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By Jerome Stuart Nichols
For some people, the idea of having to raise a child is scarier than the moment you realize you’re out of red wine when you’re only one film into a movie musical marathon. For others, the idea is slightly more appealing. But for Clint McCormack and Bryan Reamer, of Farmington Hills, raising a child was so appealing that they decided they’d adopt and raise 10.
Crazy or heart-warming, unfathomable or a dream; judge for yourself when their television special, “10 Kids 2 Dads,” premieres at 10 p.m. Aug. 18 on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network).
Clint and Bryan’s journey to becoming the beaming and proud fathers of 10 boys began with a chance meeting at a mutual friend’s party in August 1992. From there, things between the two progressed quickly. In October, the two began living together.
Although they both agree on the circumstances of their initial meeting, their stories conflict on the decision to adopt.
“I think it was the first night we met, I told him I wanted to have a family,” Clint said. “That was very important to me. He agreed and here we are.”
“I don’t know that I agreed right that minute,” Bryan added. “But it was a topic of discussion as we went along.”
According to Bryan, it wasn’t until 1996 that they finally made the decision to start building a family.
In 1998, they adopted their first child, Keegan (13 years old), at birth. Not satisfied to have an only child, a year later, they decided to look at adopting another child. That eventually led to their adoption of twins Kenny and Mark (19). From there, they adopted Caleb (13), Graeme (18), Seth (16), Garrett (17), Hayden (5), Liam (7) and Cooper (3).
“We never decided that 10 was going to be the number; it just happened,” Bryan said.
“We thought they needed us, we needed them. So, we adopted them,” Clint added, frankly.
“Whenever we adopt a child there are three questions we have always asked ourselves: Can we do it financially? Can we do it physically? Can we do it emotionally? If we can honestly answer yes to all those questions, then there’s no reason why we wouldn’t adopt the child.”
Having already adopted 10 children, it’s worth wondering if they’re looking to add a few more smiling faces to their home.
“That’s yet to be seen, let’s put it that way,” Clint said.
With 12 people living in one house, many would understand their hesitance.
“It’s a bit of a blur,” they said, laughing.
As fast and furious as their household may be, Clint and Bryan seem to have figured out how to make it work. The two play to each other’s strengths to keep their home running smoothly.
“If one of the kids are sick and they throw up, (Bryan) runs for the hills,” Clint said.
Bryan may not have an iron stomach but he holds his own when it comes to helping the kids with their homework.
“I’ll do everything but math homework with the boys; Bryan handles the math because I can’t handle math,” Clint said, laughing.
“Yeah, you’re not so good at science, or English either,” Bryan added.
Although well settled now, things weren’t always so easy. As many new parents would agree, the first year was the most trying.
“That first year, it was…” Clint said, pausing to laugh. “We were in the fog because we were so tired. Because I was afraid to not watch him (Keegan) sleep. I was afraid to let him be on his own sleeping at night.”
They’ve figured out the logistics of having such a large family, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few issues that test their willpower, like grocery shopping.
“They’re constantly eating. They’re growing boys,” Clint said. “I hate grocery shopping, I’ll tell you that much. (laughs) But you got to do it, you know?”
“You learn how to eat economically; you don’t have a choice,” Bryan added.
Then there are the plentiful sibling disputes.
“It’s no different than any other set of brothers,” Bryan said. “They argue with each other, they fight with each other. It’s just that instead of having three brothers fighting with each other, we’ve got 10 of them fighting with each other. So, you tend to have more disagreements per week…”
Somewhere between the perpetually rising tides of work, homework, groceries, sporting events and fights, the guys, shockingly, still find ways to keep their relationship alive.
“We talk a lot on the phone. That’s our way of dating, I guess,” Clint said. “Just like any other couple who has children, you squeeze it in.”
Just like Clint and Bryan’s initial introduction, it was a chance Facebook connection through a friend of a friend that got their story noticed by the production company, World of Wonder. From there, OWN picked up their unique story and “10 Kids 2 Dads” was born.
Primarily shot in April 2012 in their former Canton home, the special chronicles the McCormack-Reamer family’s daily life, which includes the madness you’d expect from a 12-person, two-dog household. Such madness includes: ill-advised home repairs, a bouncy house, budding beverage empires, teenage angst, some questionable driving skills and a few pranks.
Through all the craziness, though, what might be most notable is just how normal their remarkably unusual family seems. For Clint and Bryan, that’s the message they’re hoping that people take away from their story.
“Let people see that it’s just like everyone else’s family,” Clint said. “It’s not about politics or anything like that. It’s about parenting and it’s about being a family. That’s our goal.”
10 Kids 2 Dads
8 p.m. Aug. 18
Oprah Winfrey Network