17 Kids And Counting premiered on TLC on October 1, 2008. The patriarch and matriarch of this large - and still growing - group are former high school sweethearts, Jim Bob and Michelle. With values rooted in their strong personal faith, Jim Bob and Michelle firmly believe that every child is a gift to be cherished. After more than 20 years of marriage, the couple has received 17 gifts - ten boys, seven girls - with number 18 on the way. With only two sets of twins among the 17 children, Michelle has been pregnant for nearly 12 of her 40 years on earth. Each child's name begins with a "J" - Joshua, Jana, John-David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jeremiah, Jedidiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah and baby Jennifer.