Georgia Family Happy to Be 'The Real Life Seven Dwarfs'

PHOTO: Wanting a big, little family, they continued to adopt. In 2006, Alex joined their family and in 2010, with the arrival of Emma, they became, as they like to call themselves, the "Real Life 7 Dwarfs."
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The Johnston family, from Barnesville, Ga., is extreme in many ways. Standing no more than four feet tall, they call themselves "the real life seven dwarfs." They are the largest family of achondroplasia dwarfs, with a type of dwarfism that affects the extremities.

When it comes to parenting, Amber and Trent Johnston go to extremes to keep things extremely normal. They do not modify any of their furniture to accommodate their size. Most parents try to make the world easier for their children. Not the Johnstons; as Amber Johnston told "20/20's" Barbara Walters, "we strive to raise our children in the world that's not built for them."

The Johnstons teach their kids to adapt to their environment and use their resources, some of which are a little unconventional. At the grocery store, Amber sometimes lifts a child to reach an item on the top shelf. At home, step stools help them reach sinks and cabinets, and sticks attached to light switches help them turn lights on and off.

Photos: View a slideshow of the Johnstons

Trent Johnston came from a family of dwarfs. His wife's experience was the opposite -- her parents and siblings are average size. "I always knew that I was different," she said, "and I was little, but I chose to be positive."

Amber first met other dwarfs as a teen, when she started attending little people's conventions. It was at one such event that she met Trent. After three and a half years of dating, they married. Five months later, Amber was pregnant with their first child.

The Johnstons didn't know if the child would be like them or average size -- both were possible. At 31 weeks, they learned the child, a son, would also have achondroplasia dwarfism. They were very happy; they wanted kids who were "like them," they said.

Two years later, Amber Johnston gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth. It was a grueling, dangerous pregnancy. Amber's hips routinely became dislocated, and at one point Amber, who is 48 inches tall, measured 51 inches around.

The Johnstons dreamed of having a big family, but they knew Amber's body could not tolerate another pregnancy, so they turned to adoption. They wanted a family of people like them, and they knew that dwarfs were often put up for adoption. They also were aware of the terrible treatment dwarfs sometimes received abroad, being deprived of education and other opportunities.

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