At the age of 5, Dawn Campbell told her mom that she was going to bring home all of the little children from around the world who didn’t have parents.
“She thought it was just a casual comment because I was a tender-hearted child,” Dawn remembers. “But really it was the Lord planting a passion for adoption in my heart that many years ago.”
Transformed by the increase of love
Dawn and her husband, Keith, have answered God’s call to help those in need through adoption five times. Though they live in Florida, they have adopted two children with Down Syndrome from Catholic Charities’ Pregnancy and Adoption Support here in the Diocese of Arlington.
Dawn, a former special education teacher, and Keith, a youth pastor and worship leader, have three biological children and have affectionately welcomed five adopted children into their home as well.
Raising a large family, including three “little ones” with special needs presents daily challenges for Dawn and Keith. However, they also deal with many of the same struggles that you might experience: the urgency of finding the right pants for t-ball, the overflowing laundry baskets, the arduous process of getting a teenager out of bed in the mornings.
But the Campbells wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We have been transformed by the increase of love in our family that has come through these adoptions,” Dawn said. “Our older children have embraced them as sisters and brothers and not just children who need homes. We are doing things with God that we didn’t think we could do.”
“Catholic Charities couldn’t have made it more comfortable”
Dawn and Keith first adopted through our Pregnancy and Adoption Support program in 2008. Kaleb was in the neonatal ICU at Fairfax Hospital with Down Syndrome. Because it was a special needs adoption, Catholic Charities was having difficulty finding a family to adopt him. Dawn said she couldn’t stand knowing that there was a baby in the ICU with no one visiting him.
They drove to Virginia to meet Kaleb, but a hurricane was brewing off the coast of Florida. Keith drove home abruptly as a precaution, leaving Dawn in Virginia. But with Catholic Charities at the helm of the adoption process, Dawn wasn’t alone. A Catholic Charities social worker drove Dawn to and from the hospital, brought her dinner and helped her buy plane tickets—for her and Kaleb—for a flight home to Florida.
“They couldn’t have made it more comfortable,” Dawn recalls. “I have talked to other friends who have gone through the adoption process, and they are amazed by the amount of attention we received from the staff at Catholic Charities.”
No unwanted children, only un-found homes
When Catholic Charities called again in March 2012 with another baby boy, Elias, with Down Syndrome, the entire Campbell family prayed about it and then said absolutely.
Dawn and Keith were on their way to Virginia again.They wanted to step in and adopt children that other people find it hard to take care of.
The Campbells are convinced that there are no unwanted children, only un-found families. They believe that adopting children into their home mimics Christ’s spiritual adoption of his followers.
“We are all adopted into His kingdom, so this is a chance for us to live out what we believe.”
If you would like more information on adoption or are experiencing a crisis pregnancy, please call our Pregnancy and Adoption Support program at 703-425-0100 or visit our website.