Twin three year olds, Marshall and Matthew, stole Linda Trapenier’s heart the day she met them. She say she knew immediately “they were my boys.” They’re inseparable little boys, with wobbly, oversized heads and bodies the size of newborns. This is the result of a genetic condition they share. They’re a sweet, happy pair. When one baby laughs, his brother starts laughing too.
Minnesota nurse, Linda, 58, took the twin brothers in when they were just about a month old. Their parents were unable to give them the attention they needed, so they were put in foster care. When social service staff asked Linda if she would think about permanent adoption, Linda knew what she had to do. It would break her heart to see the boys separated from each other, and she wanted to do everything in her power to make a positive impact on their lives.
The twins were both diagnosed with Pfeiffer syndrome. This means that a rare genetic mutation on the FGFR2 or FGFR1 gene signaled for too much bone growth production, causing their skull bones to fuse too early, when they were still in the womb.
Patients with Pfeiffer syndrome share a distinct appearance. They often have wide set eyes, a large forehead, and altered hand and foot growth. There are different types of Pfeiffer syndrome, each with its own prognosis. Marshall and Matthew, were diagnosed with type 2. To learn more about this condition, click here.
The condition makes it difficult for them to see and move around on their own, so they use wheelchairs and wear glasses. They also require a breathing tube, and at the young age of three, they’ve already had three different surgeries to give their developing brains space. They require constant care. Linda needs to take their temperature periodically throughout the day and night, since their breathing tube leaves them vulnerable to serious infections. An everyday cold could potentially kill them. However, with attentive and informed care, the boys could grow up to live independent live.
No one is more qualified for that job than Linda. All Linda’s life, she’s felt called to take care of children. This led her to begin her career in general nursing. In 1986 she transitioned to full time foster care for children with health conditions. She’s fostered 16 kids, and raised three of her own. She receives assistance from other nurses, who lighten the work of caring for the children.
Linda’s friends and family have a hard time understanding the adoption. She is, after all, 58 years old, with retirement on the horizon. The truth is, she’s just not interested in retiring– not when she has Marshall and Matthew around!