There’s nothing extra-ordinary about the Adams House. It’s a big green house with six bedrooms, three bathrooms, two adults, three kids, a dog, and a back yard. And depending upon the time of day you visit, you’ll be met with frolicking kids, a barking dog, and people going in and out the door for various school and community activities. Fairly normal for an Auburn family of five-plus-a-K9.
Rob Fitch and Toni Cole are a Therapeutic Couple. They live and work in the Spurwink Adams House – providing 24/7 care to three boys (10, 12, 14) with special needs. They create a family environment and teach basic skills of daily living such as how to be respectful, rinse a plate, or do the laundry. “It’s kind of like parenting, but with children that aren’t your own,” says Toni.
But unlike most parents, Rob and Toni are supported by Spurwink’s breadth of resources. “If we’re having a rough day or need some support, Spurwink staff will be here within minutes to help” says Toni. And because of the support provided by Spurwink, Rob and Toni are able to not only help kids but also have fun while doing so.
“When you have children with special needs it opens your eyes up to how difficult things can be for them. But they can still have fun – and that’s powerful,” states Rob. The Adam’s House participates in kickball leagues, hosts barbecues, throws movie parties, and more. And though they work around the clock, generous time off allows Rob and Toni respite time to explore new places, or enjoy the beauty of Maine. “If we want time off, we can take it,” says Rob.
Beyond having fun, Rob and Toni are passionate about helping their three boys succeed. “They’ve lived through a lot, and if we can change that in any way to better their future, to break any negative cycle, that’s incredible,” says Toni.
And it’s working.
With joy in her voice, Toni states: “Our 12-year-old was putting on his shoes on the way to school one day. He stopped, looked up, and said ‘Toni and Rob, thanks for taking care of me.’”
At first sight, the big green house with two adults, three kids, and a dog is pretty ordinary. But the people in the house – Rob, Toni, and the three boys – are far from ordinary.