Choosing to adopt

Choosing to adopt
Vincent Robichaud always knew he wanted to adopt an intellectually impaired child. Now he’s the father of two.
Vincent Robichaud always knew he wanted to adopt an intellectually impaired child. Now he’s the father of two.

I’ve been working with the handicapped for 20 years, and I’ve always been happy in that environment. My partner and I are gay and always knew that we’d have to adopt to start a family. In my mind, it was a given that we would adopt handicapped children.

When we started the process with the youth centre and Association Emmanuel, which facilitates the adoption of children with disabilities, we said that we were comfortable with mentally handicapped children. I should add that we fostered several handicapped children during the four years that we were a foster family.

During that time, we learned first-hand what it was like to live with a handicapped child and became familiar with the resources provided by the healthcare system. It was also an opportunity for our friends and families to be around children with special needs. They therefore weren’t surprised when we adopted Rose and Maxime.

Rose has Down syndrome. She had heart surgery when she was about 18 months old, but she’s been fine ever since and has no physical impairment. As for Maxime, he has cri-du-chat syndrome. He has delayed mental and motor development. Even though we knew what to expect with a handicapped child, Maxime’s development has been up and down and slower than anticipated.

With all of their doctor’s appointments, it was during our kids’ first few years that we had the toughest time staying organized. We managed to get through it by taking a combined three years off from work.

My children fill me with joy.

Things are easier now. Maxime is in a special school where he receives speech-language pathology services and occupational therapy. Rose is getting ready for nursery school and visits the speech-language pathologist at the intellectual handicap rehabilitation centre. They still have regular check-ups, but we’re able to manage because my partner works four days a week and I have a flexible schedule.

Every night, we do intellectual stimulation exercises with Rose and physical exercises with Maxime. Otherwise, we’re just like any other family. It may look like we have too much on our plates at times, but we always make things work because we’re very organized and are lucky enough to have families we can count on.

Rose is 4 now and Maxime is 5. We’ve managed to find a good balance between our family, social, and professional lives. Will we adopt a third child? Lately we’ve been wondering the same thing...


Naître et grandir

Source : Naître et grandir magazine, May–June 2017
Interview by Kenza Bennis


Photo : Nicolas St-Germain