Real Life

Amazing Aussie: I’m 19 and have five kids!

Amazing Aussie: I'm 19 and have five kids!

This Brisbane girl was a child herself when she adopted four children – and now she’s added one of her own.

When her boyfriend’s mother passed away from a brain aneurism, Emma Gosbell didn’t think twice about adopting his four younger siblings.

She was only 17 at the time but Emma knew she couldn’t bear to see the kids separated, and nor could her partner Brendan. Now, two years later, the 19-year-old supermum has welcomed another child to her brood – and she couldn’t be happier.

“We called her Elleigha May,” she beams. “Brendan’s mum Ellen used to get called Elle and May is after my niece who died from SIDS.”

Emma’s had her hands full since giving birth on October 20, but the courageous young woman says she’s too happy to worry.

“She’s brought our family together,” she says of her little girl, who weighed in at 2.86kg.

Emma’s adopted children are equally as excited about the new addition to their family. “They absolutely love Elleigha! Thomas takes control of the pram as soon as I pick them up from school and Azekial cries whenever he’s not allowed to hold her.”

Becoming a young mum has not been without challenges for Emma, who’s grown up very quickly. “I’ve definitely surprised myself,” she says of taking on the mindblowing role.

Emma has lost a lot of friends because she can’t go out partying on the weekends like most people her age, but the kind-hearted teen says she wouldn’t change a thing.

“What I thought were sacrifices when I adopted the kids don’t matter anymore,” she says.

“I have so much more, thanks to them. It’s the little things – the cute smiles, the ideas they come up with and watching them all sleep at night.”

Emma says she got her generosity and loving nature from her own mum Linda, who’s been a fabulous support. “Everything I know I learned from my mum.”

As for Brendan, he’s simply in awe of his girlfriend’s strength and believes his mother would be, too.

“Mum brought us up to stick together as a family,” he says. “Emma is an amazing girlfriend and I couldn’t ask for better. I’m sure my mum would be pretty impressed with what we’ve done.”

The Queensland winner of this year’s Barnardos Mother of the Year Awards, Emma says being a parent is all about setting an example for your children.

Her biggest piece of advice for other mums? “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Emma wouldn’t be the mum she is today without the love and support of Brendan, who works 13-hour days as a labourer but still helps with school lunches and buys her flowers.

“I’d love a fairytale wedding but money is tight and the kids come first,” she says.

As for expanding their family, Emma says that can also wait. “I’ll definitely have more kids,” she says, adding with a laugh, “but maybe not until I’m 30!” If one thing’s for sure, Emma certainly has a lot more love to give.

Got an inspirational mum? Nominate her for Australia’s biggest honour, Barnardos Mother of the Year. Head to

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