May 21, 2023 // Diocese
God’s Plan A for Sweet Little Ones
“I didn’t want to feel like adoption was our Plan B because we couldn’t get pregnant. I wanted to see it as God’s Plan A for us,” Jessica B. wrote on her blog “Sweet Little Ones,” detailing her and her husband Jim’s journey to parenthood. The journey to motherhood can at times be a faith bending path, oftentimes with obstacles that have underlying medical conditions, and is met with never seeing a positive pregnancy test result. However, for many, like Jessica and Jim, their faith and trust in God and His plan for them do help create beautiful things for the world to awe.
Jessica and Jim’s story began with a novena to St. Joseph by Jessica with a very detailed list of wants in 2005 for her future husband ranging from fun and responsible to wanting to be a husband and father. As with many people, it is easy to forget to add the “extra” prayer for the day and Jessica happened to skip her prayer to St. Joseph on March 19. Starting her novena over caused her to finish on the same day that Jim and Jessica had their first chat. After dating and answering the call to the sacrament of marriage, Jim and Jessica learned of their fertility issues. But Jessica said, “I still had hoped that we would have children someday because of what I had listed in my St. Joseph novena years before.” She wrote, “Please help me find this man who wants to be a great husband and father and will be too. My first answered St. Joseph novena prayer gave me hope. I knew that someday my husband would be a father because that is what I asked for in my future spouse. God gave me everything else I wanted in this regard so I had no reason to doubt He would fulfill the rest of my prayer. This hope was a special grace that helped keep me afloat during our darkest infertility struggles.”
Jim and Jessica began the adoption process in 2010 and officially got on the list in January of 2011, picking St. Joseph and St. Thérése as their patron saints. In early July, they received a call from their agency saying they had a potential match and that the birth mother wanted to meet. A day and time were set. On July 11, Jessica had a voicemail to call her agency. The baby came six weeks early and they needed to be on call to come to the hospital. The next day after attending Mass and having what Jessica said were several signs from St. Thérése, they were told they could come pick up their daughter, whom they named Josephina from St. Joseph Hospital.
After nine months and much discerning, Jim and Jessica decided to begin the process and adopt again, knowing that it could take longer. They were on the list around July, and to their surprise, they got a call a month later saying they were matched. However, the due date came and went with no word. They found out the birth mother decided to parent. It was their first adoption loss, and it was very hard, and it wouldn’t be their last. A week later, they were matched again, this time with a due date in the beginning of January. On Christmas Eve, they got the call that the birth mother was in labor. The next day, with snow on the ground in Indiana as they walked up to labor and delivery, they said there was another sign from St. Thérése, this time with a rose bush in full bloom. The courageous birth mother labored until Dec. 26, and had baby James right after Jessica and Jim had gotten out of weekday Mass.
With each adoption journey the Family had been on, and the biblical nicknames they had been given, it was expected that God, with the help of St Thérése and St Joseph, there would be little miracles sprinkled again when it was decided to begin the process to adopt a third time in July of 2014. By the fall, the family was matched for twin girls twice, but again God’s plan was something different and the matches did not follow through for an adoption. Miracles certainly happened, but in a whirlwind way, as in the span of 14 hours, getting a call to drive to a hospital, meeting the birth parents, saying goodbye, driving home, and introducing the older two to their baby brother, Luke. Jessica was a little discouraged for not getting the “roses” like she did with the previous two. It dawned on her, after getting things finalized that the date that they had picked for baby Luke’s baptism was going to be St. Thérése’s parents feast day. She got her rose.
Very unexpectedly in May of 2022, the family announced that they would again be adopting, this time Josephine’s biological sibling. Much like with their experience with Luke, it was a whirlwind. Teddy came into the world in June and was prayed for by his older siblings for a long time. Teddy was born in a hospital next to St Joseph. Jessica said it was looking back she realized she had received her twins she had always asked for in Teddy and Josephine.
