how i became a mom {jackson's birth story}

i still can't get over it. every time someone calls me a mom or i see it in writing it overwhelms me! i am a mom! yahoo!! so how did this happen? well let me tell you.
grab a cup of jo or tea and settle in. it's a good one :)

this is Jackson's birth story from my perspective. not all is included but here is what i'll share ;)

not everyone knows this but our close friends and family know that hubby and i can't have kids naturally. i'm not saying God can't do miracles (this story will prove He can!!) but as far as western medicine goes that's the verdict. trust me, we've tried. we've had tests done, just "relaxed", tried all the techniques and tips from well meaning loved ones but no dice.
along with trying to let "nature take it's course" we also talked about adoption. way back at the beginning of our marriage-15yrs ago. we talked about adopting regardless of the natural outcome. we both love kids and i've always had a heart for domestic adoption. so that was always there in the back of our minds.
fast forward through hubby's military service of 8yrs, moving 10x including overseas, a 13month deployment, 5 dogs and 2 careers to finally end up back in Arkansas in 2013.
when we found out that kids wouldn't come to us the natural way we started to look into adoption more seriously while overseas. well in turns out, that in our experience, adoption agencies aren't  super stoked about giving a child to someone who has a high chance of leaving for months at a time and or being shot at in a war zone. go figure!

Around this time God had really been working on my heart about how kids would be a part of our lives. particularly the self-centeredness i had in my heart and how i wanted to do things "my way"! i had wonderful friends overseas who encouraged me in so many ways through this. one friend had trouble conceiving and eventually ended up having two beautiful children in her late 30's. her journey and friendship was an instrumental tool God used to help me work through some things and change my focus to the important thing-Him! that friend gave me a book that was so great at that time called Empty Womb, Aching Heart. i know it sounds totally cheese ball but i have to tell you that through that book, along with scripture,  i realized that no matter what i would be ok and to not put Christ into a box or contain Him to what i thought the process should be or look like. that book is neat because it's all personally written stories/letters by women and men on their experience with growing their family and the way Christ revealed Himself to them. some were heart breaking. some were encouraging. some were poignant. some were unexpected. it's an honest portrait of the struggle.

so because of the difficulty adopting overseas, we decided to hold off until we got more settled stateside and maybe closer to family. i'm telling you God's timing is EVERYTHING!! i'm SO glad He can see what i can't!
so when we settled back in Arkansas, our home state, a few years later we started the research again.

while house hunting with my sisters friend and realtor (who eventually sold us our house) she naturally asked how long hubby and i had been married and the conversation turned to kids. so i told her a little about our story and said we had planned on adopting after we got our house and got settled. she mentioned that she was adopting her niece and if i ever had questions to let her know. and that was that. this was in november of 2013.

now back in AR we saw a great need for adopting families in the area and through some friends we found out about a christian non profit that helps walk you through the foster/adoption processes with the state. with out them it would be a sea of papers and jargon that would boggle the mind! this organization is called The CALL. it was started by a lady here in AR who is passionate about the "Church" stepping up and giving kids a place to call home.

we started that process in the spring of 2014. and let me tell you it's a process. anyone who has been through any kind of adoption can tell you it's a lot. like a lot a lot. emotionally, mentally, physically, financially, spiritually, etc. no matter what kind of adoption process you go through it is hard for everyone for whatever reason and comes with a unique set of challenges for all.
yes some adoptions are more costly financially than others, but some are more challenging legally. it all depends on the circumstances.

also that spring we had gone to my in-laws for the weekend and visited our old church were a lot of our friends still attend. after the morning service while hubby was getting the car, i chatted with a couple of my girl friends. they had a serious look on their faces and said "i hope you don't think we are crazy but we have asked God to really show up and show off and we think you're pregnant/going to have a baby!". i was a little taken aback. not because i thought they were crazy but because sometimes you feel like God is talking to you only and asking only you to do what seems like crazy things. so when i heard them stepping out on faith i was excited! these ladies know me and my story and we have all been through a lot over the last 15yrs. so i trust them. like with my life. we all kind of looked at each other and they asked me what i thought? i told them i was overjoyed that they were seeking God and stepping out on faith no matter the results! that's what we are called to do! i told them that i really couldn't see myself getting pregnant or having an infant. i told them we had started the foster to adopt process and that maybe that was it but we were planning on a sibling group or a 3yr old?
they were adamant it was a baby and that was the day that it was in the womb.
we cried, prayed, hugged and we all went our separate ways.

