New home for family with love to spare

April 2, 2010 5:51:22 PM PDT
This Sunday, a Kemah family will be featured on ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." Like many families, the Beach home was damaged by Hurricane Ike. But this is no ordinary family. They are a couple who have devoted their lives to helping children with special needs. We can't show you the new house yet, but I can show you how life has improved for their special needs children. Melissa and Larry Beach of Kemah adopted nine children, many with special needs. Now we have some insight into why more than a hundred people asked ABC to build a home for them.

"We got pretty overwhelmed," said Melissa. "I don't think people realized. People were like, 'Why haven't you rebuilt the house?' We didn't have flood insurance for one thing."

Then it flooded two more times after Hurricane Ike. While Larry and Melissa Beach were deciding what to do, the family of 15 lived in a travel trailer for five months.

Melissa recalled, "Someone said, 'How you are so strong?' Because you don't let your kids see you cry. Because if you get upset, they get upset."

"Through our faith and the church and everything you have to take the bad with the good," Larry said.

The Beach family attracted the attention of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" because they have four biological children and adopted nine others, many with special needs.

"We feel compelled," Melissa explained. "Probably our faith has a lot to do with it, but every baby deserves a mommy and daddy."

Jeremiah had a stroke before he was born. It caused brain damage, epilepsy and cerebral palsy. It left him blind. But Melissa says the gift of medical equipment from the show has helped Jeremiah stand, take his first step and show his pleasure.

Besides the therapy room, the house has wide halls and an elevator that makes it completely accessible. Video monitors allow them to watch children in every room.

Larry said, "That was the hardest part of this ordeal was learning to accept the help of other people."

They do this out of love. Larry and Melissa paid for the adoptions and the medical expenses on their own.

About three weeks ago, two-year-old Mercy, who lethal genetic problems, died. But in the midst of their sadness, life doesn't stand still. Tomorrow their son Cody, who is in the Marines, is getting married, and he asked his mother to make the wedding cake.

She said, "This is actually a nice stress reliever."

Larry and Melissa are grateful for the new home and the difference it's made in the lives of their children. They're delighted their story will air Easter Sunday.

"It's put on our favorite day of the year," Melissa said.

Melissa and Larry have been asked to adopt another baby with special needs and they've agreed. They've offered to take in four Haitian children who are amputees. They're waiting to hear back on that. They plan to share the new physical therapy equipment they've been given with other families in the Kemah area who also have children with special needs.

You can see the Beach family's new home this Sunday, on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." The show starts at 7pm on ABC13.

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