Celebrating Jessica, an altar of remembrance

Jules —  April 5, 2005

Today is our Jessica’s 6th birthday!! Her birthday is a very special time. As it has approached, I have been thinking a great deal about how immensely blessed we are to have her in our family.

Her adoption became legal shortly after her third birthday, although in our hearts she’d been our daughter all along. Jessica was two weeks old when she was placed with us as an adoptive placement. Just two weeks later, DFS informed us that they had changed the case goal to reunification with a birth parent. In my heart, I was already her mama and fear filled me from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. Every morning for three years, I woke up hoping and praying it was all a bad dream. The whole story is very long and complicated. We eventually filed for adoption. It was supposed to be a slam dunk, but DFS had made mistakes and we were devastated when our petition was denied by the court. Jessica was turning two at the time. When she was 2 1/2 we lost her, after a long spring and summer of five-day-a-week visits. It was horror and anguish. After being gone for exactly one month, she was returned home, one day after I gave birth to Elaina! Twin miracles! Six months later our second adoption petition was granted!!!!!

I think at times in our lives, we must stop and remember what the Lord has done and build an altar of remembrance.

My faith was majorly stretched, during those three years. I had to trust that she was in His hands, that He loved her more than I, and that His plans for her were good and that nothing could thwart His plan. I do believe there was a MAJOR spiritual battle over Jessica. It was exhausting. I am so thankful that the Lord sent people to hold my arms up, just like with Moses. I want to thank each one of you who prayed. We know now, better than before, that prayer is a powerful weapon that God has given us.

If you are in a valley right now, do not give up! Do not quit! Do not sit down! Keep walking, until you walk out of the valley. The Lord will make a way for you. Ask Him for scriptures to stand on. I wrote these out and hung them in a frame over Jessica’s bed: Proverbs 21:30, Proverbs 19:21 and Proverbs 16:4a. When we had Jessica dedicated to the Lord, I picked out Jeremiah 29:11 for her cerificate. When I got the certificate it had Jeremiah 29:11-14 typed out. I didn’t realize that the Lord was giving me a promise that she would leave and return to us!

“Although I did not physically give birth to you, I labored and suffered for three years. Oh, how you were worth it all! You are my joy, born of faith and hope and prayer and suffering. I have my miracle, my Jessica Faith!”

When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. Psalm 126



24 responses to Celebrating Jessica, an altar of remembrance

  1. Amen, Julie!

    It’s hard to go back to that time and relive it in my mind without tearing up. God taught all of us so much during that time, didn’t he?

    It was truly a time of sowing in tears and now reaping in joy!!


  2. This is stunningly beautiful.
    Happy b-day, Jessica! :-)

  3. Man, that seems like forever ago! I didn’t remember that she was gone for a whole month! I thought John messed it up quicker than that.

    Happy Birthday to kika!!!! Hope you have a wonderful birthday!!!

  4. She was gone from August 6th to September 6th. I am so thankful that she wasn’t away for a long time. After 11 days she went to live with his sister, until it was arranged for her to come home. When they turned onto our street, the social worker said she got really excited and kept saying “Home, home!”. For the 6 months prior, she was gone 3 to 5 days a week.

  5. That’s beautiful Julie! I love telling your family story to other people. They drop their jaws in amazement. I truly believe your family is a living testament of the goodness of God!

  6. Thanks, God has been good to us!! I don’t want to take that for granted. Sometimes life gets busy and very daily and I’m afraid I forget just how fortunate I am.

    We had a great time tonight at Chuck E Cheese!!!! When we get the pictures developed I will post them. We managed to get 550 tickets so the kids could buy prizes. They’re probably worth about 3 bucks!!! Oh well, it’s the fun time that counts!

  7. It was such a pleasure spending another birthday with Jessica. Each one is so special when you think about how close we were to not having any with her.

