A mother’s love: Parent shares heartache, joy of adoption

Published 8:46 pm Monday, January 31, 2011

Catherine Brown of Benton Harbor always dreamt of someday having children, but something in her life opened other doors for creating the family that she always wanted.

In 2004, Brown became a foster mother to a newborn baby boy named Dashawn in Benton Harbor.

“I’ve been a foster mother for four years, and didn’t have any foster children at that time,” she said. “So when a social worker called me saying that there was a baby who needed a home, I was more than happy to take him.”

Brown immediately connected with Dashawn, even from the moment she brought him home.

“He just had a look in his eyes, a look that said that he needed a mother to take care of him, and love him unconditionally,” Brown said.

But Brown knew taking care of a child would not be easy, especially when that child had special needs.

“When Dashawn first came to me, he was blind in one of his eyes,” she said. “He would also throw up quite often, and couldn’t keep anything down. I was worried all the time. ”

But despite all of that, Brown still loved Dashawn as her own.

“I didn’t love him any less because of his disability. I knew it would just take a little love to help him get better,” she said.

After caring for Dashawn for a year, Brown didn’t even want to think about giving him up. But something almost prevented her from doing that.

“One day, I received a letter in the mail saying that his birth mother was thinking about reinstating her parental rights,” she said. “I had to go to court in order to fight her. Those were the worse three months of my life. ”

But after months of worrying and waiting, Brown received the news that she had always been waiting for.

“I received another letter saying Dashawn’s birth mother had signed away her rights, and that he was now legally my child,” she said. “I will never forget that day. God had finally blessed me with the gift that I have been dreaming about all my life. ”

Although Brown loved Dashawn very much, she still felt the desire to have more children. Then another door opened up.

“A year later, the social worker called me, and said that she received a call about another newborn baby boy named Caleb who needed a home, and I said that I would be happy to take him,” Brown said.

Even though Brown was used to motherhood, there were still some challenges that she faced.

“Caleb’s mother was on drugs when she was pregnant with him, so he was very underweight,” she said. “He cried all the time because he was going through withdrawls. Now, I had two children who needed special care. Sometimes, I didn’t know what to do, so I prayed and asked God to give me strength to care for these children. ”

After a few months, Brown got used to having two children.

“It was challenging at times, but soon Caleb got comfortable with me, and I got better with taking care of him,” she said. “After a while, we were able to bond more. ”

After a few months, Caleb was still in Brown’s home. Brown wanted to make sure that Caleb was to have a good home for the rest of his life, so she decided to adopt him.

“It wasn’t as difficult trying to adopt Caleb as it was adopting Dashawn,” she said. “His birth mother had already signed away her parental rights, and she wasn’t anywhere to be found. So I could start the adoption proceedings right away. ”

A few years have passed, and Dashawn and Caleb had gotten better since they’ve been adopted.

“Dashawn is now wearing glasses, and is able to see in both of his eyes. He is also wearing braces on both of his legs to help him walk,” Brown said. “He has stopped throwing up, and is now in a special first grade class. Caleb is doing better, too. He has picked up weight, and doesn’t show signs of it in his system. They get along with each other very well. I’m very blessed to have them in my life.”

Brown has some advice to anyone trying to adopt.

“Don’t give up. There are so many children out there who need good homes. They are just waiting for you. “