As of this writing, the Geraldi home, in Ellijay, Ga., is filled with 20 children, all of whom have special needs. Going back nearly 40 years, Mike and Camille Gerardi adopted a total of 88 children who, through disease or disability, needed special care. Camille has continued their care since Mike’s death in 2016. Were it not for families like the Geraldis, all of those children would have been hard-pressed to live a comfortable life surrounded by love and care.
The Geraldis’ story started even before they met, when Camille brought three kids into her home when she was single. After meeting Mike, who was working as a pediatrician in Florida, and they decided to get married, Camille shared her vision of continuing to provide care for children who needed their help. Mike told her, “I want to follow your dream.”
Over the years, the couple cared for children with development disabilities, birth defects, injuries, and more. “The children I took in were expected to die,” Camille Geraldi told CNN. “But so many of them have lived.” Over the years, 32 of the children have passed away. The oldest living adopted child from the Geraldi home is 32 and lives in a group home in Florida. The elder of the couple’s two biological daughters is 40 and is a nurse and mother, just like her mom.
In addition to the loss of the children over the years, the family also suffered the loss of their home in Florida due to a hurricane in 1992. In 2011, the family had to relocate again after lightning struck their North Carolina house and reduced it to ashes. Most recently, Camille Geraldi had to endure the death of Mike from cancer in 2016. “I couldn’t cry, or my children would’ve fallen apart,” she told CNN.
But the family presses on, and Camille continues to help raise the children whom the couple adopted. They obtain needed resources through their Possible Dream Foundation, which also offers job training for disabled adults, counseling, and aid for parents of special needs children.
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