  8. The Lord works in mysterious ways, but we MUST always believe in him, I do.

    I love God, and I love my family. Hope you had a wonderful birthday Jessica.

  9. I’m a day late, but Happy Birthday Jessica!! You are such a sweet child and Mike and I look forward to seeing you and your sisters each Sunday at church. I believe that God will use your beginning life experience as a testimony to others and I pray His blessings over you.

  10. Happy Birthday, Jessica! I love you so much and have such great memories of time spent with you from newborn to present time. I remember babysitting you when you were about 4 or 5 months old. I propped you up in our recliner and sang songs to you while you smiled and laughed. Were you laughing with me or at my singing ability?

    Happy 6th Birthday!

  11. What an great story.. Jessica is definitely blessed to have a family that loves her so much!
    Hope she had a great birthday!

  12. Happy birthday Jessica. I am so glad you got your baby back, all of your children are lucky to have such a dedicated Mom.

  13. Thanks, Jay! You are the first person to post on my site that I don’t know. Very cool!

  14. How wonderful! Please give Jessica (who may not remember me — was she at Razz’s party?) a big belated birthday hug for me!

    Isn’t it wonderful that God doesn’t give up hope, even when we do?

  15. Yes, she was there. She’s the brunette with big blue eyes! Thanks, Laura Gayle!!

  16. Jessica, I hope you had a wonderful birthday, I forgot you were born on Debs bday. We are so proud of you and your Parents and sisters. Wish we could see all of you more often, will have to work on that. love ya. I pinned up a pic of Jessica and family on the church bulletin board to remind people to pray for her. I remember those days and couldn’t believe what those people put her through. PTL she is back home.

  17. I forgot it was Debbie’s birthday, too. Hope you had a wonderful birthday Debbie!!! Did you put on your tiara?

    Debbie is the one that suggested Jessica’s middle name be changed to Faith! This inspired me to name the fourth, Hope, thus, Grace, Faith, Joy and Hope. Thanks for the inspiration Debbie!!! It was a God thing!

  18. Happy Birthday, Jessica! Even though I’ve only got to see you in person twice, I feel like we are specially bonded–maybe it’s the same birthday thing. Or maybe it’s getting to help name you–that was truly a God thing as your Momma wrote. First that He gave me the idea of “Faith” as your middle name and, secondly when He gave me the boldness to suggest it. (I don’t usually like to butt in with my name suggestions when it’s someone else’s child).

    I, too, share your story with others a lot. And we are to do that over and over. Just as God had the Israelites pile 12 rocks together after they crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land, as a visual reminder to tell their children of God’s faithfulness, Jessica, you are a physical reminder to tell others of His continuing faithfulness today.

  19. Happy birthday both of you. I just told your story the other day to one of my co-workers. I was telling everyone that I was pregnant and that I was still in shock and not sure of our plans now that someone else is in charge. One of the other nurses said she would gladly take the baby, since she can’t have children. I felt so bad for not being overjoyed with my little miracle growing. Maybe it’s the nausea, hehe.
    I remember us all praying across the states for her and you and James, and celebrating when she came home. Happy birthday to Jessica and Deb!

  20. Am I going crazy, it is the 5th right. Cause I looked at my calender and everything. How did you guys go into the future to the 7th without me?
    Did I sleep for 2 days? I gotta call someone.

  21. Those are last years posts, Trish!!! Bless your heart, you’ve got pregnancy head. I still have it and Anjelia’s two! :love 😀

    I hope and pray that this :puke stage goes away quickly.

  22. :birthday Jessica
    I also forgot about Jessica’s birthday!
    Yeahhh what a cute outfit your mom bought you and that bike is pretty!!!
    Sorry I forgot

  23. Inspiration means quite literally “God-breathed”. I still find Jessica’s tale one of the most heart-wrenchingly beautiful testimonies I’ve ever heard. Truly inspiring!

  24. Awwwwwww. . . Thanks, Mark.

    I did not know that’s what inspiration meant!