Nanette: Darlene Coleman grew up in Mobile, the people who got custody of her lived in Fairhope so she moved here. I don’t know what happened with her parents. She had six kids. Five boys and a girl. She was six months pregnant with another son and started having seizures when she was pregnant. A week ago she drove home from a parenting class in Daphne and had a seizure. She hit a tree on Highway 98 and died from the impact. The baby survived for a few days, but they took him off life support yesterday.
All of these kids are going to make it
The grandmothers have custody of most of the kids and helped raise her children. I have had custody Mckayla since she was 4 days old and she is 15 now. Mckayla’s dad is my son. He was paralyzed from the nipples down after a robbery and I watch him full-time. I also have custody of another daughter he had by a different baby mama. I try to take care of all of them because you do what you have to do. I have to keep going and be strong for everyone. I am hoping to get a voucher from section because we need a home that is wheel chair accessible. If a fire breaks out, it is going to be hard to get out of here. The community has been good reaching out to these kids. The funeral is now paid for and someone just blessed the older boys with a refrigerator. The Fairhope Police called yesterday asking how they can help.
Mckayla: I have been out of school this week helping my brothers make the funeral arrangements. I helped them pick out the casket and what mama should wear. We picked out a white jacket with gold on it and a black skirt and black shirt. My brothers and I are wearing black and white and will all have pink roses. I am the only girl and my brothers are overprotective of me. It hurt when they pulled the plug on my baby brother and he passed away. I got to hold him before they took him off the oxygen.
Annie: We are the three grandmothers who are raising the children of our sons. I have the three youngest boys. We have come too far with the kids to give up. I have God in my life and I have his sprit. I love all people and want to help them. Jakarlin had Guillian Barre Syndrome that paralyzed him. He was in wheelchair for seven months. He is walking now and giving the wheelchair to a person born paralyzed. Look at the beautiful boy. We once thought we were going to lose him.
Sara: The two oldest boys are 18 and 19 and recently moved into this house with Darlene and they are going to stay here. This was Willie Coleman’s house. He was their grandfather and loved those boys. Darlene didn’t pay taxes for a couple of years, so we have to catch up on the taxes so they don’t lose this house. I am 65 and a custodian at Fairhope High School. Their light bill hadn’t been paid, so I took my light bill money and paid their bill so their lights didn’t turn off. At night I ride around my neighborhood watching after kids and praying. The grandmothers come out here and sit in the garage, watching over the grandkids and letting them have time together.
Nanette: Sometimes I feel like I want to give up because I am so tired. I can’t rest at night because I need to be on the porch watching all of the babies. When you are brought up rough and poor, you learn how to survive and have a heart for others. All of these kids are going to make it.
Dawan: I am 19 and work at Foosackly’s. I am now the head of our family. The one to be a role model for my brothers and to protect my sister. I am a little worried about doing that right because I don’t have the role models and mentors in my own life.
Darlene Campbell’s funeral is at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Christian Valley Church on Young Street in Fairhope.
If you want to help, here are a few needs for the children.
The home needs repairs. The front and back doors are broken and it needs work on the inside. Dawan would like a concrete slab poured for a dog pen for his dog Nova who is chained next to a dog house in the back yard. He said he will help pour concrete and with all repair work.
The house also needs a washer and dryer and a microwave. Furniture, dishes, pots and pans. The younger boys need bunk beds.
Jakarlin is 12 and needs cleats and gloves for football.
Kaleb is 13 and needs basketball tights (size 14-16), arm sleeves, and basketball shoes, size 8 1/2
Cameron is 18 and studying for his GED. He is looking for a job pouring concrete.