Fostering News: Couple who adopted four children with severe medical needs have their tiny bungalow replaced with a five-bedroom house built in just NINE days by the DIY SOS team
A same sex couple labelled 'superheroes' after they adopted four vulnerable children with severe medical needs saw their bungalow replaced with a state-of-the-art five-bedroom home in a heart-warming TV show.
Garry and Kyle Ratcliffe, from Sheppey, Kent, adopted Haydn, 13, who has cerebral palsy; Bella, 11, who has Down's Syndrome; Curtis, six, who is severely epileptic, blind and has cerebral palsy, and Bella's sister Phoebe, six, who is physically healthy but suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The family had been living in a cramped three-bedroom bungalow, full to the brim of medical supplies and room for little else.
Nick Knowles and the DIY SOS team come to their rescue by knocking down the tiny house and building a completely new five-bedroom home from scratch in just nine days - something they have never done before.
Over 100 volunteers plus Nick Knowles and his DIY SOS team pitched up to take on the almighty challenge, which was filmed in 2016.
They built the family a much-needed home, complete with state-of-the-art medical technology, including cameras to monitor the children, within the extremely ambitious time frame.
Nick Knowles admitted it was a 'nerve-wracking' build, with added pressure of making it a forever home which the children could really thrive in.
Garry, a headteacher of two schools and Kyle a stay-at-home father said the reason behind their multiple adoptions was because they were determined to give the children a better start in life - but felt they were failing because of their small house.
Curtis was forced to sleep in a cot in the living room, with his sister Phoebe beside him on the couch, while Haydn had a small bedroom and Bella stayed in a makeshift set-up in the boot room.
One of their close friends and counsellor, Jenny Whittle, who has supported them through the multiple adoptions gushed over the deserving couple.
'They are superheroes. It’s very much a way of life for them, I never hear them complain.
'Garry and Kyle see the child they don’t see the label. They are a fabulous family and I’ve been privileged to work with them all these years.'
The pair, who met ten years ago and wanted to start a family began to foster before going on to adopt and say they immediately 'fell in love' when Haydn turned up on their doorstep and never looked back.
Garry and Kyle then went on to adopt Curtis as a 12-month-old, who had been given just months to live, but is now six, and then adopted Bella and Phoebe soon after.
'There was a risk the girls would be split up,' Garry revealed.
'It’s quite a ruthless market, you know a catalogue of “oh I like that one” or “she’s got Down’s, we don’t want a child like that”.
'Bella could have been dumped in care for the rest of her life. No matter what her own circumstances we could not have let them be adopted separately.'
The family spend the majority of their time outdoors and only when they retreat inside is their routine upset.
Garry added that only having one toilet between the six of them causes problems when Curtis and Haydn require medical treatment.
He worried: 'We adopted four vulnerable kids because we wanted to give them the best life we possibly can.
'And we’re not doing that at the moment, we need some space and dignity for all of those kids.'
The almighty challenge is finished in time - with the help of 1,530 cups of teas and a talented roof dog that can climb ladders - thanks to kindness and generosity of the local community.
Builders, electricians, roofers, plumbers, painters, decorators all pitched in to get the house fit for the children.
Garry and Kyle were left speechless after the big reveal, barely holding back tears as they offered thanks to their friends and the DIY SOS team.
Haydn, Curtis, Bella and Phoebe each get their own custom-built rooms and their fathers get their own sanctuary to rest in when the children are asleep.
There's space enough between the hallways for wheelchair access and specially fitted bathrooms for the needs of Curtis and Haydn.
'I cant believe how much thought has gone into it,' a gobsmacked Kyle told the volunteers.
'It’s enabling our kids to be more than they are, which is really important.'
Garry adds: 'You have futureproofed our lives for us really. Thank you.'
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