Episode #86

The Gagnon family never thought they would be writing a children’s book. But then again, they never thought they would foster over 30 children, adopting five with special needs in addition to their two biological kids. The family found themselves in the national spotlight after a Facebook post by Stacey Gagnon went viral about her son, Joel, who was born with Goldenhar syndrome which caused an incomplete development of his ear, soft palate, and facial bone structures. It only affects one side of his face and requires a plethora of doctor appointments and reconstructive surgeries. Stacey’s post detailed an encounter at a new church they visited where other kids just stared and pointed at Joel, causing him to run and hide. That incident sparked social media responses from around the world, and the Gagnons were featured on NBC and Fox, among other media outlets. But it was one response in particular which initially angered Gagnon that ultimately birthed the idea of the new children’s book entitled “Cowboy Joel and the Wild Wild West.”

The Gagnon family is an atypical, hodgepodge mix of humanity. The entire family enjoyed writing this book, with each one contributing their own input. Every child in the family has their own special story, and every one faces their own unique challenges. Stacey, the mom of this bunch, also has a blog called Ransom for Israel. She presents an honest assessment of the orphan crisis and the desperate need for families willing to adopt. After the adoption of their youngest daughter, the Gagnons started a non-profit called Lost SparrowsLost Sparrows is dedicated to improving the lives of orphans and those with special needs through education, proper medical care, and adoption. Their current focus is in areas of Eastern Europe and Bulgaria.

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Notes and Quotes: 

Robert and Brad introduction Source: Are Families still Eating Together regularly? Positive Fact: Gallup 2013 Study: 

‘The scarier and harder our kids behaviors are, the more it will potentially trigger the issues in our life that have not been fully resolved. We must learn as parents to be regulated, stable, and in the word of God to offset those stress triggers effectively.”

“The Greatest human fear is ABANDONMENT”

“Adoptions start with brokenness and families need to come alongside those kids and mold themselves around their needs and presence in the adopted home life.”

“Survivor brain’ is a condition that occurs with kids who lacked immediate love and care as infants. The brain get’s hijacked by stress and copes to allow them to survive their abandonment as orphans”

“God’s job is to rescue our kids, not us”

“When kids have special needs, they look different and as a result people look at them differently, many times with cruelty and no compassion”

“Love cannot fix everything… there are children who are not going to heal on this side of heaven”

“Community is everything for marriage and our kids need to come ‘second’ in our families”