The Bates family, Duggar BFFs, welcome their 19th child with a realiy show

People Magazine has a story today about a family that is now just as large as the Duggars, The Bates Family from East Tennessee. They just welcomed their 19th child, and they share several things in common with the Duggars other than 80s hair and having the same huge number of kids. The Bates live debt free, they home school, and they let God decide how many children they’re going to have. They actually sound nice, in the way that The Duggars sounded nice before they were all over the place. The Bates are getting a reality special on TLC, and it sounds like a pilot for a show. Go figure.

Having 19 kids – and willing to welcome more – isn’t just a Duggar thing any more.

Meet Gil and Kelly Bates of Lake City, Tenn., who had their 19th child – a boy, weighing in at 7 lbs., 8 oz., named Jeb Colton – on Feb. 1.

“You would think with your 19th child, you wouldn’t get excited and nervous,” Gil, 47, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive interview. “But I was as nervous with this baby as I was with our first.”

The Bates family has known Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar for decades and has even appeared with the Duggars on their TLC show 19 Kids and Counting, which returns for season 6 on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET). Now, the Bates family will have their own show, a one-hour special airing March 27 on TLC after the 19 Kids and Counting season finale.

In addition to new baby Jeb, all the Bates kids live at home: Zach, 23; Michaella, 22; Erin, 20; Lawson, 19; Nathan, 18; Alyssa, 17; Tori,16; Trace, 15; Carlin, 13; Josie, 12; Katie, 11; Jackson, 9; Warden, 8; Isaiah, 7; Addallee, 5; Ellie, 4; Callie, 2 and Judson, 1.

“It is very exciting, and we’re nervous, too,” admits Kelly, 45, of the prospect of having their family life televised for millions to see. “Our biggest desire is to be real. The Duggars have helped people. We talked it over with the children, and everyone likes the idea of helping others. It is not wonderful all the time. We have the same struggles everyone has.”

The Bates both say that when they married 25 years ago, they anticipated having a “normal family” with “two or three kids,” but that didn’t happen. Three months into their marriage, they were pregnant with Zach. “We decided to trust God for children,” Gil says. “And I would not trade His choices for mine any day.”…

Like Michelle Duggar, Kelly says that family and friends have often expressed concern that having so many children would be dangerous to her physical well-being. “I have not had health issues and have had pretty easy pregnancies,” Kelly says. “We try to live healthy and make wise decisions about our health. We had a piece about the choice we’re making.”

[From People]

This People article doesn’t mention that the baby is in the ICU. The Bates’ website says that he was 7lb 8oz at birth and that he’s in the ICU, but his issues sound minor and hopefully he’ll be ok. “Due to an excessive amount of amniotic fluid and a very quick descent through the birth canal, he ingested a lot of fluid which caused him to have difficulty transitioning and allotted for an unexpected trip to the ICU nursery. He is doing wonderful and should be heading to his new home soon!

Like the Duggars, the Bates family also supports Rick Santorum for President and has been campaigning for him.

Kaiser and I were talking about this, and we agree that this is a choice that people make, and that we should respect that choice even if it’s one that we find strange and wouldn’t make for ourselves. (We’re talking about the decision to have so many children, not the decision to put your kids on TV.) At least for these two semi-famous families, the Bates and The Duggars, it seems to be working out for them. Some mothers who have escaped these type of extreme childbirth situations say it’s very oppressive, that they have to care for large numbers of children while living in abject poverty, and that it’s particularly hard on the children in these families who have to care for their siblings from an early age. From outside appearances all the children in these two families are happy, but there are 38 kids here. One of them is bound to talk trash someday.

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91 Responses to “The Bates family, Duggar BFFs, welcome their 19th child with a realiy show”

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  1. Capella says:

    Wonder if we took them on a school trip to visit American orphanages, if they’d be willing more to adopt, than keep on having biological children.

    To me, if you are so ready to do “God’s work” and raise a big family, what is the difference if that family is half made of adopted children. Just save American Children, and give your vagina a rest. The Virgin Mary would want you too!

