Photos by Rachel Von Stroup | The Journal Gazette DeWana Green reads her book “Vonny B and Me” with her 7-year-old son Caleb – the inspiration for the story – by her side during a recent reading and book signing at Barnes & Noble at Jefferson Pointe.
“Vonny B and Me,” is the first in a five-part series based on Caleb, who has special needs after a severe brain injury when he was 3 years old.
Tuesday, July 16, 2019 1:00 am
City native's 2nd book
Tells tale of dog that won't listen to her, just son
TERRI RICHARDSON | The Journal Gazette
DeWana Green decided a long time ago that she would write her own story.
Writing has always been an outlet for her even when she was young and faced some pretty big hardships.
The Fort Wayne native spent a number of years in foster care, became emancipated when she was 16, pregnant when she was 17 and found herself homeless.
But Green had bigger plans for herself.
“I didn't want to be on welfare and trying to take care of a child,” she says by phone from her home in Houston. “(I) wanted to go to college, make a better life for myself and my son.”
So she went to then IPFW and later transferred to Purdue University with her son and graduated with a degree in psychology, later getting her master's in health care administration.
“It's just been uphill from there,” Green says. “(It's) not without bumps, but for the most part (I've) been able to maintain.”
Green, who will turn 44 this month, used her writing abilities to pen her first book, “Courageous Me: Everything is Going to be Alright,” which focuses on growing up in foster care and explaining foster care from a child's perspective.
Green lived in more than 20 different foster homes, five long-term treatment facilities, three group homes and dealt with the pain that many foster children have of people constantly giving up on them. She says her foster parents encouraged her to write the book as way to help other foster kids. “That was my gift back,” she says.
Now she has published a second book, “Vonny B and Me,” that is about a little boy with learning disabilities and the special bond he has with his new puppy.
The story is loosely based on Green's 7-year-old son, Caleb, who has special needs after suffering a traumatic brain injury when he was 3. The family got a dog and the dog doesn't listen to Green, but will listen to her son, she says. When she realized the dog's unwillingness to listen to her, she thought, “I need to write about this.” She thought children would love to read about a dog that doesn't listen to the mom, but listens to the kid.
It is the first book in a five-book series.
Her son was with her when she made a return to Fort Wayne for a book signing in June. Green says her son is loving the fact that the book is based on him.
“It has done so much for him,” she says. “He feels like he came up with the idea.”
Some of Green's most fulfilling moments are when she is able to talk to kids, those who live the life like she did, and let them know “there's a place for me other than where I am right now,” Green says.
Green says she succeeded “because someone told me I could do it.”
Teachers, Green says through tears, gave her the “idea that I could be different.”
“I am where I am at today because of great teachers,” she says. “I had great teachers in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to help me get to where I am today.”
And where's she's at today is working full-time in biotech, being a mom to her three kids – her oldest son is in California and she has a 16-year-old, writing books and being an inspiration to others, especially those who have been knocked down in life.
Her own mantra has been not to give up.
“We won't give up in life,” Green says. “We keep doing everything we want to do. It's all about reaching that goal.”
Terri Richardson writes about area residents and happenings that affect their lives in this column that publishes every other week. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 461-8304.