The Larsens are an unconventional family made up of several foster children, but make no mistake  about it, they are a family. One of the children that make up the Larson brood is their son Ryan. At only nine months, Ryan sustained a life-threatening, non-accidental, traumatic brain injury, suffered at the hands of his biological mother’s boyfriend. Soon after, Ryan was placed in a temporary foster home for 14 months. March 2013, a few weeks before his 2nd birthday, DCFS called our family looking for an adoptive placement for Ryan so they could proceed with their case for termination of parental rights. He has been a blessing in our home since that day.

Ryan’s injuries resulted in a crushed skull (on both sides of his head), a stroke, epilepsy, hemiparesis (on the right side of his body), and global developmental delays. He is also nonverbal and g-tube dependent. He is non ambulatory, wheelchair dependent, and is currently at the developmental level of a 12 month old. At 48 lbs, and growing like a weed, it is getting more difficult to transition him in and out of our van.

We have been in the market for a wheelchair-accessible van to accommodate our large family. My husband and I have three biological children and three children adopted from foster care. Getting the  eight of us to fit into our minivan has become a struggle, so we usually end up driving two vehicles if we want to go anywhere as a family. With two adults, two teenagers, four kids in car seats, and one wheelchair, we feel like sardines packed in a tin. We aspire to be a close-knit family, but being wedged together in one vehicle isn’t quite what we had in mind. Having a van that would accommodate us all  would be a lifesaver.