    • Scarlet Pimpernel says:

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • snh says:

      I would never tell a woman that it’s better to adopt than to have her own baby, if she’s able to. To me, that just doesn’t make any sense. But further, to adopt a baby is not an easy process at all – it’s very expensive, there’s usually not a guarantee that the baby you’re trying to adopt will actually come home with you, and the paperwork is incredibly lengthy and detailed. If you have unlimited resources to adopt and feel that desire, then great. But I think to come down on a family for choosing to have their own children is silly.

      • Capella says:

        I would!

        I would take her by the hand, and have her visit some of our American orphanages, and have her at least try for Foster Care.

        If all the other children are already helping out with raising this big family, they would certainly be easily helpful with a few children who are in need of foster care.

        To me, if I had the means to raise 19 CHILDREN, I would definitely look into helping American kids in need. But that is just my opinion.

      • Nikkers says:

        It is a personal choice, but money is not a factor — it does cost to adopt perfect newborns privately, but public adoptions cost nothing and do not have the same long waits. I think the idea that they should open their home to children who need a family is reasonable considering their declared faith

      • Capella says:

        Thank you @Nikkers.

        Celebrities had given local adoption a bad name, because of some old technicalities about biological parents. Not so anymore. Your child gets into the adoption system, you cannot get them back after them being adopted. The Rules have changed in order to make it easier to adopt.

    • ZenB!tch says:

      I’m a bad Catholic – feel no sense of Christian duty and I have very little Christian identity – so I will be the bad one and ask – what kind of kids are waiting to be adopted? How old are they, what are their histories? Are they special needs? Have they been abused?

      Some people can handle that, God and Ganesha bless them. I could not. I would want a newborn baby.

      • Capella says:

        All kinds of children, and newborn babies. You take your pick hon, whatever you can handle. Shop your little bad-Catholic heart out. They have amazing return policies. Sadly. Snort! They’re all children in need of a safe home zenbitch, just pick one! Or two.

        Just before having your 10th biological child, think of saving an American first. And in the process, save your inner plumbing some hard work too! ;)

      • Shannon says:

        Honestly, it’s similar to the foreign adoption situation. European-looking, healthy infants are the easiest to place, so there are fewer of them. Older children, children with siblings, children of color, and children with physical and developmental disabilities are harder to place and there are a lot of them languishing in foster care situations until they age out of the system.

        I’ve heard that a lot of these fundamentalist Christian patriarchy movements do not believe they are told by God to adopt. The biblical quote they follow is “be fruitful and multiply” so they take that to literally mean they should be producing their own biological children, as many as God gives them.

        This is different from other religious groups who have lots of kids though, e.g. Mormons do believe in having large families but many of them adopt. And I think they are allowed to use birth control, although I’m not 100% sure on that.

      • OriginalTiffany says:

        Well, my fruit tree got chopped down after two kids. One boy, one girl, done.
        I’m happy for them if this is what they want, but I can’t imagine being married for 25 years and being either pregnant or BFing the entire time. When do they even have time for baby making?
        4 straight years of that for me was enough.
        I’m all for adoption, think it is a wonderful thing to do, IF it is something you are capable of doing.

        Hey-at least all their names don’t start with the same letter!

    • DreamyK says:

      I broke up with TLC after the Jon & Kate debacle. I’m tired of these families with too many kids, little people, tats, cupcakes etc…There are some great things to watch on TV, but you won’t find it on TLC.

    • paola says:

      because otherwise they wouldn’t have an excuse for having sex.

      • Capella says:

        LOL! That is so true! Never thought about it that way, but it would certainly make sense.

        If a lot of people like Santorum think that sex is only for procreation, how many men beat themselves up every time they jerk off, for you know, committing mass murder!

        And no, I wasn’t being redundant when saying men beating themselves up and jerking off ;)

  2. Asli says:

    I’m disturbed by the Rick Santorum part but it’s their life so they can have as many kids as they want.

  3. Kaiser says:

    God, her bangs trauma is giving Michelle Duggar a run for her Jesus dollars.

