First Birthday. Part 2- Heather’s Response.

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Aww, Jessica, you just always make me feel so good about myself & I just love you for that! Thank you for always seeing the best in me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for always lifting me up. It seriously has meant the WORLD to me!Jackson’s first birthday party was such a memorable day for so many different reasons. ❤

I was so happy, excited, and thankful that myself and my family were invited to Jackson’s birthday party. Although, I was super nervous, and the reason is totally different than anyone would probably imagine. I wasn’t nervous to see Jackson and his family. I was a little insecure in general about a lot back then, but mostly I was nervous about how my children were going to handle the birthday party, especially my son Marvell. I want to share with you about this time in my life, because it turns out to be very relevant.

So, the year Jackson turned 1, my son Marvell just turned 5, and my daughter Mya turned 3. Marvell at this time was going through a whole lot. He was desperately wanting a father, every single day, to be living in our home.. He didn’t understand why his biological father had to live so far away, he didn’t understand why we couldn’t have a father everyday “like everyone else”… I tried to explain to him that we can’t just go to “build-a-dad” and create a dad to bring home with us.. It was a hard time because I was trying so hard, and never felt good enough in my children’s eyes as a single mother. & then it hurt, because this was the life I created for them, and they weren’t happy. I can’t count how many nights I just held Marvell while he cried because he wanted a “dad” in his life, everyday. I just was open, honest, and loved him as best I knew how, I opened communication up with his biological father through phone calls / video calls. I tried everything possible to keep him going in the right direction, but he was struggling very bad. He was “socially awkward” a lot of the time.. The way he acted in front of me at home was completely different than how he acted in front of family members or out in public, especially around men. He was sometimes emotional but very well behaved with me at home and then would act completely different (very hyperactive and not a good listener) in front of family members or out in public. It was so hard to see him struggle like that, and nobody understood him like I did. Looking back, he really just craved attention. He craved more attention than what I could give him… I thank God he took a liking to school and excelled academically, though.

Throughout that past year, he understood that I carried Jackson inside my tummy and gave him to his parents, Jessica and JJ, once he was born. He asked me many times in that 1st year why he couldn’t have a mom and dad like Jackson did. It hurt my heart every single time, but I stayed strong and just guided him through everything the best I knew how. Mya was just a vibrant, mischievous, free spirited 3 year old little girl, that followed her brother everywhere and did everything he did. She didn’t understand adoption, and didn’t really know what happened with the baby in my tummy the year prior. She is just now starting to understand at 5 years old. That year I struggled so bad thinking that I gave my kids the worst life ever, and how I probably should have given them the life Jackson had. I tried my best though, and I always put my kids first.

So, the Friday before Jackson’s first birthday party – I was at work and got great news. I got a promotion & a raise!! Yay – time to celebrate, right?! So, after I left work that day with a huge smile on my face, I went and grabbed Jackson’s present – that special book I made for him. I was super happy how it turned out. I wanted to create something “simple” for him that could help him discover who he is and how beautiful his story is. A book was the perfect idea, and I found the perfect pictures and the perfect words to go with it. Something he could cherish forever. Something that may help his parents share his story with him. I read it about 10 times while crying in joy before I went to pick up my kids from daycare.

So, I was in “celebration” mode as I picked the kids up from daycare. I just got a promotion, just got a raise, Jackson’s birthday party was that weekend. Nothing could get better. I decided, lets go out to eat as a family – Marvell, Mya & I – something we never did together unless we were with a huge group of extended family. I tried to pick a family restaurant, so I picked IHOP. This was a first for us going out to eat together as a family. I was nervous because every time we went to the grocery store together, they always misbehaved so much, and I didn’t understand why!!! But, I GOT THIS, right?!
So, anyways, we are at IHOP. Things were going pretty good. Our server was a friendly man. When he brought out our food, Marvell all of a sudden out of nowhere, stands on the booth seat and starts yelling loudly, “Daddy, Daddy, are you our daddy??!!! Daddy, daddy!!! Daddy!!” Oh my gosh, I felt all my insides just melting inside me. I’m telling Marvell to stop and pulling him down to sit down. Sure enough Mya stands up on her booth starts laughing so loud screaming, “Daddy, daddy, Daddy”!!! The server was stuck, didn’t know what to do or say. The whole restaurant was just looking at us. I was dying inside. I couldn’t get them to stop, they thought it was so hilarious. I told the server to please just give us our check as soon as possible, and to box up our food. People were giving me the dirtiest looks. It was terrifying, and they would not stop at all.. After we got the boxes, we left and walked to the car. Once we got in the car, I yelled at them to Never, ever, ever, do anything like that again, then I just started crying my eyes out like a little baby. I felt like a failure. Pure failure.

