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DeWitt mom received financial help in own daughter's adoption, opens thrift store to help fund other families' adoption fees | Jefferson Awards

Thanks to a generous family member, an Iowa mom was able to adopt. Now, she's paying it forward by helping cover other families' adoption fees.

DEWITT, Iowa — An Iowa mom who was able to adopt her daughter thanks to the generosity of a family member, has now opened a clothing store where 100% of the proceeds go to help families pay for the costs of adoption. 

Brittany Berrie, a mom of three in DeWitt, opened The Adopted Closet in 2021 after she adopted her 11-year-old daughter, Gracie.

Gracie was born to one of Berrie's relatives, and Berrie has taken care of her since she was only a few days old.

Berrie said she and her long time partner, Branden Johnson, had talked frequently about adopting Gracie but did not think they could afford it. That changed when Berrie went to a family wedding where a cousin offered to cover the costs.

“She said 'When you get home, you need to hire an attorney because I'm paying for everything you need to adopt her,'” Berrie said.

Berrie said throughout the adoption process, she struggled with how to appropriately thank her cousin. 

“The feeling of what Casey gave to us was not signed checks. It was permanent. It took away so much anxiety. It was a lot of weight lifted. A lot of relief because I know she would never be taken out of our hands,” Berrie said.

Berrie decided to thank her by paying it forward and paying for another family's adoption. Berrie transformed her garage into The Adopted Closet, a thrift store, with all the proceeds aimed at paying the kindness forward and the donations started pouring in.

“It was like a flood. The community rallied around us and we would go outside and there would be boxes and bags of clothes or people would call us. We’d have to go pick the stuff up,” Berrie said.

The proceeds from the store covered the adoption fees of one local family and paid for all the balances on National Adoption Day in Scott County, creating nine new families in Iowa. 

“I’m the purpose for all of this. If I wasn’t here then none of this would happen so I’m happy I get to do this and be a part of this,” daughter Gracie Johnson said.

The Adopted Closet will open up again in April in Dewitt.

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