People look at them like they are very different from the rest, but for the Johnston family, the only thing that sets them apart from the rest is that they are not blessed with the ideal height.
With their five children, Amber and Trent Johnston comprise the largest family who have achondroplasia, a genetic disorder characterized by the abnormal growth of cartilage resulting in dwarfism.
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The family of seven from Barnesville, Georgia, stand less than four feet and call themselves the real-life seven dwarfs. Despite their size, the couple aims to raise their kids in a world that seems too big for them. And instead of letting their house adapt to their height, they make sure their abode is just the same as everyone else’s and encourage their kids to adapt to it instead. Although they can place things at a lower altitude, they tell them to look for ways so they can reach some stuff.
The couple met at a little people’s convention and got married after almost four years of dating. Amber got pregnant five months later.
Trent was born in a family with dwarfism, but he was still expecting that their kids would have normal height as his wife, Amber, was born in a full-size family. But when their first child, Jonah, was 31 weeks into pregnancy, the couple discovered that their first child, Jonah, had achondroplasia dwarfism, which the couple was happy about since they wanted kids who are just “like them.”
Because of the trauma brought by the birth of their second child, Elizabeth, who was only 48 inches tall, Trent and Amber decided to expand their family through adoption.
Knowing that children with dwarfism suffer from maltreatment and are often put up for adoption in other countries, the Johnston couple decided to adopt children from three different countries. They found Emma in China, Alex in South Korea, and the last one they adopted is Ana from Siberia.
Often called the Brad and Angelina of Little People, Trent and Amber don’t rely on government support to raise their kids even though technically, they are considered people with disability.
According to Trent, they live within their means and, and as parents, they do everything to make ends meet, to which Amber added, “I do believe there are little people that are truly disabled. But our family is not.
While Trent works as a grounds supervisor at a school, Amber is a stay-at-home mother. Trent also takes time to make pedal extensions for cars to help people with dwarfism drive more comfortably.
Life is not easy for the family because they still get caught in situations where people stare at them strangely, but according to Amber, they have learned to ignore them. But it can get hard for their kids who are often bullied in school. Third-grader Elizabeth has the perfect response to them though: “That’s how God made me, that’s how he loves me.”