[Educator-Gold] FOSTER CARE : SIBLINGS : SEPERATION : LARGE FAMILIES: The Children of Strangers

 

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FOSTER CARE :

SIBLINGS :

SEPERATION :

LARGE FAMILIES:

The Children of Strangers

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The Children of Strangers

Sue and Hector Badeau adopted twenty children who needed a homebut there were always more.

By Larissa MacFarquhar

AMERICAN CHRONICLES

The Guardian

August 3, 2015

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/08/03/the-children-of-strangers

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When Sue Hoag was twelve, she read a book, The Family Nobody Wanted, about a couple in the nineteen-forties who adopted a multiracial posse of twelve children, despite having very little room or money. Sue thought it would be wonderful to be part of such a family, and she begged her parents to adopt. They had only four kids in their family, she pleadedsurely there was room for more. Her parents said no. But Sue kept thinking about the book, and by the time she was fifteen she had met her future husband, Hector Badeau, and by the time she was eighteen she and Hector had planned their family: they would have two kids and adopt two. By the time they were four years out of college and four years married, they had had the two kids and adopted the two kids and thought their family was complete.

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But there were more than two children in the world who needed parents. There were so many children who, because they were too old, or too violent, or too traumatized, or unable to walk, or too close to death, or the wrong color, or had too many brothers and sisters, were unlikely ever to be adopted; and when Hector and Sue thought about what those childrens lives would be like without parents, lives that were already unimaginably difficult, they could not bear it. So by the time Sue was twenty-eight and Hector was thirty, they had had two kids and adopted nine, and by the end of the following year they had had two kids and adopted fourteen; and long before they adopted their last, twenty-second child, eleven years later, the four-child family they had imagined in high school was a distant memory, and something wilder and more explosive, more exhilarating and more crushing and unfathomably more complicated, had taken its place.

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Terrible, painful things happened that they were not able to preventthree children dead, two in prison, teen-age pregnancies, divorces. But there were also birthday parties and weddings and graduations; there were grandchildren and great-grandchildren, most of them still living in the same neighborhood, within a few blocks of one another and their parents, in and out of one anothers homes all the time, minding one anothers children. And every Easter and Fourth of July and Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years the children and the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren gathered with Sue and Hector in the big house they still lived in, although they couldnt afford it, and ate a meal together. And though some were missingthree dead, two in prisonstill, most were there, year after year, and, for everything that had happened, they were a family.

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Twenty-two children didnt seem as strange to Hector as it did to most people, because he came from sixteen. His mother, Delvina, was born on a farm in Quebec, and went to school through the eighth grade; his father, Philorum, left school in Montreal at nine to earn money chopping wood. Philorum married Delvina and moved to Barre, Vermont, in search of work, though neither of them spoke English. He found a job in the quarries as a stonecutter. Of their sixteen children, fifteen livedthe fifth died at three, falling down the stairs. Hector was the twelfth, born in 1956. They were poor: the most Philorum ever made was a hundred dollars a week. The younger boys slept six to a bed.

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Philorum was a harsh father, strict and unloving. He drank a lot, and was often gone all weekend on a bender. When he came home, sometimes he beat the kids with a horsewhip or an electrical cord. By the time Hector was twelve, he had decided that he disliked his father, and that when he grew up he would be a father who spent time with his kids and told them he loved them.

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The Badeau boys were known for hockey, but Hector was the best of them, the star of Spaulding High School. He had curly hair, and in high school he grew it out into a giant seventies Afro with a mustache to match. The coach wanted him to try out for the pros, but by then he had met Sue. He spotted her in the fall of 1973, playing field hockey. She was prettyshe had been crowned Junior Miss of Barre, and was first runner-up in the state beauty pageant.

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In their town, Sues family seemed well off. Both her parents had gone to college; her father was an engineer for the state highway department, her mother was a dental hygienist. They led Brownie troops and Girl Scout troops and coached Little League. Their house was nicely decorated and exceptionally clean. Sue came from the kind of family Hector wanted to belong to. After six months, he knew that Sue was the girl for him.

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Sincerely,
David Dillard
Temple University
(215) 204 4584
jwne@temple.edu
http://workface.com/e/daviddillard

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Sincerely,
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http://tinyurl.com/o4pn4o9

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[Educator-Gold] FOSTER CARE : SIBLINGS : SEPERATION : LARGE FAMILIES: The Children of Strangers

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