I could not believe what had happened. The kids misbehaved in public so many times before, but not to that degree of attention seeking embarrassment. & the kids didn’t understand my frustration or emotions, obviously, but they quietly watched me cry my eyes out in the car before driving home. When i talked to them about it once we got home, they just said the server man was really nice and they wished he was their dad. That was the peak moment in our lives that I truly understood the affect of a fatherless home was having on my children. I stayed positive, but I was nervous how the birthday party would go. SOO much anxiety about it. Just so overwhelming, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, and I wouldn’t let my kids miss it either. I just didn’t know where to find the strength to carry on after that restaurant experience.

So, the day of Jackson’s birthday party. My family and I all arrive together. The minute we walked through Jessica and JJs door, Marvell awkwardly starts saying loudly, “butthole, butthole, butthole.” I can look back and laugh at it now, but oh my gosh it was so terrifying. Especially coming from Marvell, and everything that happened at the restaurant. I just wanted to run away. Here I am in front of Jackson’s whole family, and my son is yelling butthole over and over again right as we walk through the door. (im seriously thankful these years have allowed me to laugh loudly right now as I’m writing this)… He doesn’t even usually say naughty words. I tried to talk to him, but he threw himself to the ground. I ended up taking him outside right away, just me and him, we went for a walk and talked about what was going on. He said he didn’t know why he acted like that, but he said his heart was pumping really fast because there was so many people there he didn’t know, and he was scared. After talking through it, we tried again and he was okay for the rest of the party. He was definitely nervous, though. I remember sitting there and just feeling so thankful that I had the opportunity to be there. I knew my mom was going through many emotions as well, and Mya was definitely seeking my attention the whole entire party. I wanted to conversate more, I wanted to embrace Jackson more, but everything was a little overwhelming, so I just observed and took the moments in as a blessing. I sat there watching Jackson open his presents with his mama and just felt so much reassurance and pride in my decision. I couldn’t even imagine bringing baby Jackson home a year before that and attempting to be a decent parent to all three of those precious babies. Marvell and Mya are a huge part of the reason why I felt so comfortable in my decision for adoption because my 2 kids needed all that I had to give. My 2 kids were going through so much at age 3 and 5, and adding another baby into our family during that time, i honestly cant even imagine it. It would have been impossible to handle as a single mother at that time. Seeing Jackson receiving the love, care, attention, and support that he deserves is so comforting. God knows what he was doing.

I love Jackson’s family. I will always remember the love, support, and kind words that JJ’s mom, Jodie, extended to me and Marvell that day. It meant so much to me, and provided so much encouragement. Thank you so much Jodie!!!! Jackson’s family are all such wonderful, kind, loving, and accepting people and you feel that in their presence. Jackson is so blessed and I am so incredibly grateful and happy for him every moment of every day, and feel nothing else but that. I count every moment with him and his family as a blessing to me.

I was so excited for Jessica to read the book I made Jackson. I didn’t mean to make her cry, but was happy she was crying tears of joy. Those memories last a lifetime. I’m so happy she enjoyed that book for Jackson. I wasn’t sure if she would accept it, I wasn’t sure if it was too much. I just made it out of love hoping it could help.

Also, I’m happy to say that Marvell has come a very long way since Jackson’s 1st birthday party. Mya and I have, too.

I just want to thank you Jessica, JJ, and all of your family for accepting us and allowing us to be part of your extended family. Thank you for giving me and my family the opportunities to be a part of Jackson’s life. I love you guys so much!

This open adoption journey hasn’t always been easy, it hasn’t always been comfortable for me, I’ve struggled with negative thoughts time and time again. But through it all, Ive grown so much. My kids have grown so much. My definition of love has transformed through it all, and has extended onto my children. I’m grateful.

I know this was long, I just wanted to share what really was going on in my head and heart during Jackson’s 1st bday!

One more thing. To Jackson Lawrence Heesch –
Your mommy is SO RIGHT, Even at 1 years old, you have most definitely made this world a better place.

I love you!

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2 thoughts on “First Birthday. Part 2- Heather’s Response.

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