    • MerryHappy says:

      Don’t forget their home perms. I’m wondering if its a mandated by church thing to have 90s ‘bangs trauma’ and home perms…

      • Hannah J. says:

        Oddly, the religious group they belong to ATI and IFBLP does suggest that woman wear their hair long and curled and wear dresses and skirts only as this is apparently biblical and according to them, pleasing to the Lord. All of the females from families in this organization have very similar hair. The leader of the group, a man named Bill Gothard even tells the women how to wear their make-up and what colors to use. It is an extremely controlling cult like group that believe in an “umbrella” of authority. God, then him, then the men in the family. Woman and children are under the authority of their Father’s and then husband’s. Women who become widowed are then under the authority of their adult sons. Kind of scary when you think about the fact that TLC candy coats this part of the Duggar’s and Bates beliefs.

      • ZenB!tch says:

        This is actually a reply to Hannah. I have naturally curly hair. It was long until 2 weeks ago (bad Christian I know).

        Curly bangs are always a bad thing. I think Jesus knows this. There is nothing in what you wrote that says they need to have bad bangs.

      • PL says:

        That’s kind of a bizarre thing to say, Hannah. Their religion is just a Protestant faith, like Baptist, Presbyterian, etc. It’s also quite widespread. You see it more in the South, but there are people in every part of the country that practice it. The hairdo is not mandated- only that they have to keep their hair long. The curly hairdo with the big bangs is a just a small-town Southern thing. I’ve been seeing it since the late 70s. It never goes out of style in some of the smaller towns.

  4. aenflex says:

    In a very basic and logical sense this is foolish. Remove emotion and insert pragmatism, and it becomes, IMO, a senseless waste as well as an insult to all the children of the US and world who are waiting to be adopted.
    Pesky free will!

  5. Keen says:

    Isn’t there a whole ‘quiverfull’ movement that they’re a part of?

  6. buell says:

    At what age do their girls transition from Amish jean dress to white shirt/black skirt wearin’? Puberty?

  7. dorothy says:

    Funny, most friends try to outdo each other with nicer homes, newer cars…these people just do it with kids.

  8. Jackie says:

    ya, everything will be alright until one of the kids comes out of the closet. then we will see how christian they really are…

    but likely, the kid would stay closeted and live a painful life out of fear.

  9. Franny says:

    “a very quick descent through the birth canal” made me LOL. well no kidding, at this point, the uterus is just like “get it out of here, need to make more room for next baby!”

  10. lindsey says:

    why do we keep encouraging this crazies!

    • Zigggy says:

      Yep. My thoughts exactly. Not to mention the fact that overpopulation will most likely be the downfall of this world- don’t get me started.

      • rundee says:

        My opinion exactly.
        They populate my planet too
        there are enough kids that need families. So what they do is simply brutish.
        No need to respect his.

      • PL says:

        I’ve never understood this idea that if you are responsible and take care of your kids, you’re a bad person for not taking on the kids that other people didn’t bother to take care of. How are they bad guys for responsibly taking care of their kids and staying out of debt so that they can afford them all? Aren’t the people who drop kids they aren’t prepared for the bad guys?

        America is seriously warped when people are vilified for minding their own damn business and raising their own kids.

  11. Kim says:

    They are disgusting. It should be illegal. Nobody tells me that they are able to give each child as much attention and love as it needs. The truth is that older children are raising younger children.

  12. Iggles says:

    I wonder why the older kids are still at home. (23, 22, 20!)

    Thought they’d be married off by now! Eh, to each their own..

  13. Missy says:

    As far as health problems, it is suspicious that the article didn’t mention the fact that Kelly Bates has had at least two recent miscarriages.
    I’ve seen the Bates on the Duggars show. They seem to be where the Duggars were before the latter got involved in TLC – smaller house, matching clothes. The Bates have always appeared more genuine to me and they let their encourage their daughters to go to college, something the Duggars apparently don’t do. Also Jimbob and Michelle Duggar are awkward and creepy to me. The Bates’ parents have never given me the same vibe. But, we’ll see.

    • Capella says:

      Well, they did milk the last miscarriage to a freaky degrading point (The Duggars).

      I thought it obnoxious after that display of fame whoring that the Duggars would still bring up religion.

      I didn’t know about the Bates’ miscarriages though. But to be fair, when you get pregnant so often, your body does try to tell you to chill… Even though that is not what the “Lord” intends for their family!

