Look Beyond Child's Handicap, Longtime Foster Mother Advises ByJoyStilley NEW YORK - Dorothy Gauchat has been mother to dozens of children — six of her own, one adopted, and the rest youngsters with serious mental and physical problems. It all started nearly 30 years ago when she and her husband Bill, with three children of their own, were asked to care for a six-months-old hydrocephalic baby — a child suffering with water pressure on the brain. "We didn't see how we could turn him away, but I was really frightened and repulsed. I prayed to have the grace to get through the first day," Mrs. Gauchat recalled in an interview here. "But once we had overcome the block of the handicap we saw the beauty of the boy. These children are more normal than not normal and we should treat them just the way we treat other children.'' And that's exactly the way the Gauchats did treat the many handicapped foster children they took into their home during the following years, a period that Mrs. Gauchat has recounted in a book called "All God's Children." Now, though her own children are grown, she's still involved with caring for such youngsters at Our Lady of the Wayside, a home she and her husband, who died last year, established in Avon, Ohio. After they took in the first child, "the word spread fast," and soon there were five or six extra kids in the house. The Gauchats had three more of their own and, needing more space, they bought a 15-room house across the road. Eventually they expanded to the new home. "It took five years of patience, perseverance and faith to raise the money," she says of the residence that now has 37 children and a staff of 45, including five live-in volunteers,-"skilled people donating a year of their time." During the three decades there were many comings and goings in the household. Some children died, some were cared for on a short-term basis when the mother was ill, couldn't cope or needed a vacation. "Much as we hated to lose them it was a joy to see them going back to their own family," Mrs. Gauchat says. "But it was really hard when a child left to go to the state hospital — it's worse than death." It was just such a situation that prompted the Gauchats to adopt Todd, a child with cerebral palsy. Officials who had tested him had concluded that he was mentally deficient and planned to take him away. "We knew he was bright, and when they insisted on putting him in the state mental hospital we took legal steps to adopt him," said his mother, proudly showing a picture of Todd, now 21, in a wheelchair in his high school graduation cap and gown. He is now an honor student in college. Her other children's lives have been "much richer because they are certainly more compassionate," she adds. Most have gone into some field dealing with the handicapped. By an ironic coincidence, one of the Gauchats' own children, Colette, suffered severe brain damage from a childhood accident. It was then, Mrs. Gauchat admits, that she realized how much- easier it is for a foster parent to deal with such a situation than a natural parent. Despite her long association with the handicapped, Mrs. Gauchat is an adamant opponent of abortion. "To me abortion is only one thing — it's murder," she declares. "If a woman doesn't want to take the risk of having a handicapped child she shouldn't conceive." She does believe that every young girl should be exposed to German measles, and "I am very much for genetic counseling" to minimize the risk. If you can't send you, send money. + IU4Cro*f. •MrfNtifM Mrs. Gauchat has started an orgahization called "Parents Aware," to help parents who are "so overwhelmed when ideas, to get it out of our this hits you, to share with system, to weep together and each other our feelings and rejoice together. We're iimimitiiiimMniiMi.il.IM.II Tlmei Herald, Carroll, la. t\ f\ Wedneiday, March 24, 1976 <£ *• coming to the state where we can cope with it and even laugh. 'We're helping ourselves and in doing so we help someone else." ("All God's Children" is published by Hawthorn.) spurgeons ANNIVERSARY Savings so exciting we'll be closed until noon Thursday to mark'exciting low prices on our sale fashions! Shop noon till 5 p.m. Thursday ;«t: t I Sale! Save $4-$6! New Spring Fiberglas Draperies Reg. 6.99 *% and 7.99 pr. Jt prs. Or 5.77 pr. Your choice 48x63" or 48x84" draperies—that never need ironing! Just rinse and hang! Florals, scenics, moderns, casements or wooly-type grounds. Give your home a wall- to-wall look of draperies at less than you thought possible—for a limited time only! All our Kirsch drapery hardware, now 20% off i^ -£*>. .-&.. M: Special Purchase! Irregular Print Terry Tablecloths Ifperf. O97 4.49 to 9.49 O 100% cotton cloths from one of the best manufacturers! 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