Tips for Those Seeking to Be Supportive of Birth/Adoptive Parents
Jessica has offered suggestions for people supporting adoptive parents. “Do not ever talk badly about a birthmother. What I wanted most was prayers for her, the baby, and God’s will. Also, check in! Do what you would do for a pregnant woman; baby shower, meal train, prayers, etc.” She also recommended that if the match ends up not following through, the potential parents still need meals, people to check in on them, and general support. “Knowing it’s complicated, it is a loss like a miscarriage, but not a death like a miscarriage. There is grief because you can’t help but picture that child in your life.” Jessica and Jim said, “Never discount an adoption fall through. It’s difficult for prospective adoptive parents to talk openly about it. I have never experienced miscarriage so I cannot directly compare the emotions, but we had three fall throughs of five children: a boy in October of 2012, twin girls in November of 2014, and twin girls early in 2015. I have not forgotten them or their mothers.”
Because their journey to parenthood has been different, the family has not always felt they “fit in” to certain groups, and it is important to them that others going through the same thing know that there is a whole community out there praying for and encouraging them.
Jessica said, “Motherhood is more than childbearing. Womanhood is more than how our physical body functions. Fruitfulness is more than a large number of children. I think all mothers, and all women for that matter, should focus on true motherhood and fruitfulness.” She wrote two years ago on her blog on the feast of the Holy Family to explain what she means with a verse used to give her a sorrowful twinge every time she heard it: “Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the recesses of your home…” Ps 128.
“I used to think that I was not a fruitful vine because I could not bear children for my husband. But in the past year or so, I have begun to see that being fruitful is not limited to what my reproductive system can or cannot do. I, and all women, are so much more than our physical bodies. Real fruitfulness comes from our thoughts, words, and deeds — in my home and also for my fellow man. When I heard this verse today, these words stuck out to me, ‘recesses of your home.’ ‘It doesn’t say ‘in prominent places’ but ‘recesses.’ Is this not the Little Way? All of the ‘behind the scenes’ actions we do as women makes us fruitful. Sweeping the floor, making meals, doing our jobs well, getting everything ready for the next day, and all the everyday works of mercy that we do — these are the things that make women truly fruitful. You don’t have to be married. You don’t have to be a mother. You, as a woman, are fruitful when you do these things for your family, classroom, co-workers, neighbors, and fellow man. May we as women all see that our fruitfulness is not limited to the physical but truly comes from performing acts of mercy in the everyday.”
Jessica stated that her life has been a roller coaster, but has expressed that her journey has also been a blessing. Finding some of her underlying medical conditions, she has taken steps to improve her health so she can be here for her family for years to come. She stated that she and Jim have drawn closer to their faith and each other with the help of the saints. Their trust in God and His Plan A for them is an example of how God will provide in His timing and way.
Using her craftsman talents that she credits her grandma for passing on to her, she has a shop with images that are on prints, stickers, clothing, and more to glorify her love of the Catholic faith and as a way to help with the adoption expenses and cost of having children. Jessica said that it all started with a discernment in charisms that led her to further her skills. She is a self-taught graphic designer and learned how to work with clipart digitally. She says that her art is directly united with adoption because she feels there is a connection between the art and making it her own. Through the family’s adoption of a different ethnic race than their own, Jessica has made it her goal for her children to see saints and the Holy Family in a different skin tone, which has only helped showcase the beauty of the Catholic faith. Her creations that she has brought forth for the world to see are often blessing students at her children’s school with stickers or prints from her shop. This has been her way of evangelizing and bringing glory to God.
Jessica’s shop can be found on Etsy.com under Sweet Little Ones Shop. The shop motto on Etsy is, “Home decor to beautify your home and soul.” Jessica’s products all honor her beautiful Catholic faith. Her blog can be found on Facebook and Instagram detailing her and Jim’s journey for whomever else walks the path of infertility as a beacon of hope and a voice over the evil one trying to separate those into thinking they are alone, as they are not. St. Joseph, patron saint of families, pray for us.
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