Father's happiness is a full house

Pat Flanagan and wife Susan are raising one biological, four adopted children
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal features editor
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Pat Flanagan has a full house and a full heart. He and wife Susan are raising five children under the age of 12 at their Auburn home, and they’re always willing to make room for more. The Flanagans have been foster parents for more than five years, working with Placer Kids, a partnership between Sierra Forever Families and Placer County. “The love that they’re bringing to the home and the noise and the banter — the joy fills me up every day,” Pat Flanagan said of his family. “The love that they give, sometimes I feel I should pay them. It’s balanced my life all around. I don’t know what else I would be doing.” Flanagan has three grown children from a previous relationship, and he and Susan, happily married almost 17 years, have one biological son together, 11-year-old Michael. They also have four adopted children. The Flanagans tried for five years to have Michael and didn’t want to wait that long until the next child came along. “Susan decided, and I agreed, she wanted to fill the house,” said Pat Flanagan. The Flanagans adopted Matthew, now 10, in February 2009. “He is a totally important part of our family,” Flanagan said of Matthew. “We don’t remember life without him.” Biological siblings Lilly, 4, Temo, 3, and Gabriel, 2, officially joined the Flanagan family in April 2010. “They are the light of the Flanagans’ lives,” Flanagan said of the three youngest children. “They are so close in age, sometimes they’re triplets.” Flanagan said he and his wife have always made a special place in their family for Michael. “He totally loves the big brother role. It totally fulfills him,” Flanagan said. “We’ve been careful from the start to make Michael the first-born. We opened our home when he was 7, 8 and that’s got to be scary for a kid.” Pat and Susan Flanagan are 66 and 43, respectively. Pat Flanagan — he has three grown children from a previous relationship, as well as 11 grandchildren — said his children don’t see him for his age. “None of these children asked for me to be an aging man,” he said. “It’s kind of like the healthiest midlife crisis I could ever have. It makes me feel young. I’m not looking to change what the clock has done, but it’s just incredible.” Banetta Bacchi, Placer Kids parent liaison, is quite impressed with Flanagan and his family. “I can’t say enough about Pat,”?she said. “He is warm and gentle and so welcoming. He’s loving to his children and he finds fun and humor in all aspects. I think every ounce of energy he has, he pours into his family.” Reach Loryll Nicolaisen at __________ In the know What: Placer Kids monthly orientation for parents interested in fostering and/or adopting children When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. the third Thursday of each month Where: Placer Kids, 11990 Heritage Oak Place, Suite 3, Auburn Info:(530) 887-9982 Good to know: Childcare is available if you call Placer Kids prior to the meeting