Meet Jonah and Jeremiah
Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic: There for Us No Matter What
By Marva Harris, Jonah and Jeremiah’s grandmother and guardian
I’m the grandmother of two of the best grandkids I could ever have. I’m also their guardian and sole provider.
My oldest grandson came to live with me permanently when he was 2 years old, because my daughter was struggling with substance abuse. I also took in his baby brother when he was 8 months old after my daughter relapsed with drugs and alcohol and suffered severe domestic violence.
Today, Jonah, 13, and Jeremiah, 4, are thriving in my home despite their challenges, and I give some of the credit to Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic. It’s the only primary care clinic near my Beacon Hill neighborhood that has medical, dental, mental health and nutrition services under one roof. I call it one-stop shopping and that’s been a lifesaver for me. In my job as a middle school security officer, it’s almost impossible to get away from work. I don’t know what I’d do if I had to run all over the city to take the boys to different doctors’ offices!
“My grandkids’ doctors take the time to find out what’s going on in their lives, not just in their bodies.”
Care for body, mind and spirit
The number one reason the clinic has had such a huge impact on us is that my grandkids’ doctors take the time to find out what’s going on in their lives, not just in their bodies.
When Jonah showed symptoms of ADHD and anxiety, Dr. Shaquita Bell, our primary care provider, didn’t label him. She looked deeper at the root cause of his behavior, and then involved one of Odessa’s mental health counselors to help my grandson cope with the chaos in his mom’s life. She also helps us make sure Jeremiah’s severe food allergies aren’t made worse by this family stress.
And the care at Odessa Brown extends beyond my grandkids.
When we come for checkups, Dr. Bell always asks me, “Marva, how are you doing? What do you need?” The first time she said that, I fell in love with her! She’s not only concerned about the boys, she’s concerned about me. (At 62, it’s not easy to raise kids. The rapport I have with Dr. Bell and the support she offers mean the world to me. She’s a truly remarkable and compassionate caregiver who explains everything in a way that I can understand and makes me feel great about the job I’m doing as a parent.)
Quality care with dignity and respect
When I first brought Jonah to Odessa Brown 13 years ago, I came because the clinic was part of Seattle Children’s and I knew he’d get the best quality of care. Little did I know that we’d still be walking through those doors today, and now the clinic feels like family. Everyone speaks to us. Everyone is warm and friendly. They couldn’t have anyone more amazing than the people who work there already. Also, whether we’re in the waiting room or the exam room, we see people who look like us – and that’s a part of the clinic experience that is very affirming for me and the boys!
It truly takes a village to raise kids, and the care team at Odessa is very important to Jonah and Jeremiah. It sounds funny to say that the clinic means everything to me, too, but it does. I know long after my grandsons are all grown up, I’ll stay connected with Odessa Brown – the place that’s there for us no matter what.
An Update on Jonah and Jeremiah
Jonah and Jeremiah continue to grow – both in stature and in their academic and athletic pursuits.
Today, the boys are active and healthy, with big appetites. They love their grandmother’s cooking, especially her homemade pancakes. And, they can’t get enough uncured, nitrate-free bacon.
Jonah is now 16 and training each day in hopes of playing college basketball. Jeremiah is now 7 and excelling in math and gymnastics. He often plays football and basketball with Jonah – his idol.
Marva, the boys’ grandmother and legal guardian, continues to count on the team at Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, especially Dr. Shaquita Bell, to answer her questions and ensure the boys are getting the best care possible.
“Even in this crazy time, I can email Dr. Bell or call her and she’s there for us no matter what,” Marva says. “She is phenomenal, and I feel so completely blessed to still have her in our lives.”
Read about Jonah and Jeremiah’s journey with Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic: