From Heather.

22552775_10155864621504413_6653505453604240930_nOh my goodness, y’all, I wish I could explain in words what it means to receive these writings from Heather. I didn’t know what to expect when we chose to have an open adoption but I can tell you I certainly was not expecting this. She opens my eyes to a whole new world. She inspires me to want more out of live. She has changed me. And her words are always so beautiful and inspiring. So very glad we get to share with you our journey from her point of view! Enjoy!

Heather

The other day, I was just telling a friend about Jessica and JJ and how much they mean to me. It brought me back to reminiscing on how God led me to them, and I want to share that whole story. I’ve told the story about how God spoke to me in church and made a believer out of me. Then, I walked out that same day on a mission to fulfill what God told me to do – find THE family for the child growing inside me. It was all so overwhelming. For the next month after that day, I constantly thought about what I was called to do – in between working full time and being a full time mother. At night, I would lay down and think, “wow, God, is this for real?” I was still sort of in awe of God and how he SPOKE to me!!!!!… Every night, I would pray and read my bible and go to sleep, but I wouldn’t do anything in regards to finding that family. I would pray for God to help me, because I honestly had no idea where to even start. At times, I felt kind of confused and felt like the whole thing was going to be IMPOSSIBLE, it all felt surreal. God called me to do this BIG THING, and I felt so small. I was also afraid. I was afraid because I didn’t want anyone to know that I was pregnant, or know about what happened at church because it sounded kind of “crazy”… I didn’t want to open up to anyone period – I was scared what people were going to think of me.

After about a month of doing nothing but praying and reading, my mom gave me the idea to talk to her cousin about adopting the baby. My mom’s cousin is an amazing woman to say the least. She has gone through struggles of having a baby – some of the same struggles Jessica and JJ faced (and that is why my mom gave me the idea to contact her).. My cousin is extremely successful, loving, and caring, a beautiful hearted woman. When I think about my cousin, I think about her smile and her warm presence – and that’s how I remember her ever since I was a young girl. I am proud to call her my family. In that moment, though, I was terrified to call her. Oh, gosh, I had to open up and tell her about my life?!?! NO!!! I was not ready, but I felt pushed to call her…  So, one night, I called my cousin and opened up. I told her my situation. We cried and we laughed as we talked… It was a long phone call. I told her that if she wanted to adopt the baby, she could. I can’t imagine what she was going through in her heart and in her mind. She of course had to think about it, talk to her husband and family. All I know is that phone call changed my life, made me understand what family is all about, and that phone call was the start to my journey of finding THE family… Of course, my cousin needed some time to think, and for the next few weeks, I continued to read the word and pray constantly while working and being a full time Mom. Even after talking to my cousin, something kept telling me to search through families.  So, at night, I would search through families online. I searched different adoption agencies that were filled with all these different family profiles. I read through hundreds of profiles. Hundreds and hundreds of families – I look back and cannot believe how God spoke to me while looking through those families. There were some families who absolutely warmed my heart – their pictures, their beliefs, their activities, their hobbies. Even if a family stuck out to me as being completely amazing, something miniscule would tell me they were NOT the family. Ultimately, none of the families felt right in my heart. They were NEVER the “ones”… So, I thought, well maybe this is just silly and I am looking through all of these families for no reason, because my cousin is obviously going to say YES! I would take a break from looking through families, and then I’d go back to looking through families again. I remember one family, who seemed genuinely awesome from their pictures and profile offered lots of MONEY for a baby. I remember this night so vividly. After praying like I did every night, I read through their profile and I sat back and thought about my financial situation and how I really could have used that money. I remember saying, “God! This is a win-win situation!!!!!”.. and he put it on my heart right away – “NO!!!!” I literally said, “but God?!”….. “NO!!!”….. “Okay, God”…. And I moved on…

After weeks and months of this, I just stopped looking at families, because I had no energy for it anymore. Soon after, my cousin and I had another talk. I know it broke my cousin’s heart, but she selflessly declined the adoption. I cannot explain the amount of love and respect I have for my cousin. She told me that what pushed her to confirm her decision was reading through a few families who wanted a baby, and she would feel selfish to say yes. After talking for quite a while, I just sat there on my bed in awe. Now what? Oh goodness, this was getting too real for me… I looked through hundreds of families already. NOT ONE was right! I was starting to panic a little. What am I going to do? At this point, I was already almost halfway through the pregnancy! A calm wave poured over me. My cousin mentioned she looked on the Lutheran Social Services of WI website. Okay, I haven’t looked there yet! I remember looking LSS up on my phone and clicking the link “waiting families”… The first few families I looked through seemed so amazing, but they didn’t sit right with me. No, they are not the one. No, they are not the one. NO, they are not the one. I started to get very discouraged.

