Sixteen years ago the world was introduced to the McCaughey septuplets, and for a time, the country came together to pray for their health and well-being, and offer support to parents Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey. Now the septuplets are thriving and looking forward to driving lessons and their futures.
"We can finally start driving!" daughter Natalie told the Des Moines Register.
"When you have a job, you can have a car," dad Kenny admonished the teens.
Kenny, Kelsey, Natalie, Brandon, Alexis, Nathan, and Joel were all born 16 years ago in their hometown of Carlisle, Iowa. Their story quickly became national news, as they were the first set of septuplets to survive past infancy. Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey used fertility drugs to conceive but rejected any idea of selection reduction upon learning that they would be having seven children instead of one or two.
"I will always remember the day we found out there were so many," Bobbi said. "It wasn't like 'yahoo!' There were so many doubts. To a lot of people this might sound trite, but God determined the outcome. We've built a good foundation that wouldn't have happened had that situation not occurred. So the message is let God use you. It doesn't have to be something that makes national news."
The family had the support of their church, and after each of the children was born, Kenny would gather in the waiting room with family and sing "Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow." The nation also joined in the support; Gerber donated food and juice until the septuplets turned 16 and they also received a seven-bedroom home and van capable of holding the new family.
Now, though, the McCaughey family is just like any other, with publicity long behind them and the kids enjoying their anonymity.
"The biggest challenge is making sure they keep up with certain things but not keep up with certain things, trendy things. Three of them have cellphones and a couple have iPads. But even I'm on a pay-as-you-go phone plan," Kenny explained. But "with God, all things are possible," he added.