    • Shannon says:

      Actually the Duggars do have at least one daughter taking college classes. Of course Jim Bob and Michelle made her stay home and they use this company that lets their daughter sign up for classes after they haven’t filled in local community colleges after a certain amount of time for a discount. And obviously they’re not letting the daughter anywhere near a biology or geology class.

  14. Gaia132 says:

    I bet her hooha looks like a stargate. Disgusting…

  15. Peanut says:

    My only daughter was in the ICU because she had amniotic fluid in her lungs as well. It was a quick labour (less than 5 hours from induction til birth), and they told me the same thing. More time in the birth canal helps to squeeze the amniotic fluid out of their lungs!!

  16. lucy2 says:

    Those two families alone form a small town.

  17. sb067 says:

    Personally i do not think anyone has the right to tell them they should not have lots of kids or that they should adopt They are obviously able to provide a stable loving home.each of the duggars/bates children is either in education/working/running a business. That is alot more than can be said for alot of other people that ages! There are many many children born into much worse lives, these are the parents that should recieve some of the comments which have been written here i.e made illegal for them to have this many children. I see no problem with siblings helping to raise younger siblings in most other countries this is commonplace. What harm does it do!

  18. dahlia noir says:

    When I read the title I thought of “Norman Bates” the fictional character and the husband is indeed scary. Seriously, what’s the point of having that much kids if you don’t educate them YOURSELF, you know as a real parent. You don’t give birth just so the elders take care of the newest. That’s just unfair, it takes their childhood away.

    • Capella says:

      So well said! Absolutely agree. Isn’t parenting supposed to be all about selflessness?

      • OriginalTiffany says:

        Yes, it definitely is. That’s the only thing that really gets me. How can you raise your own kids of you are pregnant, nursing and have toddlers around? You can’t spread your time that thin. I’ve no doubt they love all their kids, but how do you make each one feel special?
        Can you even remember all the birthdays?
        Kudos to them for self-supporting, but I had two kids, two years apart and it was hard giving my 2year old her time while BFing a newborn.
        That means these kids are literally raising their brothers and sisters. I feel sad for them.
        A selfless Mom would want to do that for her own children. How many special moments do these moms of 15 or more kids miss? This seems to be in the baby factory mode.
        And DAMN, another day of below freezing temps. Can’t wait to move to CA next week and warm up my back! I am going stir crazy in this place. There is a limit on tea and gossip. Thank God for sling box and netflix.

  19. Jamie says:

    The Bates AND Duggars are amazing families that love their children and provide better than most American families!
    Obviously large families are not for everyone, but they are doing a great job!

  20. ZenB!tch says:

    When you say they are “debt free” does this also mean they are NOT receiving tax payer money to support 19 kids? That is what bugs me about huge families. The concept of having to support them on my dime. If they are self supporting… whatever floats your boat (as long as God is not defined as IVF – yes I am talking to you Octomom).

    If they are debt free and not on the dole they should have a show on money management not about 19 kids.

    • OriginalTiffany says:

      @zenbitch If they are debt free and not on the dole they should have a show on money management not about 19 kids.

      Yes! Now that I would watch. How do they do that? The insurance, the food, the clothes…HOW???
      They’d have a hit on their hands if they are truly living debt free with that many people in one household.

  21. Elizabeth says:

    The Bates family claims to be debt free, but they’re not. They owe a great deal of money to one of their older children, Lawson, who has been buying their groceries.

  22. jenna says:

    I read somewhere also that quite a few of the kids do not have health insurance.

    I don’t like the idea of forbidding people to have children, but it does seem like you ought to have some idea of when to take a bit of a break. Even if you feel fine, pregnancy is hard on your body, and I just cannot believe these women are not eventually going to suffer health consequences. Also, to have 19 pregnancies that close together–that’s not JUST avoiding birth control, I would bet they are pretty actively TRYING to get pregnant as often as possible (i.e., deliberately timing sex to coincide with ovulation). I grew up in a very religious community where large families and avoidance of artificial BC was common and even then I don’t think I know personally any family that has topped a dozen and a typical # of kids might be more like 6 or 8. I have a few friends now whose only form of BC is exclusively breastfeeding (which will typically give you at least a 6 month “safe” period after the baby is born) and even their kids are all spaced 18 months-2 years apart and if they keep going at the same rate they will still likely be well under 19 by their mid-40s. To have 19…that takes serious dedication to conceiving!

