The Duggars have officially welcomed their 20th child into the family. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar were recently granted permanent guardianship of an 8-year-old boy and have already posted family photos with their new addition. Michelle’s niece Rachel Hutchins was reportedly homeless and struggling to take care of her son Tyler when Michelle offered to act as guardian for the child. Subsequently, Michelle and Jim Bob requested permanent guardianship, which the courts granted. With 20 kids, six grandkids, four in-laws and counting, it is safe to say that the Duggar family is growing at a rapid rate.
Duggar Facebook group Duggar Family News: Life is not all pickles and hairspray provided copies of the court proceedings which show that Jim Bob and Michelle were granted permanent custody of Tyler. The court found that the appointment of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar as guardians was in the best interest of the incapacitated person, Tyler Hutchins. The full court report can be read below.
Shortly after the court decision was made on November 14, 2016, it was signed by the judge on November 21, 2016. Therefore, the Duggar family welcomed their new family member just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.
According to the Duggar Family Official Facebook page, the Duggars spent Thanksgiving in Branson and were sure to take Tyler along for the festivities. Though they didn’t directly mention the permanent guardianship court proceedings, they did post a photo of Tyler to their public page. The image showed Tyler standing next to Michael holding a pocket knife engraved with his name.
Some Duggar fans seemed oblivious to the guardianship proceedings and asked about Tyler in the photo. The Duggars did not respond, but others pointed to the court documents noting Tyler is a new addition to the immediate family. Though the Duggars were granted guardianship, they did not formally adopt Tyler. The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC) outlines the difference in adoption and guardianship, noting that the main difference is that the child’s parent does not terminate their parental rights. Therefore, if the parent’s situation changes, they could request their parental rights be reinstated. However, until that happens, by all intents and purposes, the Duggars make all care choices for Tyler just as they do their own children.
The decision to become guardians of Tyler was not recent. The child has actually been living with the Duggars for some time, reportedly moving in with the family in July. In Touch Weekly reported that on August 31, 2016, the Duggars were granted temporary guardianship of the child as he had been living with them since Michelle’s sister Carolyn suffered a stroke. Carolyn had been caring for the child since August of 2015 after the boy’s mother became homeless and was jailed for breaking and entering along with theft.
The boy’s father is unknown and not listed on the birth certificate, so when the child’s mother ran into legal trouble and financial hardship, Carolyn agreed to care for the child. After her stroke, Carolyn could no longer provide the support Tyler needed and Michelle Duggar agreed to help.
During the time of the first court proceedings, a family insider speaking to In Touch claimed that the Duggars hoped to formally adopt Tyler after permanent guardianship was granted.
“There’s a strong hope that once that happens they will be able to adopt him.”
To be able to adopt Tyler, Rachel Hutchins would have to give up her parental rights fully. It is unclear at this time if Rachel would be willing to follow through with that plan. However, should the Duggars adopt Tyler, it would not be a huge surprise to any of their fans as the Duggars have mentioned in the past that they are interested in adoption.
What do you think of the Duggars and their expanding family?
[Featured Image by Duggar Family Official/Facebook]