Teacher opens her home & heart to adopt a boy with Down syndrome after he lost his mother to cancer
By Logan Wamsley
There are few actions more selfless in this world than opening up your life and home to those in need when you least expect it.
Four years ago, Kerry Bremer, who had just moved to Massachusetts from Florida a few months before, found herself in such a position.
Kerry is a special education teacher at the CASE Collaborate school. It was there she met Jake Manning, a wonderful 14 year-old boy with Down Syndrome. They connected almost instantly, and Jake’s affinity for his new teacher was quickly noticed by his mom, Jean.
Little did Kerry know, however, Jake’s world was soon going to be turned upside down. Jean was terminally ill, and knowing she only had a few months left, she was increasingly worried about what might become of her son when she was no longer there.
Although she did have supporting relatives, no one she knew was in a position to offer Jake a home.
After discovering Jean’s condition, Kerry realized that she just might be the salvation Jean needed.
So, one day, if there was no other option available and the worst comes to pass, Kerry asked her if her family could take guardianship of Jake.
With tears in her eyes, Jean nodded yes. “She said, ‘I’ll sleep better tonight than I have in a very long time,’” Kerry recalled in an interview with TODAY Parents. “Her biggest fear was what would happen to Jake after she passed.”
“None of us ever questioned whether this was the right thing to do,” said Kerry. “We just knew it was the only thing to do. I fell in love with Jake instantly. I knew he would need a home and there was no way I wouldn’t open our arms to him.”
The transition was made with great care as Jean made her final arrangements. “We would take Jake to appointments together and celebrate holidays together. Jean called him ‘our son,’” said Kerry.
“Jean was the selfless one,” she continued. “She faced a horrific battle and yet she only thought about making sure her son was well taken care of for the rest of his life. She shared her boy with our family and prepared him for life after she was gone.”
For the family’s part, they couldn’t be more thrilled to have Jake be a part of their life. Along with Kerry’s husband Dave and their three children Kristen, 21 Jonathon, 19, and Kaitlyn, 16 they now consider themselves a happy family of six. “We love Jake with all our hearts,” said Kerry. “I believe my own children love him more than each other.”
Jake’s love for his new family is contagious and never ceases to brighten the day. “He brings so much love and laughter to our family,” said Kerry. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sunshine and roses, he has his moments, as does any teenager.
But with Jake, when it’s over, it’s really over and he is right back to making you feel like the most important person in the world.”
Jake now has a new family, and the family now has Jake. Blessings, as they always do, go both ways.
You can support this beautiful family by visiting this GoFundMe page.