.

The Smith’s couldn’t replace their eleven angels. Over the years, the couple adopted a total of eleven handicap and special needs children, a dozen altogether. Illnesses ranged from cystic fibrosis, cleft pallets, a child born to a heroin addict, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and so much more.

"Raising our family was different than it would be in most families. The kids did a lot of help and taking care of each other," said Smith.

Many of Smiths’ children have earned Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees and also live an independent lifestyle.

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