Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dawn Brand: A heart's desire to be a mom

Do you ever question God when life doesn't seem to be going exactly how you think it should be going?  Why didn't I get that promotion?  Where is my financial windfall?  Why don't I get a Mr./Miss Right?  Why does she get to have a baby?

Yep.  We have all done it and can list questions as personal as our real weight and not what we list on a driver's license:)  (It's a goal, right?!)

Dawn Brand has been there.

She loves children.  In fact, she is the Minister of Preschool at Trinity Baptist Church in Lake Charles.  Dawn says it was her heart's desire to become a mom one day.  During her 20s and early 30s, she watched friends get married and have babies.  Where was her Prince Charming?  Why would God give her a desire to be a mom and not give her a husband?

Isaiah 55:9: "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are MY ways higher than your ways and MY thoughts than your thoughts."

Doesn't our loving Father always have the best plan in store for us, even when we can't see it?

Dawn will tell you she knows that, but it took a little time to see His creative plan.

"I never really considered adoption," said Dawn, "because I wanted to have the child.  Adoption really wasn't an option."

The dream of a family was put on the back burner for a few years, but Dawn said she never stopped praying about it.  Then came one of those left field texts from a friend one morning, "She said, 'I was cleaning my bathrooms and had a thought.  Have you ever considered adoption through foster care?'" said Dawn, "That was the spark that started it all."

Dawn said she began rethinking what mommy-hood could look like for her.  She said James 1:27 illustrated that a caretaker of orphans does not need to be married.

James 1:27: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress."

That was three years ago and Dawn enrolled in the certification classes through the Department of Children & Family Services.  She got a crib, the blankets, the baby necessities - all she needed was the child God had for her.

Dawn knew she wanted to experience raising a child from as young as a baby if possible.  "In Louisiana, you can do race, age and gender.  You can tell them basically what you want and I did under two, girl and race didn't matter, because it doesn't to me."

Dawn said she wanted to raise "a little lady that would love the Lord."

Just a few months after completing the home study and certification process, Dawn got a call about a three-month-old baby girl that needed a home.  From the beginning, she knew that this child was not her child.  The infant's biological parents were doing what they were required to in order to regain custody.
Dawn took on the late night feedings, tears, firsts and nurturing - for this season.

Six months later, the little girl went back to her biological parents.  Dawn said it was hard.  "I would've adopted her in a heartbeat, but I knew she wasn't mine.  Still, that didn't help the heartache."

A roller coaster.

Regardless of whether your adoption plan is through foster care, private domestic or international adoption, 100 percent of the parents I have talked to say it is an emotional roller coaster.  Dawn says you have to prepare your heart for that and it took a few months until she was receptive to another placement.  "My heart needed time to heal," she said. 

Then, the call came.

Dawn's case worker said a two-day-old girl, not even weighing five pounds needed a home.  She was also told the child was an African-American girl and her biological mother used cocaine throughout the pregnancy.

Dawn didn't think twice.

She named the baby girl Lakeyn and was in love from the first moment she saw her.  The first few weeks were tough, as Lakeyn's tiny body tremored working through the cocaine in her system.

Dawn had some friends ask the "what ifs" about a drug-exposed baby.  "I said, 'You don't know the what ifs about a biological child,'" said Dawn.  "Would you not be willing to walk that road with your child if you knew it could be hard?  I'm willing to walk the road if this is my child and God will help me get through."

Lakeyn will turn two in a few weeks and she is developmentally off the charts!  She is pure joy, sunshine and smiles.

It took nearly 16 months for her adoption to be finalized, but Lakeyn is officially Dawn's for all of her earthly days.

"A lot of times people say that she's one blessed little girl," said Dawn.  "I know that I'm one blessed mommy.  With a heart's desire to be a mom, she's made my life complete."

Check out Dawn's story that aired as part of The New Family Tree on KPLC-TV.


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