Family of 23 faces struggles during COVID-19

Updated: April 26, 2020 08:07 AM
Created: April 26, 2020 06:11 AM

PENFIELD N.Y. (WHEC) – As a mother of 14 adopted, and 7 biological children, Brittany Jencik defines her home as ‘organized chaos’ on any given day.

She says she and her husband first began adopting children after their sixth child was born with autism. Despite the large lineup, she says the home normally runs like a tight ship.


But, Jencik says the chaos the family has experienced over the last month and a half is unlike anything she’s experienced before.

It started when 11 of the kids came down with strep throat in mid-March, Brittany says she felt pain in her throat and was tested for strep. Several days later, the results came back negative.  Almost immediately, she rushed to the hospital to get tested for the coronavirus and was turned away because did not meet the requirements. 

Her condition then got worse.

"I really questioned whether I was going to make it through the night," Jencik said

After further consolation, she was told to assume she had the virus, and in response, Brittany, who is living with an autoimmune disorder, kept herself quarantined. But, as her conditions continued to decline, she was back at the hospital, where she was finally confirmed to have the virus.

By then, even with the measures she took, she had already exposed the family, and soon, the symptoms started in her kids and her husband. Eighteen of the kids live at home, and all of them experienced either mild or more severe symptoms. With some assistance from a family friend, and physician, the family acquired some medical equipment, like extra oxygen tanks, and an emergency stockpile of medicine. Some of the children have special needs or other pre-existing health conditions.

"It's been a long haul." said Jencik "Things have certainly settled, but it'll be a long-ling time before I think we're all back to 100%.” 

As the family recovers, the kids are still in school, so the parents are also playing the roles of nurse, and, teacher, without time to take off from either role. Brittany says it's helping to keep the routine normal amid the chaos. 

“When you're a kind of a Mama to so many, you kind of just learn to do what you need to do," she said

Copyright 2020 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

Comment on Facebook