Kristina and Galip Ozturk are redefining what it means to be a part of a big family. By way of surrogates, the couple from Batumi, Georgia has welcomed 21 biological children into their family over the past 19 months.
The couple’s babies range from 3 months to 9 months old, and are a hefty addition to the ten older children they already have.
“I can tell you one thing — my days are never boring,” Kristina, 24, told The Sun.
Although experts say that the family size is out of the ordinary, the environment isn’t necessarily harmful to the children, especially given that the family has the money and resources to take care of the children.
According to The Sun, the couple has 16 live-in nannies, as well as a team of personal chefs, cleaners, and assistants, who help raise the big family.
“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, explained to 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.”
Kristina also said that she helps raise the children, telling The Sun that she is very hands-on with their care.
“I’m with the kids all the time, doing all the things that mums normally do,” she said, adding that “the only difference is the amount of kids. Each day is different, from planning staff schedules to shopping for my family.”
“I wish every parent to be able to spend all their time with their children, because this is the most important thing in life,” she continued.
Kristina explained to The Sun that the nannies are constantly rotating, caring for different babies each day, depending on their schedules.
“No, there are no bindings. During the day – of course, a specific one is responsible for a specific child. But during the week the nannies change,” she said.
Meghan Marcum, a psychologist, told Insider that even this constantly-changing setup can still create meaningful bonds between the babies and the nannies, which is crucial for their development.
“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 babies are all very close in age to one another, which Marcum said could be both beneficial and detrimental. On one hand, the close proximity in age can allow the children to develop close relationships with one another; on the other hand, the closeness can create an environment ripe for sibling rivalry.
In contrast, Phillips says there is no way to know how the siblings will interact with one another.
“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.”