Gay couple adopts four disabled children: "We couldn't be happier"
June 26, 2022
Garry and Kyle Ratcliffe, two big-hearted people and a gay couple, have decided to adopt four children - each with complex and limiting pathologies - to give them the best possible lives.
Garry explained: "When I saw an ad in the local newspaper of a child looking for a 'forever home', I immediately sent a request, then called Kyle to tell him what I had done. His voice on the phone revealed a great deal of emotion and he started asking so many questions - asking what the baby in the ad looked like, what their voice sounded like, what they liked to do. And finally, he asked me what the child's name was."
"In response to the announcement, Haydn, a six-year-old boy, with cerebral palsy and a wheelchair, arrived at our home: he was full of sadness and questions. He was the first child we took into foster care and, after a couple of years , also became the first one we adopted. In the following years, in fact, we realized that we were not particularly good as foster carers - we were better adopters: we continued to adopt the children who had originally only planned to stay for a short period," continued the father.
After Haydn, the couple decided to adopt other children: “Curtis - or Curly as we call him - came after Haydn when he was only 12. He has a complex set of needs and was not expected to reach his first birthday. Then there are our little girls, biological sisters Bella and Phoebe, who arrived together. Bella has Down syndrome and Phoebe is fine, but their sisterly bond is a real wonder to behold. How could we have "given them back" or allowed them to be separated? In the end, we just couldn't."
This wonderful family described themselves as "complete" immediately after the adoption of the little ones: "In 2014 we became a family of six. We were two dads who didn't know what the hell we were doing, with four fantastic children, full of hope and love. To care for four adopted children can be difficult enough, but with three of them suffering from severe and complex disabilities, the work was certainly even harder. "
The handicaps of their children did not prevent the couple from being even more united and close-knit: "We both dealt with the situation in different ways. I needed to talk about it a lot. Kyle was silent, had his own ideas and only shared them when he was completely ready. However, we have always stood together, supporting each other in the days when it was hard to see a clear path to follow. Today, Haydn is 18 years old and our hearts swell with joy at how wonderful all four of the kids are. We are proud that they love life and proud of their determination to seize every opportunity," continued Garry.
"Before the lockdown, our friends and family considered us crazy because all six of us went on a four-day trip to Amsterdam: we ate ice cream and took canal boats to watch the world go by. Our children's need never prevents us from doing what we want to."
However, every trip requires very careful planning: "We have to be careful of Curly's dependance on oxygen, as well as his special diet (fed by a tube into his stomach). Then we have to stock up on diapers for three of our four children who are doubly incontinent and we carry so many drugs with us, we could open a pharmacy. All this mean that we cannot travel light. "
But the family has never been discouraged: "The planning and the few extra suitcases we have to pack are always well worth it".