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http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051218/NATION/512180332/1005/LIFESTYLE

Family welcomes baby No. 17

Immigrants live a simple, if sometimes noisy, life at home in Rancho Cordova, Calif.

SACRAMENTO, Calif.-- As a young newlywed in Ukraine, Vladimir Chernenko feared he and his wife, Zynaida, would not be able to have children after six months of fruitless attempts.

Now he knows those fears were unfounded, to say the least.

Zynaida Chernenko has given birth to David -- the Rancho Cordova, Calif., couple's ninth son and 17th child.

"I never thought I would have such a big family," said the father at the Bethany Slavic Missionary Church. "But I sincerely believe in God, and I believe my children are a gift from the Lord," he said through a translator.

The Chernenkos have not ruled out having more children, as they believe the size of their family is ultimately God's will. They are undaunted by the prospect of another child.

"When a person casts his fears up to the Lord, then he helps with everything," Vladimir said.

In the Sacramento region, the average family has 3.19 members, according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. The census stops counting once households reach seven or more, and those represent about 2 percent of the population in the four surrounding counties.

Families as large as the Chernenkos are a rarity, especially as women wait until later in life to get married and have children.

The Chernenkos' church, which as the nation's largest Slavic Pentecostal congregation draws 5,000 worshippers each Sunday, holds them up as an example for their familial devotion and unwavering faith in God.

"This is a wonderful occasion," said head pastor Adam Bondaruk, after blessing the family and presenting Zynaida with a large flower arrangement. "From God, you have more gifts than anybody."

The Chernenkos are among the nation's largest families with biological children, but it is unknown who has the most in the country. The Duggar family of Arkansas, with 16 children, has received much media attention in recent months, the result of a Discovery Channel documentary and a slick Web site.

Unlike the Duggars, the Chernenko couple, who don't speak English, are unlikely to become media darlings.

They live a simple, if sometimes noisy life at their home in Rancho Cordova. Each child has a bed in the seven-room house, and the family tools around in a 15-passenger bus. They eat dinner together every night and attend church faithfully.

Vladimir Chernenko works as a security guard and maintenance man at a charter school. Zynaida cares for the children and keeps the household humming along, with significant help from the older children, who pitch in on cooking, cleaning and child-care duties.

"I'm very grateful for my grown-up children, who can substitute and help us out," Zynaida said.

The family, who immigrated to the United States seven years ago to escape religious persecution, receives public assistance.

"We are grateful for this wonderful country, for medical care, for education, for everything that America has given to us," Zynaida said. "As a family, we try to contribute to this country, too."

"It's good," said 18-year-old Dmitry of life with so many siblings. "I like it. Some of my friends say they're bored because their families only have one or two children. We are never, never bored. We always have something to do."

Sister Lyudmila, 16, said she rarely craves time alone. "I usually like to be around everybody," she said. "I think my life is more interesting and busier. It's always fun, and there's always someone to talk to."

The children

Born in Ukraine: Sergey, 22; Liliya, 20; Andrey, 19; Dmitry, 18; Anatoliy, 17; Lyudmila, 16; Anna, 14; Vitaliy, 13; Oksana, 11; Svetlana, 10; and Inna, 9.

Born in the United States: Vyacheslav, 8; Pavel, 6; Diana, 5; Alina, 3; Timofei, 2; and 1-week-old David.

No longer at home: Liliya has married and moved out of the house.

"I never thought I would have such a big family," says Vladimir Chernenko, with baby No. 17, David, who is 1 week old.

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holy moly.....i thought i was busy......lol
 

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Originally posted by UPSyours2

Unlike the Duggars, the Chernenko couple, who don't speak English, are unlikely to become media darlings.


The family, who immigrated to the United States seven years ago to escape religious persecution, receives public assistance.

"We are grateful for this wonderful country, for medical care, for education, for everything that America has given to us," Zynaida said. "As a family, we try to contribute to this country, too."
Wow, that is a big family.  I wonder how many the will have before they are done :confused: ?   I would not have any issue with the number of children that they are having except for the statement that they receive public assistance which I take to mean that they are having all these children and are not able to provide for them.  I really don't think it should be the public's responsibility to provide for families that continue to have children that they can not support.  I do not think that it is wrong to receive public assistance when you need it but when are receiving it on that many children and proudly proclaiming that you may have more I think that is very wrong. 

The part about them not becoming media darlings like the Duggars is true, we like the Duggars because they are self supporting.  They have a large family but they do not ask for any help, they support themselves.

I am sorry to get on my  :soapbox:  I just hate to see people taking advantage of the benefits that our tax dollars support.
 
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