Walking the Talk: Couple’s Belief That Children Belong in Families Leads to Creating a Family With 22 Children

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"Are We There Yet?" Title of New Book About Their Journey

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They created their “forever family” of 22 children by asking God to bring to them the children who most needed them, children who would otherwise remain in foster care or institutions.

Hector and Sue Badeau believe that children belong in families. They not only believe this, they committed their lives to it, ultimately creating their “forever family”—of 22 children.

Drawing on their Christian faith, they asked God to bring to them the children who most needed them, children who would otherwise remain in foster care or institutions. They tell their amazing story in a new book releasing Sept. 15, Are We There Yet? The Ultimate Road Trip: Adopting and Raising 22 Kids!

When they married, they knew they wanted a big family, planning to adopt as well as have biological children.

While expecting their first child, they applied for international adoption and soon had a big brother for daughter Chelsea. By the time they adopted their 20th child, daughter Geeta, they had 22 children who called them mom and dad. The children, most with special needs, are a diverse mixture of races and ethnicities, coming from across the United States as well from India and El Salvador.

The family includes three sets of siblings, and also included three children whose disabilities would end their lives before adulthood. Although those three sons outlived their life expectancies, the family now endured the loss of three of its own.

Each child came from vastly differing (and often unknown) prior experiences and cultures, bringing his or her own strengths and weaknesses—and scars. Along the way, the Badeaus have walked with their children through recovering from childhood trauma, drug addiction, prison, and unwed pregnancies, as well as nearly miraculous accomplishments, and the usual joys and heartbreaks of raising kids.

"When God called us to begin a family, we knew that we were taking the first steps in what would become our lifelong journey—yet we had no idea how the many detours, delays, side trips, dangerous mountain terrain, and treacherous valleys would both thrill and terrify us while shaping our lives in ways we never would have predicted," Hector writes.

The Badeaus started off running a Christian bookstore, and then started an adoption agency. As the family grew, Sue began a career in child welfare and juvenile justice issues.

Now a national consultant and speaker, she has served as a Public Policy Fellow in the office of Sen. John Rockefeller IV, Deputy Director for the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Children’s Commission, and as a director for the Casey Family Programs, the nation’s largest foundation focused on foster care. She is also an advisor to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, and will serve as Chairman of the Board for NACAC, the North American Council on Adoptable Children, beginning in 2014.

Hector became the at-home caregiver, managing the kids’ lives, including those who used wheelchairs or had other disabilities. Now that the youngest of the kids are in their 20s and out on their own, Hector works with homeless adults.

Together the couple has received awards for children’s advocacy, been honored at the White House on two occasions and received national media coverage including stories in Woman’s Day magazine, the New York Times and on the CBS Morning News.

Are We There Yet? Adopting and Raising 22 Kids [ISBN: 978-0-9885931-7-6] releases September 15 from Carpenter’s Son Publishing.

For more information about the Badeau family, please visit http://www.badeaufamily.com, or for speaking engagements visit Sue’s website at http://www.suebadeau.com.

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Joni Baker
Buoyancy PR
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Susan Badeau
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