Heather’s Comments.

In case you didn’t see Heather’s comments to yesterday’s post. I have posted them up there. As you can see, we have a mutual love and respect for each other that I hope never fades!!

Wow, Jessica. God is SOO great. I have so many comments about this post.

1. You are SO right when you say being a parent “it is all about your child”.. & to know that, understand that, and live that requires so much strength and love. & where does all of our strength and love come from? Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.. I can’t, and don’t want to even imagine where we would be in this journey without him. After all, we are in this journey BECAUSE of him!

2. I totally just imagined you singing “Hit me with your best shot, fire away” and laughed out loud. You are so funny – I just love it!

3. I also love how close we have gotten this year.
****** I just have to share: for me, it was a combination of everything that you mentioned. My whole life, I had a BAD habit of “folding in” when I’m going through tough times. & In the past, I allowed myself to distance myself from you three, and a lot of other loved ones, too.. During that time, I would reach out sparingly, but got so caught up in my darkness, didn’t respond or reach out for awhile at all. You continued to reach out to me with nothing but love. Over and over again. You loved me unconditionally, no matter what, and made sure I knew that.. How STRONG & LOVING you guys were for that! & I’ll forever be grateful in my heart for that unconditional love you showed me. YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO DO THAT – BUT YOU DID! I want you to know I never stopped thinking about you all, I was just struggling SO MUCH with my self worth…But, as I was rolling through life everyday feeling like a failure and feeling weak, you would continue to reach out to let me know that you all loved me and that was never going to change.. God works in the most mysterious of ways. I was struggling with this little thought brewing in my mind that Jackson’s better off without me – that all I would do is fail him….& THAT IS A LIE!! & I’m happy that I have completely kicked that thought to the curb! Within the last year, I did realize a lot about my role as a birth mom. Between watching documentaries about adoption, to actually having the opportunity to hear a birth son speak. & as the darkness was fading away in my life, I was praying that I hadn’t destroyed our relationship, as I realized my role in Jackson’s life is extremely important and I valued our friendship. We all had went through a lot that past year, but when we reunited, it did SOO MUCH for me.. The mutual respect, understanding, and love that we all have and show each other comes straight from our God, I truly believe that. & then this blog you started – has brought us so close together. This blog has done SO MUCH for me, more than anyone could understand…. It has strengthened our bond, overall has helped my self worth when I needed a boost the absolute MOST.. As tears fall right now, I can’t explain to you how much I am grateful for the decision I made, for my eyes being wide open, for being Jackson’s birth mom, and having you and JJ as my friends- you seriously are role models for me!*****

4. When you bring up some of the struggles Jackson is having in life, it just amazes me. It always amazes me, because when you talk about it, I literally have gone through the same exact thing with one of my babies at one point in time. I try my hardest to remember everything I tried, and what was successful. It feels so great being able to help you in that way. Being able to provide that for Jackson.
Something that I have recently allowed to completely take over my view on parenthood is this STRONG fact — I NEED to be emotionally healthy in order to be the best parent I can be.. So, even though I believe you and JJ are ten steps ahead of me when it comes to the “healthy department”, I love to provide any reassurance I possibly can for you…. Reassuring you that I JUST KNOW he will overcome this struggle or that struggle just like how my child did….. & telling you as much as I can about the rainbows that come after the storms because they definitely do come… I spent so much time in my past WORRYING about my child (which all parents do – but i went overboard many times and drove myself crazy)…. I often thought that there was something wrong with my child, or that I was doing something wrong and was failing. That stress, anxiety, and worry was often extremely overwhelming for me, and definitely didn’t help at all. I don’t want any of that for you guys AT ALL! I am happy to provide some calm for you guys. SO, SO HAPPY to do that!

5. When our time together comes to an end, I just want to hang out more, too! I love spending time together. I love watching you guys be parents, it melts my heart and makes me feel proud of my decision. I love being in Jackson’s presence – just having the opportunity to watch him. He’s such an amazing kid & you guys are such amazing parents! I always wish I could talk more with just you and JJ, too. We get so caught up in the kids, of course!

6. That picture is so awesome, and definitely displays what open adoption should be, and as tears flow down ONCE AGAIN, I feel so blessed. I love how comfortable Jackson is with Marvell, and how he looks up to him. I love how Mya, (who rarely EVER gives hugs – ask anyone) made sure she gave Jackson a hug goodbye. Our story really is so beautiful, and Jackson is the core of it all. ❤ He is so special. & I’m reminded over and over again, how I made the best decision I could have ever made. & God has NOT failed me, just like he promised.

I LOVE YOU ALL!

 

Party on the Pavement.

