Adopted at age nine from an orphanage, Mary Ann Kuharski knows first-hand that adoption is a blessing to parents and children alike. After she and her husband had their first two children, they began to consider adopting children with special needs.
Subsequently, they adopted six children domestically and abroad, and continued having children of their own. The total number of children in their home eventually grew to thirteen – and Mary Ann says that at one point, she had seven teenagers! After that, she says, “No one can tell me a problem I haven’t tackled.”
Mary Ann and her husband traveled far and wide to embrace their adopted children over the years: “We have one child from the Philippines, two from Vietnam. We have one from Calcutta, India, one Mexican-American who is partly American Indian, and one black American.”
Mary Ann faced parenting her large family with a positive perspective, with “humor and prayer,” she says, and she adds that “My philosophy is you can’t get through this life –if you are going to try to do it without humor and prayer, good luck.” Mary Ann kept things simple in her household, focusing on her ultimate goal, which she says is to help her children reach heaven. Above all else, she and her husband ensured that their family always attended church together.
She advocates that parents “lighten up” on the less important aspects of life, like expensive material possessions. Mary Ann recalls that her large family ‘s needs were met just fine with their one vehicle (a large van) and buying everything second-hand. Mary Ann’s husband earned the family’s sole income, and by thrifty living this was enough to support everyone’s needs.
As if raising thirteen kids were not enough of an extraordinary accomplishment, Mary Ann has been running Pro-Life Across America, an organization that spreads life-affirming values via a campaign of billboards. Last year alone, the organization ran seven thousand billboards. “We’re not here to condemn or judge,” she said. “We’re here to help that one person who sees an ad, or looks on the internet, and calls and says, ‘Do you have help for me?’
Kudos to Salt Lake’s CBS affiliate, KUTV, for running an interview with Mary Ann.