The doctors told Jeanne and Gerald Scott
that the 4 1/2-pound newborn girl would never live a normal life.
But Jeanne and Gerald Scott
had heard those words before.
...Deeply devout and spiritual, Gerald, a pastor, and Jeanne Scott rely on friends, strangers, humor and each other to raise their family at a time of life when other people are settling comfortably into retirement.
is the mobilizer and the softie.He
tends to the farm, chauffeurs the children and buys the groceries.When Eddie, the 2-year-old baby, flashes his
puppy eyes, Gerald Scott melts. He
is the dreamer.She
is the one who says: "Wait.How are we going to do this?"
HOPE AND HELP
Their day begins at 5:30 a.m., when he
feeds the farm animals and she
prepares breakfast for nine.They move at a dizzying clip, shuttling their children to school, hauling them to sports practice, washing clothes, buying food, cooking and bathing.
"Daddy adopted you," Gerald Scott
says to them."Daddy wanted you."
For 20 years, the Scotts have assembled their family like a jigsaw puzzle, drawing children from splintered homes and piecing them together to form one loving family.Some of them came from the foster care system.Others through mothers who called the couple personally.
"Of course they do," Gerald Scott
said."They're my children."
Even though the Scotts are aging, they do not want to slow down.
"I don't ever desire to retire," says Gerald Scott
."For now, this is what God wants me for."
A PLAN FOR EVERYONE Gerald
and Jeanne Scott met in northwest Iowa, where they had been born and raised.
career brought him to Newark and New York City, where he
got a glimpse at how drugs and gangs were rotting inner-city neighborhoods.
A believer that God has a plan for everyone, Gerald Scott
realized after several trips what his
calling was.It was to quit his
job, join the ministry and move his
family to New York.
In 1963, when their children were 8, 6 and 3, they moved to Staten Island.
Family members in Iowa asked with alarm, "Why are you throwing your life away?"
The lanky, 6-foot-tall minister spent long days working at a church in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn and befriending gang members.
Several months later, Gerald Scott
had to take a break because he
could not support his
family on his
salary as a minister.He
took a research job with a pharmaceutical company for several years. In 1971, he became a full-time minister for the Washington Assembly of God Church in Warren County.
Eight years later, the family moved to a 12-acre farm in Franklin Township to live closer to the church.
If Gerald Scott
way, the couple would adopt at least one more girl.But his
wife says that, at their age, they shouldn't take in another baby.
At night, when Gerald Scott
tucks the two youngest boys, Matthew and Eddie, into bed, he
reads a story.Then they say a prayer.
"Thank you, Jesus, for these little boys," the father says.
kisses them goodnight.