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88 Kids in Four Decades: Wife Says She'll Continue Caring for Special Needs Children Despite her Husband's Death

06-19-2017
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Camille Geraldi's husband, Michael, passed away last year in March after a losing battle with cancer.

Under any circumstance, it's a traumatic, heart-breaking event, but the Geraldis were a team in a special way.  They have adopted or become legal guardians for 88, yes, that's 88, special needs children.

It is a feat that is far from easy, but according to Camille is a pure joy. 

"I love these kids," Camille told Good News Network. "Though it can be challenging, draining, exhausting work, when you have your faith you just keep going."

Michael and Camille met at Miami Children's Hospital in 1973. 

Michael, a pediatrician, offered services to low-income families for free and Camille, a nurse, worked late nights reading to disabled children at the hospital. 

"We used to meet at the hospital and I used to meet her for lunch on the grass," Michael said of Camille in an interview with CBS in the 90's. "She would have some of these babies that would never step foot out of the hospital unless she took them out there. She said she wanted them to feel the grass and touch the leaves and feel the wind and it was beautiful. Then we started to date and then we decided to get married." 

Two years after marrying they started adopting disabled orphans with Down syndrome, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, as well as children with autism, developmental disabilities, and extreme facial deformities. 

Take a look at CBN's interview on Camille and her family. 

Soon afterward they opened the Possible Dream Foundation, a nonprofit that would help their children in the future.

According to the foundation's website, people would drop off children at the Geraldis doorstep with only a note. 

By the 1990s, they had 31 special needs children in their care and had three children of their own. 40 years after marrying they had adopted 88 children and adults.

Camille said it really takes God's grace to raise that many children. 

"I think sometimes you're just cut out to do it or you're not," she said. "I do know that I'm doing God's work—he plans the day and I just carry it out. He motivates me along the way."

"I usually wear a mustard seed pinned to my shirt, and when I'm feeling drained and need a push, I touch it and he gives me the the energy and determination I need to make it through the hard times and the adversity," she added.

Most of their children have grown up and graduated high school. Some have become certified dog trainers, and some have become volunteers, who now help care for the younger children.

Although Michael passed away last March from an aggressive form of cancer, there is still plenty for Camille to do. 

One thing the 68-year-old plans to do is take her first vacation ever. 

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