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Mya  Jackson  Marvell  Cora

I’ve been struggling with the words to write on this post. Not because it is hard to write about but because it is hard to put into words what it is like to be with Heather and her family. And not hard in the way most people would assume.  I can imagine most of you are thinking, and I have even been told “I don’t think I could that,”  “I don’t think I could see them all the time,” or “I don’t think I could have an open adoption like that.” Well first of all, all those questions and statements include the word “I” and having a child whether biological or adoptive should NEVER include the word “I.” It isn’t about you, it is about your child. But those questions and thoughts never cross my mind. It’s hard for me to find the words because my heart is so extremely full and I can’t seem to find the words to put those feelings onto paper. So, here we go, I will give it my best shot (as I was typing this I busted out in song “Hit me with your best shot, fire away”). Continue reading “Party on the Pavement.”

Mom’s Comment

 

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Oh, this is/was me!!!

And if you haven’t seen my mom’s comment either on the “Moving Forward” blog, I will post it here for you all to see. Why? Because I think we all need to be reminded that no matter how old you are,  no matter your circumstances, no matter your situation, no matter your mood, no matter what, you need your mom!! Well, at least I do!! Continue reading “Mom’s Comment”

Let’s Get Personal- Again!

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While I am at it, I am going to voice my opinion about one other thing, sort of related to this blog and this journey. I don’t know where our society went wrong,  but it is not ok to ask anyone, at any point, when they are going to have a baby. I remember being asked that question and still being asked that question and it is one of the most offensive, personal questions out there. Continue reading “Let’s Get Personal- Again!”

Baby Dedication.

Sorry for lack of posts last week, we had one sick little boy at our house and that just breaks this momma’s little heart. But, we are back in full swing and ready to share another adventure with you all. After we left Heather and her grandma after the termination of parental rights hearing and our lunch with them, we didn’t have any plans to see Heather in place. We knew it would happen, but we had no idea when that specific time would be. Continue reading “Baby Dedication.”

Moving Forward.

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I know, I know, I am getting there but I just wanted to touch on one more thing before I continue on our journey of exploring our open adoption. I don’t know if I was more hurt (and mad, no, not just mad, I was pissed) by losing Julianna or losing the idea of becoming a family of four. But whatever one it was, it changed me, it changed us. Continue reading “Moving Forward.”

Failure.

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I want this blog to be about the ups, downs, struggles, joys, etc. of parenting our son, Jackson. And I am sure you are all anxious to hear about how long it was before we saw Heather again. However, it has been brought to my attention that exactly this time last year, we were presented with the option of adopting another baby. Continue reading “Failure.”

Brag Moment.

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One of my favorite pictures of us, EVER!!!

One of the reasons I wanted to start this blog was to share in the hard times, the good times, the fun times, and simply just the joys of raising Jackson, who we just happen to be raising in an open adoption. But there would not be the three of us, without the two of us. So I would like to take a little time to brag about my husband. Also, if this post sounds different than my previous posts or has any spelling and/or grammatical errors, it is because my editor (my husband) did not read or correct this one for me. I did it behind his back!!!

In fact, 17 years ago today I said I would exclusively date JJ. What the heck did I know about dating at the young age of 15? Who knows.  If you were to ask my mom she would tell you the moment she met JJ she knew I was going to marry him. And if I am honest with all of you I didn’t know I was going to marry him even after I said yes when he proposed. Marriage doesn’t exactly have a good reputation or long standing in my family. In fact, I was frightened to get married. That once I got married it would fall apart and I would lose JJ forever. But I couldn’t have been farther from the truth.

In fact, I was talking to my intern the other day (who is done for the summer, ugh, bummer!) about my college and career path. As I was telling her that I went to University of Wisconsin-Baraboo, because JJ did. I worked at the bank, because JJ did, etc. I realized I have followed in his footsteps ever since I was a teenager. And I am ok with that. Not because I think my career, my passions or dreams are any less greater than JJ’s but simply because I would follow him anywhere he led me.  Jesus talks about how a man should love his wife as Christ loves the church. I have never in my life felt any less love from JJ, in fact, I have probably felt more love from him with each passing year. And that is why I would follow him, because he first loved me. I would follow him until the ends of the earth if I had to, simply just to be with him.

We took an uphill/downhill course to get where we are today. In those 17 years we have graduated high school, went to college (one of us three times!), got married, struggled with infertility, bought our first house, sold our first house, moved away from home, lost our first dog, lost a dear friend, switched careers (one of us three times!), got baptized together, found a new church home, left that same church, found another church,  bought and sold another house, had our first baby, grew closer together, grew closer to God, grew as a family and through it all we held on to each other.

I simply cannot imagine raising our son or being married to anyone else. As clique as it sounds, I love him because he completes me. We are so incredibly different, it is sort of funny. He is usually the sound reasoner behind all of my crazy ideas. He is patient, very patient, with me and Jackson. He is quiet to most- but not to me which makes me feel special. He makes me laugh. Because he is so quiet most think he is not very funny. But to me he is incredibly funny, like make me laugh so hard I cry funny. He has an incredible work ethic, which has been proven to come in the way of his family time here and again but he corrects it when it gets out of hand. He has a love for the Lord, which I admire most about him. He strives every day to be like his father, a legacy to a lot of people. He fights for what he believes in. He is passionate about our finances, which of course I love (he is also starting a blog about this!!!). He cares about his students but not only his students but students all over the state/country. He is smart, really smart. In fact I have told him last year, and didn’t mean it offensively, I didn’t know you were that smart!! He provides for Jackson in every aspect of life, financially, emotionally, etc. I simply love him.