  23. wunderkind says:

    This is ‘child hoarding’.

  24. Amy says:

    I thought that the Duggars seemed nice until I saw previews for the season premier of their show.

    It is incredibly tacky to show Michelle finding out that her baby has died in utero and to show that baby’s funeral. I know that TLC is the main villain here, but the Duggars surely could’ve protested sharing this painful time in their lives. Clearly nothing is sacred in reality television.

    I feel so icky every time I see that commercial.

  25. samira677 says:

    What’s the point in giving them a show? The Bates are pretty much the same as the Duggars. With so much crime in the world it’s really bizarre that people think these parents are horrible for not adopting.

  26. Trashaddict says:

    OK, OK, it’s a free country and it’s their choice. But can this please be the last time we read about them on this site?

  27. NeoCleo says:

    Creepy. I’ll never understand people like this, but what the hell–it takes all types to make the world go ’round.

  28. moja31 says:

    Why is TLC so obsessed with these families? How many shows about large families can one network possibly have? You’d think this were some sort of CSI franchise from the way they build their programming around it.

  29. skuddles says:

    Just what the world needs – an entire army of prolific breeders…. hope the kids have more sense than their parents.

  30. Coco says:

    My initial thought when I saw the first pic was…”whoa, Michelle and Jim Bob have been hitting the bottle…they look ROUGH!” Then I realized it was their doppleganger baby maker pals, the Bates. I AM impressed with the family pic though. That outfit matching countryside shot would have taken me days to pull off with my three kids, forget it with umpteen follically challenged ones…

  31. NinaG says:

    …Because nothing says true love and good parenting than exploiting your children on television.

  32. Songthe says:

    This is just horrific, to make older children responsible for younger ones because you’re spread too thin.

    It’s a uterus, not a clown car.

  33. Jessica says:

    It’s f’ing selfish. Just think if every person on earth had this philosophy. We already have a massive overpopulation problem (and MANY many kids with no parents, love, place to live, enough food, etc, etc, etc.). Not to mention the insane carbon footprint these families have. These people disgust me.

  34. i live in hell says:

    Same scenario- cult like appearance, horrible hair, horrible clothing and yet the parents love to have sex!

  35. original kate says:

    if TLC is so interested in gigantic families couldn’t they find a family with some adopted special needs kids or something?

    no, only white christian breeders get shows, apparently.

  36. Phendraana says:

    Man, I bet the Duggars are PISSED. Not only have the Bates caught up with them, they even have a Josie too. You know Michelle is one of those frienemies who smiles politely across the picnic table, but imagines ripping a bitch’s uterus out on the bus ride home, her denim skirt stained with bitter tears.

    I often fantasize about being an OBGYN for people like this. I would “find” a reason why they needed a C-section, and my scalpel would just “slip” a little too near the fallopian tubes while I’m rummaging around in there. Oops! No more babehs for joo. I’d be a hero to the human race, I would.

  37. MAMAKOWALSKA says:

    Makes me think of the scene from Monty Pythons “The meaning of life” if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know which one.

  38. Peg says:

    Whoa!! There’s a big surprise. They like Santorum. Large families, to ensure the continuation of the species, are now a threat to the very same. If they are opposed to artificial birth control, they could at least use abstinence. People like this will be the very cause of government regulation of the population. (Like China) While I do not advocate for any such laws, I can just imagine if everyone bred with this kind of complete abandon. This is a disgusting display of disregard for one’s fellow man. I wouldn’t allow my dog to breed like this. What is wrong with this man?

  39. Suzy says:

    “The Bates live debt free, they home school, and they let God decide how many children they’re going to have.”
    This is pretty much the exact opposite from me. lol

  40. thetimetravelerswife says:

    Why do people think that this family should adopt? I think its the people who can’t or won’t take care of their own kids who should not have them. If a child is in an orphanage that is because of his/her parent’s irresponsibility; it has nothing to do with this family.