while still moving forward with foster to adopt and working with the state and the CALL some of things we had to work through were trying to get renovations done to our house that we had started, lots of paperwork, LOTS of training, waiting waiting, home studies, the list goes on. i won't bore you.
then something happened.
i say something because i don't really know what else to call it.
we had done 97% of what needed to be done to open our home for placement but it just seemed like we couldn't get that last 3% done. that sounds crazy but it was a few REALLY simple things that just. would. not. happen!
and then hubby and i had a moment. we kind of looked at each other one day in late summer early fall and both agreed we would pause the foster to adopt process through the state for now. not stop, but pause.
we couldn't put our finger on what it was exactly, but we had made a vow to each other one time after a STUPID purchase (that neither said anything to the other about because we were trying to please the other) that we would never go against our gut again. that when we got that "feeling" in the pit of our stomach that we would't move forward. no matter if it was as little as not wanting to eat at a restaurant after being seated or a finical purchase or kids or even if it made the other temporarily mad.
this was one of those times.
at the time it seemed strange because we were doing everything "right" and there still is a HUGE need for foster to adopt families, but we knew that if we pushed forward regardless that it wouldn't benefit anyone, kids included. that's a hard thing to accept but we did't know what would lie ahead and we still don't know what the future holds :)

so we prayed and waited.

fall of 2014 a week or two before thanksgiving we get a call.
it was our realtor. she says "this is the weirdest phone call i've ever made!" she asks me if we are still in the adoption process? where are we? if we still want to? etc. i gave her the update.
she then tells me, in the most kind hearted and loving way, that she knows a gal who is due in 4 weeks and is looking for an adoptive family for her son. !?!?!?!
she gives me sparse details and ask if we are interested?
i tell her i think so. she tells me not to make a rushed decision but to think on it for 24hrs and get back to her.
hubby and i chat for 20min.
i call her back.
we. are. in.

the next four weeks were agony!
we got our adoption attorney on board, and then we prayed and waited.
we didn't really say anything to many people because of course we didn't know what the outcome would really be.
that was the longest 4 weeks of my life!!

then two days before Jackson was due we heard back.
birth mother is on board.
everything's a go.
we talk on the phone.
we have a conference call with the attorney.
we all sign papers.
then hubby and I SCRAMBLE to get anything we can get our hands on for a BABY! a BABY! we don't even have a car seat! or diapers! or clothes! or A N Y T H I N G! i guess i should've listened to my friends and had a baby bed ready!! lol!
to say those few days were mass chaos is an understatement.

but then another amazing thing happened. people, people we didn't even know, showed up in a big way.
we were given/lent everything we could possibly need for this kid. from furniture, to clothes, to bottles, to gift cards, to toys and blankets and shoes and bassinets and car seats! the list goes on and on! in 2 days time we were outfitted. we even received 5 30lb boxes form our friends in AZ full of clothes and bottles!!

i got to tell you His hands and feet were at work!
i am ETERNALLY grateful for the outpouring of generosity shown to us and our kid. no words.

so now we just prayed and waited. again.
do you see a pattern? He is in the waiting!

and then it happened. we got the call! he is on his way!
we headed to the hospital around 5pm on december 6, 2014.

birth mother was so generous to allow me to be with her from the very beginning. from the time she checked in, to the time he was born i was allowed to be there with her. what a blessing!! i know that is such a rare thing in these processes and do not take a second for granted!!
while I was in labor and delivery hubby was keeping the floors and seats in the waiting room warm. Thank goodness you can use cell phones in hospitals again! I would keep him up to date and he would keep drinking the coffee.