Then I saw a picture of Jessica and JJ, and I will always remember this picture. I believe they were sitting down behind a table smiling and I believe JJ was wearing a buttoned shirt and Jessica was wearing a pink dress, and they were very tan. That’s the picture I remember seeing first, and I remember my heart exploding when I saw their picture. It’s so hard to explain but I just got this really warm, loving feeling inside of me when I first saw their picture that it blew me away – God was really telling me they were the ones. Of course, I was sort of slow with understanding at the time, so I didn’t really realize it in that exact moment, but I will always remember that loving feeling. I saw a couple more pictures and my heart warmed more and more with each one. As I read through their profile, my heart was just exploding more and more. They are perfect!!! Oh my goodness, they are perfect. Oh my goodness, GOD!!!! Oh my goodness, I think I found them!! Of course, my stubbornness kicked in and I read their profile maybe 100 times to find SOMETHING, anything that didn’t sit right with me. Anything at all. I had to be sure. I had to be certain. I couldn’t find one thing, NOT A THING – and I embraced them. I believed I found them.

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If you can imagine me, pregnant, in bed that night on my phone, all alone – laying there looking at JJ and Jessica’s picture crying my eyes out in happiness and in awe of God. Looking at those two faces, knowing deep down in my heart that they were the mom and dad of the baby growing inside me. I just knew it, and the emotions and hormones were flowing wild!  My “mission” was coming more together and clear for me! That same night, I wrote down their social worker’s number and called her the next day. When I met with the social worker, I told her my story as fast as I could. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate opening up, so it was very hard for me. She had to go through all the information and paperwork with me. I had to answer a million uncomfortable questions. She also brought JJ and Jessica’s full portfolio along with many other family portfolios, because she wanted to make sure I was able to read through all the families and make the best decision. That was her job, and I appreciate her doing her job very well. I glanced at the others, but I felt deeply that there was no point, and I straight up told her that there was no point at looking at any other families – JJ and Jessica were “the ones”…. I just knew it… She asked me if I wanted to meet with them. Of course I said yes.

So, that SAME WEEK we scheduled to meet for dinner – talk about Godspeed! I will always remember that first meeting. I was super excited to meet them in person, but I was so nervous and I was also battling fear – I was scared to go that far and for God to put on my heart, “NO, not them”… I barely ate and I sat there quietly and listened to our social worker as she engaged us in conversation. I remember my first impression of them in person – they were an extremely beautiful couple and genuine! I could tell that they were very nervous. The more they spoke, the fleshier my heart felt and worries seemed to melt away. I was sitting there very calm and quiet, but my soul was shouting “THANK YOU GOD!!!!”, I just didn’t know how to express it at the time.  It was so nice having our social worker there because she helped guide us into our own communication and comfortability. Once we were able to communicate on our own, she left us to talk by ourselves. I remember at one point towards the end of our meeting, Jessica said, “Well, I’m glad we like you..” and JJ looked at her and said quietly, “Jessica, I can’t believe you said that!” They both got SO RED and, and Jessica said, “well, I just meant it would be hard if we didn’t”, and JJ responds back, “it sounded insensitive” and they kind of went back and forth with each other a little bit. (I cannot help but laugh as I am remembering this)…

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I sat there quietly just observing them go back and forth and little did they know, they were still warming my heart through all of it.. IN that moment, they reminded me of my grandparents SO MUCH!! My Grandma Carol and my Grandpa Lawrence! My grandma was so loving and caring, and was also a little feisty and said exactly what was on her mind, just like Jessica did. My grandpa was so loving, humble, and gentle and would lovingly correct my grandmother when he felt she needed it, just like JJ did with Jessica. The times in my life when I witnessed my grandparents go back and forth, I never felt anything other than love through the bicker..  It’s hard to explain but in that moment, Jessica and JJ reminded me so much of my grandparents, and that did so much for me. They were probably a little scrambled up with embarrassment and different emotions during that moment, but I embraced it. I was able to watch them go back and forth with each other during our first meeting, and it let me know how healthy they were. Not once did a red flag go off, nor did I sense any anger in their tones. They were genuine people who loved each other, no matter what, and God provided me WAY more than I could have ever imagined that night.. He completely confirmed to me over and over they were THE FAMILY.

