The Bouffard family is such an inspiration! They are a larger family that I love to read about each day as I follow along on their family blog.
Hi, we're Debi & Russ Bouffard. Our kids are David (15), Stephanie (14), Gabi (13), Alex (11), Teddy (10), Henry (9), Keith (7), & Emma & Will - twins (2).
We became foster parents in the state of NJ after I had grown up in a house where my biological parents were foster & adoptive parents for my entire life. (I have 10 adopted siblings). I was a foster parent for 6 years before I started taking in medically fragile children, although technically one of my adopted children at the time was actually medically fragile. It was just the "natural" process of things that a decent foster home becomes a Medically Fragile Home. I was asked and of course, accepted. I like to say, though, that I didn't purposefully chose to adopt children with medical problems, they chose me. They came to our home and we fell in love.
David is considered mentally retarded. He was born addicted to cocaine and to a mother who had no prenatal care. Unfortunately, David's social skills lag far behind his peers, his comprehension is much lower than even 2nd grade levels and he has also been diagnosed with ADHD (and has quite honestly gotten very hard to manage his medication since he has started puberty).
Teddy was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy when he was a toddler and also has some pretty severe speech problems. He has been getting OT, PT & Speech for many years and has come a VERY long way. Most people don't have any idea about his CP unless I tell them, as it mostly effects his oral muscles and fine motor skills.
Keith was born to a very young mom who told us she had many learning disabilities, including dyslexia. Time has shown us that Keith, in fact, shares many of his mother's disabilities and he attends special classes in school as he is still struggling with speech, writing, reading & behavior issues.
The most surprising part about adoption for us is honestly the amount of time it took. Not one of my 5 adoptions was finalized before 3 years had gone by. It was very frustrating to have the children living in our home for so long, and yet being forced to wait YEARS to finalize.
All of my children have grown up with us always adopting or being foster parents, so it's a normal way of life for them. Honestly, they all LOVED when I would get a call telling us we were going to get a new child.
The most difficult part of parenting children with special needs for me is remembering to find time for myself and my husband. But when that child reaches a milestone... there is NOTHING like the joy and pride a parent feels. I have never been as proud in my life as I have been on the days my children achieve things we didn't think they would :)
If you'd like to learn more about the Bouffard family, follow along on their blog!
Thank you, Debi and Russ, for sharing your family with us!