CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers coach and former player Jericho Cotchery and his wife Mercedes Cotchery will celebrate a major milestone next week -- their son Joshua's seventh birthday.
Doctors told Mercedes Cotchery several years ago that she could never have children.
She said her family’s faith helped them grow from one child to five children.
“I could never be ashamed about my truth,” Mercedes Cotchery said.
Mercedes Cotchery got sick when she was a teenager and doctors couldn’t diagnose the problem.
“She was puzzled at her findings and she found that I didn't have a womb,” Mercedes Cotchery said. “I didn't have a uterus.”
“So it's tricky,” she said. “I always believed that I would have children. I just didn't know how.”
She married Jericho Cotchery and in 2006 she prayed about her desire to start a family with her husband.
The most feasible option was adoption.
“That was the first time I had ever cried about my situation,” she said.
Their first daughter was born on Aug. 24, 2007, and they adopted her.
Now Jacey is 10 years old. Following their first child, Nicholas, 7, Joshua, 6, Journey, 4, and Nile, 1, were adopted.
Mercedes Cotchery blogs about her experience through Motherhood for Other Mothers and also for families considering adoption.
Numbers released in 2015 said that out of more than 10,000 children outside their homes in North Carolina, 26 percent are still waiting to be adopted.
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