First Christmas.

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I can’t believe how many positive messages I have received regarding the blog, our story, my openness, etc. So, first I wanted to say thank you for the love and support. And wasn’t it wonderful to hear from my awesome husband in the last post! Woohoo for all the awesome dads out there because I know Jackson’s got one of the best dads around! But now, back to where I left off some time ago. Our journey to this point, as a quick re-cap went something like this: we spent three days in the hospital with Heather, went to the termination of parental rights hearing with her, saw her again when Jackson was dedicated to the church, and then… There was a little lull before seeing them again.  We did have a very short visit around Thanksgiving with her kiddos and her dad (as they have family that lived in the same town as us).

But then we received the most precious Christmas gift for Jackson. The below blanket showcases pictures of Jackson’s birth family. Not just Heather, her mom, her dad, her children, but of her extended family, including a picture of Grandpa Lawrence, whom Jackson got his middle name from. What a thoughtful and amazing gift for Jackson. Before we moved this last spring, this blanket had hung in Jackson’s bedroom for him to look at and for us to talk about who was in all of these pictures. (It would still be hanging in his room but we don’t plan on staying in our condo long term, so nothing hangs on the wall!) Oh, and we talk about open adoption just as anyone talks to their children about learning manners. We never want it to be a secret or something that is to be ashamed of, it is just part of our lives and we talk about it!

I know I have mentioned it before that this last year has been probably the hardest of my adult life. But it has made it even more clear to me how important family is. Growing up, I would say that I didn’t have the “typical” life of a child but as I continue to grow up (yes, I am still growing up!) I realize more and more how important family is. There is that saying out there, blood is thicker than water. Well in high school (oh yes, I was drama filled in those years!), I would have told you that isn’t true, my friends will also have my back. Then I had a child of my own. And then I realized just how true that statement is. I will fight to the ends of this earth for Jackson and what is best for him.

Family as defined by the ‘ole dictionary.com, “is a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not.” You know what my favorite part of that definition is, whether dwelling together or not.  That is why Heather, her mom, her dad, her children, her grandparents, her sister, etc., they are our family too! And why it is so important for us to showcase that to Jackson, because no matter what, this kid has an army of people who love him and we won’t ever let him forget that!

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Heather’s Comments.

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Every time I read this book to Jackson, I can’t help but cry.

In case you didn’t see Heather’s comments on JJ’s post yesterday, I have added them to the blog. Again, this kind of stuff showcases why we think open adoption is so important, at least for us, why it is so important. Read More

Guest Post #1

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A picture is worth 1,000 words

My heart feels like it’s being pulled in two different directions.  I see this little boy for whom I have an incredible amount of love.  I see how his smile lights up my world.  I can be having the worst day and when I get home and he asks for a hug and kiss, all my fears and worries drift away.  I literally feel my stress leave my body because all I need is his arms around my neck, squeezing.  After his hug full of love ends, he excitedly wants to play and share his favorite parts of the day.  At dinner time, he shares what he’s thankful for and then asks, “Mom, what are you thankful for?”  When mom says three things she’s thankful for, he says, “Dad, what are you thankful for?”  He makes me happy in ways I never knew were possible.  I never fully understood the connection a dad could have with his son, but now I get it and I absolutely love it!  Read More

Parenting 101.

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I know I haven’t posted at all this week but that is because I was debating on whether or not I should post this. I don’t want to offend anyone and I don’t want to come across as ungrateful. But here goes nothing… Read More

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”). Read More

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!! Read More

Heather’s Comments

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Just to make sure that you all get to see Heather’s side of the conversation, her comment to the last blog post is below. This is EXACTLY why I love open adoption and the endless amount of support she gives me. It takes a village and I am proud to have her in our village. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More