Big-hearted mom adopts 6 kids with FASD, goes viral for rigorous 5 a.m. routine: ‘You have to be a special person to do this’

·3 min read

A mom of 10 is going viral her stunning 5 a.m. routine — and for her beautiful family’s inspiring story.

Mom and TikToker Alicia Dougherty (@doughertydozen) gained over 18 million views and 42,000 comments when she posted a time-lapse video of her everyday morning routine.

But it wasn’t just Alicia’s rigorous morning that captivated TikTokers. The size of her family also drew lots of curious comments — and some ignorant criticism

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In the now-viral video, we see Alicia prepping her kids for the day, starting with medication, then moving right along to 10 customized packed lunches, followed by 10 well-rounded breakfasts.

Many TikTokers took to the comments to criticize Alicia’s large family, unaware of the Doughertys’ inspiring story.

“If you decide to have this many kids, you don’t deserve to complain,” one user wrote.

“Why have so many kids?” one user asked.

“Tell me you’re Catholic without telling me you’re Catholic,” another user wrote.

“Birth control man,” commented another user.

Even big companies jumped in to pass judgment on Alicia’s video. “Hey… hey… how y’all doin’?” wrote Trojan condoms.

But what these TikTokers didn’t know was that the “Dougherty Dozen” came together through fostering and adoption — and that six of their ten children were born with FASD, or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

As the Dougherty family explained to People magazine, they adopted six children with FASD: Alex, 14, James, 13, Patrick, 12, Bree, 9 and twins Jordan and Jason, 5.

Those six children are joined by the couple’s four biological children: Zoey, 8, Dashel, 6, Bodhi, 3 and Harlee, 2.

Together, they are a loving family of 12, helping to spread the message that “you belong.” 

According to the Mayo Clinic, FASD, or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, are a group of conditions in a child that result from alcohol exposure during the mother’s pregnancy. FASD causes brain damage and growth problems — and while these problems vary from child to child, defects caused by FASD are not reversible. 

Of the more than 400,000 children currently in the U.S. foster care system, 75% of those children have a family history of mental illness and drug and/or alcohol abuse. Each year, an estimated 7,000 babies are born with prenatal alcohol exposure. 

According to ProofAlliance.org, “Because of the behaviors and lack of social adaptive skills, children who have been exposed to alcohol prenatally can be challenging to parent. Without understanding of the disability, parents can become overwhelmed and frustrated…

“Lack of understanding, frustration and ineffectiveness as a foster parent can lead to multiple placements, which increases the childhood trauma for children as they go from one foster placement to the next.”

But thanks to families like the Doughertys, children with FASD are finding the loving and structured homes they need and deserve.

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‘Disappointed in these comments. Do better people…’

Not everyone had something negative or judgmental to say about Alicia’s video. Many positive and loving comments came pouring in, too.

“Wow, this comment section is horrific. You’re amazing,” one user wrote.

“Ma’am I have two kids and don’t have it together like this. I salute you mama,” lauded another user.

“Disappointed in these comments. Do better people. You’re a great mom! Cool to see it time-lapsed,” another user commented.

“You have to be a special person to do this, it’s not easy and it takes a ton of empathy and patience. Good job mom. Sending love to you and your fam!” wrote one user.

Hopefully, Alicia’s TikTok channel will inspire more people to consider fostering and adoption — and to do a little research before leaving an ugly comment.

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