Challenges Ahead for the Suleman Octuplets

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Okay, it is time for a step back from our outrage and fury.  Time to stop getting sick over all the sordid details.  There are so many contradictions and rumors floating around, it is difficult to assess the facts.  Here is what we know so far:

Who is Nadya Suleman?

Nadya Suleman is a divorced, 33 year-old mother of six young children who gave birth to octuplets on January 26, 2009 at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center in California. She was educated at Cal State Fullerton and received a bachelor’s degree in Child Development in 2006.  She is working towards a Masters in Counseling.  Her current student loan debt is about $50,000.

Her Children

Nadya is now the mother of fourteen children.  Here oldest are Elijah, 7, Amerah, 6, Joshua, 5m Aidan, 3, and her 2-year-old twins, Caleb and Calyissa.  The babies were born nine weeks premature.  There were six girls and two boys.  Their names are Noah, Miliah, Isaiah, Nariah, McCai, osiah, Jeremiah and Jonah.

Fertility Treatments

Nadya has had all of her children through In vitro Fertilization.  She is unable to conceive children on her own because of three ectopic pregnancies and fibroid tumors.  The West Coast IVF Clinic in Beverly Hills, once called the West Coast Infertility Medical Clinic, performed the procedure at a cost of around $10,000.  The eight children came out of the implantation of six embryos.  Two of the embryos split to become identical twins.  This is the same procedure Suleman used in each of her prior five pregnancies.

Divorce

Married in 1996, Separated in 2000, and finally divorced in 2008, Nadya’s ex-husband, Marcos Gutierrez, seems to be one of the few level-heading players in the affair.  When asked about Nadya, he said, “At the end of the day we are all human beings. I respect my ex-wife.” Nadya has said that she divorced Gutierrez after realizing she was not in love with him, but the idea of having children.

Family and Upbringing

Nadya is the only child of divorced parents, Angela and Edward Suleman.  She expresses a feeling of loneliness from her childhood.  She had children in hopes to banish these feelings.  Nadya’s mother taught high school.  Her father ran a restaurant and later became a realtor. Nadya expresses contentment with the love from her father but says her mother failed to express affection.

Finances

Three of Nadya’s children have disabilities.  Elijah has ADHA, Aidan is Autistic and Calyissa has speech difficulties.  Nadya supports her children through social security payments of $2,379 per month for their disabilities and through $490 per month in food stamps.  In addition, Nadya received disability payments for a work-related back injury totaling around $165,000.  Although not mentioned in earlier interviews, she now claims to have a nanny whom she pays $500 per week for 12-hour days. Nadya lives with her mother who also helps with the children.  They have a 1,500, three-bedroom home in Whittier California

Public Outcry

Several aspects of Nadya’s story are causing a storm of anger from around the globe.  In hard economic times, many people are angry with the families’ seeming attempt to cash in on the story.  Death threats to Nadya’s publicists Joann Killeen and Mike Furtney caused them to drop Suleman as a client.  Agent Wes Yoder now represents Suleman who is looking to secure a deal for her story in television, books or music deals.

Another complaint centers on Ms. Suleman’s obvious inability to care for 14 children, because of her financial difficulties and lack of a spouse. A Southern California psychiatrist, Dr. Carole Lieberman, filed a complaint against Suleman with child-protective services.  In her complaint, she stated, “The best thing would be for [the babies]to be adopted straight from the hospital, rather than being allowed to go home and be in real danger.”

Click here to view photographs of Nadya, her pregnancy and the octuplets.

Time Out

Now that we are clear on the facts, it might be time to take a deep breath and think for a minute.  Instead of outrage, we should be feeling concern.  How can we help these children?  Clearly, Ms. Suleman cannot take care of these babies on her own.  The Suleman grandparents appear to offer no effective wisdom or guidance to their daughter. 

While there have been death threats against Ms. Suleman’s publicist, there have also been offers of kindness and aid from good-hearted people.  It might be best to withhold your donations until we learn if Ms. Suleman will be allowed to keep the children.  It seems unlikely, given the obvious challenges she faces.

It is always sad when children are separated from their mother, and we should not underestimate the sheer willpower involved in carrying 8 babies for 31 weeks.  As these children were delivered into the world, Nadya prayed, “Please, God, protect these babies.  Protect their safety and make them thrive and be healthy.”

Icarus?

Ms. Suleman reached too far in her desperation for happiness.  Not content with the six children God blessed her with, Nadya tried again for one more and was left with this entirely unexpected and unanticipated outcome.  There was no way she could expect the six embryos would become eight or even that all six would take.  In her first five pregnancies, the same procedure was used with much less dramatic results. Still, Nadya failed to use common sense in trying for more children when she was unable to support the six she already had.

It is likely that child services will not let Ms. Suleman keep these beautiful children, each a miracle in his and her own right.  Take a moment and say a prayer of guidance for Ms. Suleman and her fourteen children. She and her entire family will need all the goodwill they can get in the coming months.

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