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A Portrait of Me #12: Louisiana, aged 33 1/2
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Saturday, April 05, 2003
The mother of the Sandusky brood tells her story.
Louisiana is my name (yes, just like the state!), and I will be 34 years old on June 10. I was born in 1969 in the tiny Cajun hamlet of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, and I was the youngest of five, all girls. I was born to Armand and Claudia Moliere. My sisters were Florida, Arizona, Indiana, and Georgia. (Daddy's joke; he named us after states! :) )
I was also born a "little person", i.e., a dwarf. I am under 4'9" tall now, as an adult, and I have learned to adjust to my lack of height quite well.
I was always remarkably healthy as a child, but then, at the age of nine, I was climbing a tree in our backyard back in Breaux Bridge, and I fell out of the tree, severely injuring my spine. My spine hasn't been the same since, and for a month afterwards, I was paralyzed; but then I got to walking again, and I spent the next three/four years getting around on forearm crutches. I then ditched the crutches, and I was walking unaided until about two years ago, when I started to develop degenerative arthritis in my spine; and I now walk with the aid of a cane. I will eventually go back to using crutches, but for now, I use my cane. (I still have incredible pain in my spine, and I also have sciatica; so I am always with pain, some days being worse than others.) I also have epilepsy; I used to have seizures, but now they are controlled by medications, and I haven't had a seizure in over 7 years now. (I developed epilepsy after a bad fall down the stairs.)
I got married nearly 13 years ago to a wonderful man named Bill Sandusky (I had met him several years before at a Cajun dance), and he is my exact opposite. He is as tall as I am small. He is a towering 6' 9 1/2" tall, and we always get the strangest looks from people whenever we enter a room. But he is still incredibly handsome, and he means the world to me. He is my everything!
Between the two of us, we had three children, but all died, two while still tiny babies. (The other died on his fourth birthday.) Of course, we were devastated at the loss of our children, but God saw to it that He would answer our prayers for a family by giving us children that were considered "unadoptable", and He has not disappointed us! In fact, He has blessed us ABUNDANTLY!
We now have 50 adopted children, most "special-needs".
As I said earlier, I am a little person, and I am only 4' 7 1/2" tall. I have long, black hair that is thick, big, black eyes, and skin darkened by the sun (plus it has something to do with my having Native American Indian blood in me, on my maman's side; I tan very easily), and I am quite heavy. I am also quite busty; I have a rather gracious chest! (I got that from my maman! :) ) People have told me that I look like a dark version of Dolly Parton! :)
I am a nurse at a local hospital, and I am the charge nurse there. I have been a nurse going on nine years, and I find my job most challenging, but at the same time, satisfying. There is nothing more gratifying to me than to help others in need during times of sickness or injury; and I have met many wonderful people. I work five days a week, morning shift until before the kids get out of school; and I am home in time to see the first buses roll to bring my children home from school. My husband WAS unemployed (he is disabled, and he lived on disability checks every month), but two years ago, he got a job at Wal*Mart, and he is a greeter. He still gets disability pay every month, but not as much, as he is working.
Besides raising our large brood, I love to sing, go to church every week, go out to eat (we usually go to Golden Corral, where one of our daughters [Stephanie] works; we are regulars there), play my steel guitar (something I've done since I was small; I've always loved the sound of a steel guitar, and I wanted to learn how to play it, so I did), read, cook, and visit past patients I've taken care of if they happen to live nearby.
I also love to go to concerts (country, gospel, Cajun).
I was raised Catholic (as a rule, most Cajuns are Catholic), but over a year-and-a-half ago, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, and I have found a wonderful church that I now call home. My husband was raised Pentecostal/Assembly of God, and it was his church. But now it is both of ours, and it is also our childrens' church. We go to Christ Community Assembly of God Church not far from where we live, and it has really made quite an impact on our lives.
So there you have it. My story. Now you know a little more about me.