Meet the Incredible Parents Who Adopted 16 Children with Special Needs
MEET THE QUAIDS
For Bob Quaid, a house full of children was always in the cards: "Having a large family of kids who really needed someone was my destiny," he tells PEOPLE of raising the 16 boys and girls with special needs that he adopted with his wife, Sue (pictured here with grandsons Talon and Tyrell, as well as other family members).
LOVE AND LAUGHTER
The Tooele, Utah, couple – who also have 5 biological children – adopted their first special needs child in 1990 and found their purpose providing other "hard-to-adopt" children with a safe, loving home.
"We're going from the time our feet hit the ground in the morning until we drop into bed at night," Sue (discussing medication for Calvin, 3, with Bob) says of the family's incredibly hectic schedule, which they manage with the help of in-home nurses. "But we wouldn't have it any other way. We're making a difference in our little corner of the world, and it feels wonderful to do that."
MAKING IT WORK
Though Bob admits that "money is tight," even with the Social Security benefits each child receives, both he and Sue are happy to make sacrifices in order to ensure that Marie, Alyssa and their other children are well taken care of. "We go to yard sales for clothes, and anything else we need. If it's not on sale, we don't buy it."
SAFE AND SOUND
Adoption allows Bob, who had a "rough childhood" that included being beaten with a bull whip, to ensure that others are raised with the safety and happiness that he never had as a child. "I want these kids to know love," he says. "I'm proud to give them a happy home."
HE'S MY BROTHER
Kameron, who is blind and has cerebral palsy, gives brother Calvin a wake-up call before school. Calvin, who was born without most of his brain – he has a rare condition called hydranencephaly – is the newest addition to the Quaid family.
"I love to hold my kids and just be with them," says Sue, enjoying time with Kameron and Calvin. "They have the sweetest spirits. They just touch you to the core."
Molly, who has cerebral palsy, joins Bob and Talon to feed the Quaid family's horse, Splash. "We need these kids even more than they need us," Bob tells PEOPLE.
A RICH LIFE
"I'm a happy man," Bob, seen touching noses with Calvin, says about his family. "Life is good. I love my kids. They've enriched my life in ways I never thought imaginable."