'I Adopted 6 Children With Special Needs'

When Lynette Louise was growing up she often fantasized about being Lois Lane, marrying Superman and saving the world. Although her Superman never surfaced, Lynette became a superhero in the eyes of the six special needs children she adopted and raised as a single mom.

In her quest to meet her Superman, Lynette flew through three marriages, giving birth to two daughters, Tsara and Jady, during her first marriage. For the Canadian mom, who is now 56, the desire to have two sons still flourished even though her marriages didn’t.

Lynette first lived in Canada when she began rescuing children from the ill effects of the foster care system. “I asked to foster some kids that would be up for adoption soon in order to prevent them from being bounced around,” she said.

Cash and Chance had minimal language skills while Rye had no language capabilities and couldn't walk.

The answer to her prayer became clear when she met a 3-year-old boy named Dar whom no one would care for. His mom had reportedly locked him in a closet for two years, and he was considered to be blind, deaf and retarded. He was about to be institutionalized when Lynette stepped in and accepted the responsibility to care for Dar while the paperwork was being arranged by Children’s Aid. She never gave him back.

Chance and Cash were the next to be officially added to Lynette’s family after they were kidnapped from her care, and authorities found them living with their parents who were alcoholics who would not cooperate with the system’s rehabilitation orders. By the time the two children were recovered, their mother had given birth to another baby, Rye, and all three of the children were removed from the home and placed with Lynette. She adopted them soon after.

By the time she adopted the trio their disabilities were quite profound. Cash and Chance had minimal language skills while Rye had no language capabilities and couldn't walk. They all vomited often and were malnourished. Chance screamed and hurt people daily. Rye wouldn't eat, and they all rocked—a common autism symptom—and nobody slept. Her first adopted son Dar was still the most disabled, grunting and drooling and spinning. Additionally, Dar did not understand how to chew his food.

Quite the colorful group at this point, Lynette forged ahead. As a single mom, she had to be very creative to support her brood. Lynette took odd jobs as a comedian, house painter, actress, television host, writer, singer, babysitter and escort. She said she did whatever it took to support her family financially while taking care of their emotional needs and teaching them to thrive beyond their physical and mental limitations.

Years later, Lynette met a young friend of her daughter’s who many deemed too old to adopt. At 15, Brandessa was a runaway with a learning disability. Lynette took her in and applied for custody, which she was granted. Khiya, 12 years old, soon joined the family in an eerily similar circumstance; bringing the family member count to nine, including Lynette.

“I was too busy counting heads and keeping them from eating out of the garbage to be too mindful of how others reacted to us”

Amidst daily singing and dancing in the living room, Lynette noticed that the neighbors would openly gawk as she transported her children to and from appointments and activities. Many moms and neighbors were challenged by the site of such a quirky group, especially since Lynette seemed to enjoy the challenges she faced daily. She even opted to homeschool all of her children when she realized that the public school system could not meet their needs.

“I was too busy counting heads and keeping them from eating out of the garbage to be too mindful of how others reacted to us,” Lynette said. “I do remember one day we all walked into a diner for lunch and a man looked at me as we filled two tables and said ‘Please tell me those aren't all yours!’ Something in that statement and his expression brought the reality of how overwhelming we were to my consciousness, but I couldn't mull it over because Rye decide to drop to the floor and act dead (one of his autistic behaviors).”

Today Lynette proudly works from the comfort of her five-bedroom home in California as a therapist/performer. Despite the questioning eyes of strangers and community members, Lynette can say, with the exception of Dar, all of her children are now independent, functioning adults. “My eldest son Dar is still lives at home, but he did just get engaged to a high-functioning autistic woman,” Lynette—who is also now a grandmother—shared.

Chance is in the National Guard and goes to college. Cash has been working as a labor hand for the pipelines for 20 years now, has his own home and several trucks. Rye drives a car, works for a local barber and does odd jobs while living in an apartment in a small town. Dar lives with Lynette and aspires to be an actor.

Even more than juggling doctors appointments, medication and ailments; sustaining a romantic relationship proved to be Lynette’s biggest challenge. “I choose my children first in all things,” she shared. “That means anyone who wants to date me comes about 10th. That doesn't work. Now that I am in the twilight of my years I would have to say that is the part I don't get to have. It's a good trade off. My children are awesome.”

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