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Being There for Dawn & Kayden 

Dawn and her grandson, Kayden.

Seven years ago, Dawn was posed with the biggest decision of her life when her son’s ex-girlfriend approached her, telling her she was pregnant and unsure what to do unless Dawn wanted to adopt the child. Dawn was her grandchild’s only hope, with neither parent able to care for him at that time.

With the support of her own mother, who ran a daycare for over 40 years, Dawn felt confident in taking responsibility for raising her grandchild. Dawn attended all of the doctor’s appointments and was there for the birth of her grandson, Kayden. Dawn had custody as soon as Kayden was born. Less than a year later, Dawn’s mother unexpectedly passed away, leaving her to face this journey alone. Dawn grieved the loss of her mother and worried about raising Kayden alone, not knowing who or where to turn to for help. She was first referred to Easterseals Vermont’s Post Permanency Program when she applied to daycare for Kayden when he was an infant.  

Today, Dawn can’t imagine her or Kayden’s life without the support of Easterseals VT and Post Permanence Support Provider Jo Ann. Jo Ann first supported Dawn by helping find resources to help make Kayden’s adoption official in June of 2017. From there, she has been with Dawn and Kayden through all of life’s seasons. “It’s hard to raise a kid when you don’t feel great yourself, Jo Ann is a huge support system. She helps me advocate for Kayden and myself,” Dawn shared.  

Jo Ann is involved in many aspects of Dawn and Kayden’s life and is an advocate for getting Kayden connected with resources. Jo Ann attends Kayden’s school meetings and has arranged support for his sensory issues, gotten him screened for Autism, and ensured he receives Occupational Therapy. She makes these difficult processes a little easier by standing alongside Dawn, helping her navigate these situations.  

Kayden has begun asking many questions about his life like many children who are adopted. Jo Ann has helped create Kayden’s life book to help him understand his life story. This also includes strengthening family relationships with Kayden’s older sister Calliope, and his biological parents as they go through cycles of being involved in his life. 

“Honestly, I would be lost without Jo Ann. She is truly a lifesaver,” says Dawn. With steadfast support from Easterseals VT’s Post Permanency Program and Jo Ann, Dawn never has to worry about facing post-adoptive challenges or supporting Kayden alone.