labor was hard and it seemed to drag on forever and it was such an overwhelming strange experience to be honest.
here is this person giving you this immeasurable gift. she is going through agonizing pain to give you, a stranger, a child.
she's not your friend. you can't hug her. you want to. you want say it'll be ok. but you can't.

and yet even though you two will never be connected, you will ALWAYS be connected.

i am so grateful for her. she saved him. she saved herself. she blessed us. there really are no words to cover the bigness of it all.

throughout the night i had come and gone from the room to allow birth mother and her friend to have some alone time. so when it seemed like she had hit a stopping point i took a break.
hubby had gone home to get a few hours sleep and meet his family at our house.
they all arrived the next morning downstairs in the lobby and i went down to stretch my legs and say hi. i wasn't gone 15 min.
then i got a call from the birth mother's friend saying i might want to get back up here!

i ran to the elevator, down the corridor, past the check in desk telling them to buz me in so i didn't have to wait and down the hall. i threw open the door and birth mother was pushing! she looked up, saw me and out he came. just like that at 7:59 on december 7, 2014.

i don't have a photo of the moment but i do in my head.
i will always remember the room full of medical personnel at the teaching hospital, birth mother pushing, the way Jackson looked when he came out and the sweetest cry i've ever heard!

our son! he is here!

15 years. to receive a gift i had let go of getting. and was ok with not getting. truly. to receive it was like the best surprise. ever.
i don't say getting Jackson was like the missing puzzle piece. or now we are complete somehow. because that would mean a person can complete you. and they can't.
i say he's like the cherry on our sunday. we were good. good marriage. good church. good home. dogs. friends. etc.
he is just another thing that enriches our blessed life and brings another dimension!

people ask me how long it took to feel a connection with Jackson? i felt it instantly. the second he entered the world he was our son. it was our son crying. it was our son with dark brown hair.
i really didn't know if it was going to be that way and i was prepared for months of attachment therapy but thankfully it happened right away!

because the hospital knew the birth mother's and our wishes, right after he was born they whisked jackson out of the room into a private post birth room.
here they weighed and measured him. took his foot prints and wiped him down. then i got to cut the cord! {:-D this was a huge surprise. I had text hubby to tell him the good news! as he was coming down the hall they handed ME the scissors and said here you go! i hadn't planned for that! seconds later hubby was with us and there we were. a family of three.

i have to say that the hospital staff where Jackson was born were awesome! they were so accommodating to us as adoptive parents and really made us feel part of the process.
they set us up in a private room in the NICU (standard procedure with adopted babies) and helped with everything i could ask for. the nurses were beyond helpful and are truly passionate about their jobs.
our first nurse actually broke down before her shift was over and said she was so thankful for the loving home she knew Jax was going to. she said they see so many sad situations in the NICU that she was glad this was a good story to share. breaks. your. heart. give me all the babies!!

the next 35 hours were filled with nurses, shots, his first bath, family visits, bottle feedings and as much sleep as we could soak up before we headed home.
after his man surgery ;) we got the ok to head home in less than the standard 48hr NICU time because they could see he was in good hands and if we could get his first pediatric visit on the books for the next day they'd let us go.

after signing more papers, the "don't shake your baby" new parent briefing, a tearful goodbye from birth mother and stuffing as many samples of formula we get into our bags, it was time to go. 

leaving the hospital was surreal.
we thanked the staff and they told us to keep in touch. we strapped our tiny human into his car seat. we loaded him into my two door stick shift car. and off we went. we kept looking at each other like is this real life? this is happening? we have a tiny human!!
looking back now it seems crazy how everything happened at the time, but having Jackson now seems like the most natural thing ever!

my friends that had shared their hearts with me back in march checked in that day to see how i was doing and to praise God for all He had done. one of them sent me a message saying it's not the way she had thought it would happen but that's God for you! one of them sent me a text image showing an online calculation she had done where you input your thought conception date and it is supposed to calculate your child's due date. she had put in the date we had all talked and the date came back december 7, 2014!


there is more to the after story since heading home but this is the birth story.
thanks for sharing in the journey.
happy friday friends
xo jemimah


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