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Mother Of 22


The saying goes that “every mother is a working mother,” but few probably have the kind of long days one Seattle mom does. Julie Hehn has 22 children, many of them adopted from Ethiopia. As someone who once dreamed of running an orphanage, this busy mom says children are the best gift of all. Kim Riemland has her story.

(Locator: Edmonds, Wash.)

After a full day teaching elementary school, United Methodist Julie Hehn is putting on a birthday party.

It’s for Teddy, who’s five. He’s Julie’s youngest – of 22!

Julie Hehn/Mother of 22: “I always say that I’m a mother to many. Not t-o-o, but t-o.”

Not all still live at home. But 11 do, including many teenagers. How many?

Julie Hehn/Mother of 22: “Let me see. One, two, three, four, five, six. I think six. But don’t quote me on that!”

The three oldest are Julie’s biological children. Years ago, she and her husband decided to adopt one more.

Julie Hehn/Mother of 22: “I felt strongly that if God presented a child to me, that meant I needed to adopt the child. I just didn’t know I would be presented with so many children!”

Altogether, she has adopted 19 children.

Mia Hehn: “My name is Mia and I’m 11 years old.”

Fourteen of them from Ethiopia.

Abraham Hehn: “I am 10 and I am Abraham.”

Julie Hehn/Mother of 22:  “People say ‘Oh, it’s such a great thing you are doing.’ And I say, ‘Oh no, it’s a great thing I get to do. It is so wonderful.’”

Julie once dreamed of running an orphanage. Now, with the help of her church – Edmonds United Methodist – she takes children out of orphanages…

Nat/Reading card: “…and Mommy, Daddy, and Mia.”

and brings them into a family.
Julie Hehn/Mother of 22: “I would want people to really cherish children.  I mean, I think they’re the most wonderful gift in the world.”

Nat/Singing: “Happy birthday to you …”

Julie Hehn/Mother of 22: “And I am really lucky that I get to do what I love to do.”


Julie believes her husband, Rich, is the real hero.  Julie’s first husband died from heart problems, leaving her widowed with 11 children. Rich married her with all of those children – and they’ve since adopted 11 more. And, they’re preparing to adopt another little girl from Ethiopia.

For more information about adoption, log onto A Hope for Children or Adoption Advocates International.

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