Taking Responsibility for a Child, Then Raising Five More

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Bridgett Webb, 47, took in her niece, Shanequa, as a newborn. Ms. Webb, who had a daughter six years ago, also helps Shanequa, who has developmental delays, raise her four children. James Estrin/The New York Times

Twenty-three years ago, in a hospital maternity ward, Bridgett Webb made a pivotal choice.

The health of her newborn niece, Shanequa Webb, was precarious, jeopardized by the actions of Ms. Webb’s sister, the girl’s mother, who had used crack cocaine during her pregnancy. Foster care for the newborn was imminent.

“They asked me if I could care for her, and I said, ‘Can I do this?’ ” Ms. Webb, now 47, recalled. “I was standing there and the lady said, ‘I’ll give you a week.’ I decided I shouldn’t even wait a week. This is my blood, this is my niece. I walked up and the Lord just told me, ‘Take her.’ ”

The baby became a beloved daughter to Ms. Webb.

Raising her was no easy feat. Shanequa has contended with depression and developmental delays all of her life.

The rockiest moment in their relationship occurred six years ago, when they realized Shanequa, still a teen, was pregnant with twins.

Now “I look at them as if they were my very, very own,” Ms. Webb says of the dominant role she plays in bringing up her grandchildren.

Read their story in The New York Times.

Find out how Catholic Charities is helping this family thrive despite the challenges they face.

 

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