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Before we left dinner, I invited them to my doctor’s appointment which was that same week! I wanted them to be there, because I just knew they were the parents. Also, this appointment was the “BIG ULTRASOUND”, so I wanted to make sure they were given the opportunity to be there, and they came! They seemed to still be in awe of everything, and I was too, but we walked into that ultrasound room together, and my relationship with JJ and Jessica was forever changed. When we walked in, I let the ultrasound tech know that JJ and Jessica were the parents. I don’t think it hit them quite yet when I first said it. I remember laying down on the table and lifting my shirt up to expose my stomach. I wasn’t even embarrassed, I didn’t care. I just laid there in awe that the plan God spoke to me about was happening right before my eyes and the feeling was incredible. When the tech asked, “would you like to know the sex of the baby?”, I responded, “well, you have to ask them – they are the parents!” That is when I think reality hit Jessica and JJ and I couldn’t see them because they were sitting behind me, but I could hear them. They were crying. I heard both of them sniffling, and I just felt honored – so very honored and happy. Wow, God, this is what being absolutely selfless feels like. Wow, God, I am changing their lives. Wow, God they are so happy. Wow, God. Wow, God. Wow, God.  It’s just amazing to look back and see the path that God put me on – that all led up to finding them and within a week, I found them, we met and they found out they were having a boy. I knew it was a lot for them to take in. It was a lot for me to take in, too, but I was just following God. It was all GOD taking the lead, I was just following..

For the next weeks, I opened up to them about my life. I was like an open book to them, trying to explain to them how I got to this point in my life. I was simply myself with them – genuinely and transparently myself with them, and they became my friends. There’s a quote I read that reminds me of them. “Some people arrive and make such a beautiful impact on your life, you can barely remember what life was like without them.” During those first weeks and months of getting to know them, every time we got together for appointments, they would always be there smiling and supportive of me. Jessica never missed an appointment, she was always there. JJ was always there when he could be. I remember one time they were both at an appointment with me, and I asked them, “Are you guys having a baby shower?”… Their demeanor quickly changed and for the first time I sensed the heaviness in their hearts. I could tell they were scared. I could tell that they were not allowing themselves to fully get excited about their baby, and they indeed were NOT planning a baby shower. I remember feeling so heartbroken for them. I wanted them to embrace this pregnancy, embrace every aspect of becoming a parent. They deserved it. I remember telling them that they SHOULD have a baby shower and I reassured them that I was NOT going to change my mind – that there was no way I was going to change my mind. I know that I didn’t completely diminish their fears, and they were guarding their hearts, but I am glad they had a baby shower! I just wanted the best for them and I wanted them to be happy.

From that moment on, my adoration for them only grew and throughout the next couple of months all the way up to Jackson’s birth, they continued to impress me. Fast forward to almost 4 years later, they mean even more to me. Just knowing them has changed my life. They pray for me and have prayed for me probably since before they knew me – and there is nothing you can provide for someone better than prayer! When I struggle as a parent, just the thought of them helps me and motivates me to be the best I can be. When I am being selfish, I remember how being selfless made me AND others feel, and that helps me.. When I am struggling with listening, I think back to my journey of finding Jessica and JJ and it fills me with that desire to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance, always and forever. SEEK IT, FIND IT, FEEL IT by all means.. I’ve been struggling with weight and unhealthy eating and poor exercise habits my whole life. Well, Jessica motivates me constantly to eat healthier, exercise, stick with it – just by watching her! Also, lately she inspires me to make myself more of a priority which is something I’ve been really needing to do!

They have changed the way I view relationships, friendships, and respect. They both inspire me because they are SO STRONG! I am not sure if they realize how strong they are. They have been through so much in their life and they have conquered so much separately and together! They are admirable and I am so blessed to know them. Everyone should have sources of positive inspiration in their life, and they are a huge source of mine.  I hope that one day I can inspire someone the way they inspire me!

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