Single mom takes in sister's 8 kids after tragedy

Andrews Family

LANHAM, Md. - Any parent will tell you it's hard enough to raise one child. But imagine taking on the responsibility of caring for nine children.

In the family chaos of a Sunday afternoon, CBS News correspondent Wyatt Andrews reports, chores are assigned to all nine Taylor family children. In the kitchen, there's hot pizza coming out from the oven. As loads of laundry are done in one room, there's a dance contest under way downstairs. It's the mayhem produced by a loving, close-knit family that's still together thanks to Chanda Taylor.

"The first thing I thought of is -- what am I going to do with all these kids?" Chanda said.

Keeping a family together, after tragedy strikes

Just five short months ago, Taylor's sister Tara drowned in a swimming accident off Ocean City, Md. Chanda and Tara were best friends as adults, but when they were children, their parents had separated - and grew up in different homes.

To submit an idea for The American Spirit send us an email.

"We were always here, there, everywhere separated, separated," Chanda said.

So Chanda, a single mom with one child decided to take all eight of Tara's children - from 17-year-old Tyren down to 3-year-old Gina. Chanda told foster care officials the children would not be split up, period.

"That's it. No more separation. No more separation," Chanda said.

Five months later, Chanda, is raising 9 children and still works as a mail room clerk in a law firm. Food stamps and church donations help with the impossible grocery bills - but it's a struggle she's never second guessed. But Chanda said it doesn't matter. "I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I didn't have them."

One of the family's ministers says without Chanda, Tara's eight children would have gone to their differentfathers or into different foster homes. "That would have cost so much pain if they had been split up," said Fuller Ming, of Bowie Church of Christ. "It would have been terrible."

The children, meanwhile, who still mourn the loss of their mother are grateful that Aunt Chanda stepped up.

Diamond Taylor, Chanda's niece, said, "If it wasn't for her, none of us would be together right now."

Chanda said that missing her sister is hard. Managing nine children is hard. But the choice she made - to embrace all this chaos - that wasn't hard at all.

Want to help? Send Chanda an email: chandataylor20 (@ symbol)

  • Wyatt Andrews
    Wyatt Andrews

    Wyatt Andrews is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Washington D.C. He is responsible for tracking trends in politics, health care, energy, the environment and foreign affairs.