After 14-year-old Jake tragically lost his mother to cancer, he found a loving family in the Bremers.
Last week, special education teacher Kerry Bremer officially became a mother of four when she adopted 14-year-old Jake Manning, a boy with Down syndrome who sadly lost his mom, Jean Manning, to cancer recently. Kerry knew for sure she wanted to be his guardian a few months after he joined her class. The teacher had the difficult and heartwrenching conversation with his mother four years ago. Though she initially thought she was overstepping, Jake's mom was glad to accept the offer, Today.com reports.
Kerry met Jake and his mom when she moved to Massachusetts from Florida. The teen, then ten years old, was one of her students at the CASE Collaborative School. When she learned about his family situation, she just knew she had to offer to adopt him. She told Today.com, "I said, ‘I may be overstepping here and forgive me if I am, but my family and I would like to offer guardianship for Jake if you need a backup plan.'" With tears in her eyes, Jean was immensely happy to accept the offer and nodded her head yes. As you would expect, she wasn't quite sure about what her plan was. Though she had supportive relatives, no one had to special expertise to raise a boy with Down syndrome in the way that Kerry did.
The teacher shared, "She said, 'I’ll sleep better tonight than I have in a very long time.' Her biggest fear was what would happen to Jake after she passed." As for Kerry, she didn't second-guess herself. She knew she wanted to adopt Jake almost instantaneously. "I fell in love with Jake instantly," she explained. "I knew he would a need a home and there was no way I wouldn't open ours to him." Earlier this month, she was finally able to welcome him to his new home, already filled with his toys and clothes from countless sleepovers. He now has Kerry's three children—Kristen, 21, Jonathan, 19, and Kaitlyn, 16—as siblings. However, the process wasn't easy.
Kerry explained, "We would take Jake to appointments together and celebrate holidays together. Jean called him ‘our son.' That must have been so hard for her, to be planning for her death, but she did a beautiful job. She was so courageous." Nonetheless, Kerry, her husband Dave, and Jean, all worked together in order to make the transition as easy, seamless, and painless as possible. Now, he calls Dave, "Dave the Dad," and feels right at home with the Bremer family, his family. Kerry stated, "It feels weird to be getting this attention. We never thought twice about it. I loved this kid so much. He has done more for us than we could ever do for him."