To the outside world, they may look different from
But for the Johnston family, the only difference between them and
everyone else is that they are a little smaller.
Amber and Trent Johnson, from Barnesville, Georgia, and their five
children are the largest family of achondroplasia dwarfs, with a type of
dwarfism that affects the extremities.
They call themselves 'the real life seven dwarfs' and embrace their
size, and say they 'strive to raise their children in the world that's
not built for them'.
Speaking to Barbara Walters for tonight's ABC's 20/20, the Johnstons
explain why they go to extremes to try to keep things normal for their
Instead of adapting their home to fit the family, who are no more than
four feet tall, they instead encourage their children to overcome the
hurdles - for example, placing step stools to help them reach cupboards
and attaching sticks to light switches.
Trent and Amber met at a little people's convention, dated for almost
four years and married. Five months later Amber was pregnant.
Trent came from a family of dwarfs, but Amber's family were full size.
They knew there was a possibility that their first child could be full
size, but at 31 weeks discovered Jonah also had achondroplasia dwarfism.
They were very happy as they wanted kids who were 'like them', they
The birth of their second biological child Elizabeth was very traumatic
for Amber - at one point she was only 48 inches tall but measured 51
They both wanted a big family, but instead of putting Amber at any more
risk with another traumatic pregnancy they decided to adopt to extend
their brood of dwarfs.
Dwarfs are often put up for adoption and are also treated badly in other
countries because of their difference.
Amber and Trent decided to adopt three children from different parts of
the world - Ana from Siberia, Alex from South Korea and Emma from China.
They told ABC their friends joke they are the 'Brad and Angelina of
Little People', because of the way they embrace the culture of their
The Johnstons did not take out any loans to adopt, nor do they receive
any government hand outs to help raise their children - despite the fact
they are considered to have a disability.
Instead, they relied on various grants to make it work financially.
Trent said: 'We live within our means. We try to do everything
Amber added: 'I do believe there are little people that are truly
disabled. But our family is not.'
Amber is a stay-at-home mom and is hands on with school activities like
the Parent-Teacher Association and Girl Scouts.
Trent crafts pedal extensions for cars to help dwarfs drive. His main
job is as the grounds supervisor at a local college.
Though people stare at them, the Johnstons try to ignore it and carry on
with their lives.
Amber said some people even stop and take photographs of them in the
For the children, it is more difficult because they get bullied at
When Elizabeth was in third grade, bullies called her a midget. She
simply told them: 'That's how God made me - that's how he loves me.'