News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today
SUNDAY, MAY 8, 2005

Mom defined
Carolyn Orr and Alexus

By Patrice Stewart
DAILY Staff Writer 340-2446

Some women can satisfy their maternal instincts in ways other than giving birth.

Carolyn Orr of Moulton realized she'd never be a biological mom after a miscarriage and hysterectomy at age 27. She dreaded Mother's Day each year.

Then in 1999, when Orr was 34, Alexus came along. She is the great-niece of Orr's husband, Frankey Joe.

When Alexus was born, "Her birth parents were both very young and struggling to raise their family," said Orr. They had two toddlers already and needed some help.

"God gave Frankey Joe and I an opportunity to become a part of the Massey family. We initially agreed to 'watch' Alexus for a weekend," Orr recalled.

"This quickly developed into every other weekend, proceeded to every weekend and finally escalated to full months. We enrolled Alexus in a local day care and assumed almost full responsibility for an infant child. Her parents remained very active in her upbringing and decision-making," she said.

Orr said the hardest part of becoming a "blended" family was the comments from outsiders and family, because each set of "parents" got negative reactions.

"The four of us were finally able to reach an agreement concerning our daughter," said Orr.

Early on, Alexus called the Orrs Mama and Daddy. Later, she began to call them Aunt Carolyn and Daddy Frank. They finally settled on T.T. and Uncle Frank.

"Today, six years later, Alexus has the best of both worlds," Orr said.

She lives with her birth parents during the week and attends schools with her siblings. "On weekends she enjoys a 'mini vacation' at our home," said Orr.

The traditional roles of families have almost disappeared, but the Orrs and their family members are "a modern Brady Bunch who have adapted to the changes in our lives with zeal and delight," she said.

"I review photo albums and am stunned at how quickly these six years have passed," Orr said.

"Mother's Day no longer fills me with absolute hatred and dread."

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