I have struggled with many things in my life but loving JJ has never been one of them.

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Heather’s Post on Termination of Parental Rights

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If you haven’t seen Heather’s comment about how she felt the day her rights to Jackson were terminated, I have posted it below. And let me tell you, I didn’t think it was going to be that hard to sit through either.

This is very personal to share, but it’s raw truth.

Terminating my parental rights was extremely emotional. If you’ve been reading through these blogs & comments, you know that I knew Jackson was Jessica & JJ’s all along. PERIOD…. So, “legally” signing over my parental rights over to them wasn’t going to be a huge problem for me, because they were always his parents (in my eyes).

I DIDN’T IMAGINE IT BEING THAT HARD, THOUGH…
I am the type of person who was trained (by life) to always prepare for the worst, no matter what. Because the worst DOES happen, and it hits you like FIRE when you are not prepared! & that FIRE can do immense amount of damage.

I HAD TO PREPARE FOR THE WORST in this situation.
I had to sit down, and prepare myself for the emotions that came with “what if”…
“what if” JJ & Jessica haven’t been genuine this whole entire time?
“what if” they were faking their love just to make sure I signed my rights over?
“what if” once I sign over my rights, they just disappear.
“what if” I never see Jackson again?
“what if” his parents feel it’s best Jackson doesn’t know who I am at all?
That was THE WORST..

Even though, on this day, little baby Jackson showed up to the courtroom with a onesie which read “I my birth mom”….Even though, deep down, I knew that the “what ifs” were nothing to truly worry about because I just knew the worst wouldn’t happen.. No, not this time!

But, I prepared myself for the worst, anyways.. I had to make myself be comfortable with the thought of Jackson and his parents disappearing and just having faith that one day he might find me if he wanted to.
My only hope was that he knew how much I loved him, no matter where he was. That his birth mom, Heather, loved him. SO MUCH, and always will..
So when the judge kept repeatedly bringing up my worst fear over and over and over again, it was like being stabbed a little tiny bit in the heart but I was ready for it. I prepared myself for the “WHAT IFS”….

It’s hard when you put yourself in a position where you are forced under the spotlight. Privacy completely goes out the window, & in order to succeed, you must stay strong.

The feeling of being judged was the worst part of that experience…
Sitting up on that stand, being asked question after question after question after question!
Trying my hardest to hold back my emotions.
Sharing very personal details about a time in my life I was not very proud of.
That lifestyle kept flashing through my mind as I was sitting there on that stand, with all eyes on me.

Every night, drinking until I couldn’t think or feel anymore.
Drinking, drinking, drinking the pain away.
Drinking, because it was fun.
Drinking until all morality went out the window.
Having casual sex with someone I didn’t even know…
Drowning in depression… Just SO lost in this world…
It all led me to that place, to that moment, on that stand…
& all of that was just swarming my brain all at once.

I’ve been judged all my life.
By people who don’t even know me at all. & they didn’t care to, but they always had an opinion.
By family who obviously know who I am but don’t have the slightest idea of anything beneath the surface.
By “friends” who aren’t really my friends, yet people who just like to talk about me..

Mostly, I’ve been judged by people who NEVER took an opportunity to TRY to understand me or get to know me, for who I AM.
All they saw were my shortcomings. Constantly.

On that stand, in that courtroom, I was shaking at the thought of people judging me (again), and when I went home it made me so angry that I allowed the judgment of others to affect me THAT MUCH.
It was an eye opener! A blessing in disguise.

I used to take judgments so personally, but after that day on that stand, I no longer let the judgments of others get to me like how I used to.
Now, the only judgments I allow to truly “get to me” are my OWN or from people who I know truly LOVE me unconditionally.

I do want to say that I am extremely happy that Jessica and JJ were there when I terminated my parental rights. For 1, I got to see them again with baby Jackson. 2, I definitely felt less alone with them being there. 3, the vision of them right in front of me during the proceedings gave me a constant reminder of WHY I was doing what I was doing..

& 4 – Being there altogether meant a lot to me. Ultimately, it’s all about Jackson & it’s all about him having the best life possible.
Sticking together for him through all the hard times, the good times, the sad times, the fun times. It’s all about him, and building that relationship together for Jackson is just amazing because he needs that.

#OpenAdoption #Strength #StickingTogether

Just as a side note, the “what ifs” Heather mentions above, never, ever crossed our minds. We may not know what this open adoption will look like forever, but what we do know is that we will do our very best to do what is best for Jackson and right now, we believe having an open adoption with Heather and her family is what is best for Jackson.