Karen and Deon Derrico open up about life with 14 children: ‘We have been blessed and challenged’

The couple are dishing on raising their brood amid the coronavirus pandemic

Doubling Down

Doubling Down with the Derricos is TLC’s latest reality show to focus on a family with multiple multiples and this one takes the cake. 

ICYMI, the series premiere introduced us to Karen Derrico and Deon Derrico, and their huge family consisting of two singles (Darian, 14 and Derrick, 9), 8-year-old twins (Dallas and Denver), 6-year-old quintuplets (Deniko, Dariz, Deonee, Daiten and Daician), 2-year-old twins (Diez and Dior). 

When we meet the family, they’re announcing Karen’s pregnancy with their now infant triplets (Dawsyn, De’Aren and Dyver). While the whole crew is super excited about the new babies, the family is concerned about how they will handle Karen being put on bedrest for the remainder of her pregnancy.

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Aside from the mind blowing fact that Karen and Deon conceived four sets of multiples naturally, their family dynamic is even more astounding. These are two people who seem to have nothing but gratitude for their unusual reality and for each other, making this series one to watch for the sheer joy of it. 

Of course, managing a household with 14 children in it is challenging to put it mildly, but you would never know it given the close-knit bond and mutual respect this married couple clearly keeps on the top of their very long list of priorities.

theGrio caught up with Deon and Karen to find out how they’re handling homeschooling their kids amid the coronavirus pandemic and how they keep it all together with their hands so full. 

While so many parents are struggling to navigate a summer spent in lockdown and a fall full of distance learning, imagine what that could look like in a household with 14 little ones to teach and entertain.

“One of the great things about us coping with this pandemic is that we don’t take them to the grocery store anyway,” Karen explains. “They don’t always go out unless they’re going to an extracurricular activity. We don’t load 14 children up to run errands. I have early childhood education experience under my belt so that makes things easier. I try to make it fun and do scavenger hunts and make learning fun for them. We can’t go outside but we’re making the best of it in this house.”

The kids are constantly smiling, playing with their siblings, and learning valuable life lessons from their parents. In one particularly endearing scene, we see Karen schooling her girls on the politics of hair and explaining that no one’s hands should be in their beautiful crowns, despite their curiosity.

“Growing up, everybody loved to touch the texture of our hair and people don’t understand it takes a long time to get it done,” she continues. “It takes me forever to do my girls’ hair. It takes about four hours to do all of them so after all that, nobody can touch their hair. Don’t even smell it!”

While Karen was certainly blessed with more children than she could have imagined, she’s also honest about the heartbreak she endured on her road to motherhood.

“I’ve had four miscarriages,” she admits. “I made a promise to God that I would do everything I could to provide the best for my children if he decided to bless me with them and that’s what I am committed to doing.” 

The couple also opened up about the loss of their son, Carter, who died shortly after his birth. Now, they refer to their 2-year-old twins as “triplins” to honor Carter’s memory. 

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Fortunately, the Derricos’ have some help from their family members and that makes a world of difference, especially since Karen was bedridden during a lot of her pregnancy with the triplets.

“We have been blessed and challenged to handle things that most households could not do,” explains Deon. “My mother just moved back here from Detroit about four months ago, right before the pandemic. We also have my nephew, Eric, and he’s at our house every day and helps with grocery runs, and helps out with our family-run real estate business. Even with their help, we’re still outnumbered all of the time.” 

Doubling Down with the Derricos airs Tuesday at 10/9c on TLC.

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