When Hurricane Ike struck in 2008, the Beach family did not anticipate that it would take two years, and the help of the ABC TV show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, for their family of 15 to have a house again.
Junior business major Michael Beach is one of the four biological children of Melissa and Larry Beach. They also have nine adopted children.
Since the hurricane destroyed their home in Kemah, Texas, they have been trying to get by in two FEMA trailers and then a travel trailer. ABC has provided them with the living space they so desperately needed.
“They move the bus, and I’m totally blown away,” Michael said.
“I now knew that my parents were going to be OK. My little brothers and sisters will be able to grow up and have something they didn’t have before.”
The Beach family felt God calling them to adoption and fostering.
“My parents … since I was in fi rst grade, fostered 85 kids,” Michael said.
“They started being drawn to medically fragile babies and kids that once they leave the system, what do they have left?”
The adopted children range from 2 to 18 years old. One toddler is both deaf and blind. Another child requires 24-hour oxygen.
Many asked why the family would take in children whom many consider unadoptable.
“I want him. He’s a baby. He’s God’s. He is perfect for God’s purpose,” Melissa said in a recorded interview for House of Faith, a Web site supporting the family.
“If his purpose is just to smile, then that is his purpose.”
Recording artist and worship leader Robbie Seay nominated the Beach family for the show. The parents were his high school Sunday school teachers, and he has always supported the family who has influenced him.
“They never lived life about themselves,” Seay said. “They are who they are despite the show and their house. They have always been about loving, giving and serving.”
When host Ty Pennington first arrived with his crew at the Beach home, the family was ecstatic.
“On Jan. 7 we got a knock. You’re so shocked to hear a voice from someone on TV,” Michael Beach said. “The front yard was filled with community members who came to support and help with the project.”
The family was sent to Disney World while the construction took place. Several university staff and students went to the unveiling to join a 4,000 member crowd. Senior art major Lauren Allen was among them.
“The Beach family is so well loved in that community,” she said. “It was an awesome experience to see someone who has given so much to so many people get something in return.”
Andy Evans, a junior sports management major and flat mate of Michael, believes this help is long deserved.
“This family has gone out on a limb with their faith and adoption,” he said.
“They have been trusting God, hoping he would do something.”
Details about the house must remain confidential until the show airs April 4 on ABC.
Now, in their new home, Melissa and Larry are finishing the process of
adopting four more children, this time from Haiti. All the children have lost limbs.
“My parents want to help kids that don’t have what normal kids have,” Michael said.
He is grateful his family no longer has to reside in such stressful living conditions.
“For a while, it was hard watching them living in such a horrible situation when I have it so nice here (at UMHB),” he said. “I didn’t want to go home and see what they were going through, and when I went I never wanted to come back.”
Michael thanks God for his provision, even if he didn’t understand why his family went through everything they did.
He said, “I prayed in the morning, and I wanted it done in the evening, but that’s not how he wanted it.”