Homeschooling and Adoption
Jessica is a homeschooling mom of two and the founder of Option-Adoption.com, which offers hope to the abortion-minded by offering them the love of Jesus Christ and support to make one of he most important decisions of their life.
Her passion is helping her husband and kids fulfill their God-given purposes and being on the frontlines serving Jesus in the areas of pro-life rescue ministry, adoption advocacy, sex trafficking ministry, and foreign missions. She speaks to audiences nationally and internationally about topics such as adoption, abortion, and homeschooling, so others are encouraged to go from the sidelines to the frontlines.
Jessica, welcome. Tell us about your family.
Jessica: Well, we have two kids. We have a son who’s 13 and a daughter who’s eight. We are a homeschool family who is just doing day to day life and trying to serve Jesus in some places that can be difficult, but pretty amazing when he asked you to show up. We’re doing life with our kids, and it’s been an exciting journey.
Yvette: Well, you’ve got a really neat ministry. I first heard of your ministry about a year and a half ago. We were at a home business conference with Rhea Perry together, and I heard of a Option Adoption, which is your ministry. It’s an incredible thing that God has called your family to. You guys are just soaring with this. I would love for you to tell us a little bit about Option Adoption and what it is that you do through this ministry.
Jessica: Sure. Option Adoption is a ministry that we started after we adopted our daughter. She’s really the inspiration for why we started it. We were all on the sidewalks in front of abortion clinics, and realized that most of these women and men just don’t see adoption as an option for them. We knew her story. We knew that her mom had chosen life for her against the odds, and then placed her into our family through adoption. This happens only about 2% of the time – where a woman will choose life and the adoption over death, abortion. We were just burdened.
We sought out another ministry that was doing something similar to what God had placed on our heart, but we couldn’t find anybody who was doing it front lines here in the US. The funny thing is, we had just decided to homeschool. We had just adopted this baby recently, and then I thought, “Oh my goodness, is the Lord calling us to start a ministry?” It was a big leap of faith for us, but we knew that somebody had to stand in the gap and this is such an important piece of ending abortion. We wanted to make sure that God was going to be honored by the church being able to give these moms and dads the true other option other than parenting.
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Yvette: I want to go back to the adoption story – your adoption story in particular. I love your story about homeschooling and how that came to be.
Jessica: My husband was pretty opposed to homeschooling because he had gone to school to get his Master’s degree in Education for public education. He had some pretty strong opinions about how our kids should be educated. To be honest, I didn’t really hear about homeschooling growing up. I didn’t know anyone who was homeschooled. It didn’t bother me that he was thinking more along the lines of traditional school. Somebody gave us the DVD series by James Dobson called Bringing Up Boys. We watched some footage in there and my husband’s heart was really stirred. He came to me and said, “I just don’t think we’re going to be able to put Rhett in public school.” I remember thinking this, I already knew that we were going to homeschool. God had already pretty much given me that piece of information, it was just waiting for my husband.
I laughed and thought, “Well wait a minute, you’re the one with the education degree.” I don’t know how this is going to work. I felt very ill equipped to be a homeschool mom, to be honest with you. I came out of corporate America. That was the domain I was used to. It was a real leap of faith for us. It’s been, it’s been an amazing ride. I wouldn’t change it. That’s how we got started into homeschooling.
Yvette: Your oldest is 13 so you’ve been homeschooling now for what, around eight years, right?
Yvette: Okay, because I love your kids and my kids are exactly the same age except you have a boy and a girl and I have two girls. You have an eight year old and a 13 year old just like me. We hear over and over again that moms feel like they’re ill-equipped. It doesn’t matter what their educational background is. It does not matter what they’ve done in their career. Pretty much every mom goes into it with the realization that “My child’s whole life education is in my hands.” If you think about it, their whole life is in your hands. God has given them to you for such a short time. He equips us to do everything that he’s called us to do.
Jessica: That’s right.
Yvette: With you adopting and starting to homeschool and starting this ministry all at the same time, God has clearly equipped you to be able to do what he’s called you to do. I love that so much. Your story of adoption and your ministry is very near and dear to my heart. I’ve mentioned probably on the podcast a few times that we were married for almost 11 years before we had our first daughter. I don’t talk a lot about the struggle that we had know. We tried for a really long time. We got married very young, and all I ever wanted was to be a wife and a mom, and so we got married. We had just turned 20 and I just thought, “Well, no one in my family had a problem getting pregnant. Why would I?”
For it to take so long for us to actually get pregnant was just, it was devastating. We had our first finally, I mean, and the interesting thing is, and I’m sure you’ve heard this story many times we had started looking into adoption because we couldn’t get pregnant. I just thought, “Well, you know what, my heart is to be a mom.” I mean, even though I wanted to feel that life inside of me, I really want it to be a mom. I thought, “If the Lord chooses to give us children through adoption, that’s just as exciting as pregnancy, and then I don’t have to go through labor and delivery.” We started looking into adoption, and sure enough ended up getting pregnant, I mean just within probably a couple of months.
Perhaps we should have started looking into adoption years earlier. It was really exciting when I finally did get pregnant. Then took us another almost five years to have our second daughter. We lost a couple in between there. God’s timing is perfect. I remember you spoke awhile back at an event. It was called Day of Mourning with Elizabeth Johnston and Heidi St John, and the [Bennen 00:07:04] brothers, and a bunch of other amazing people. One of the things that you said really struck me, and you talked about how there are two moms often times and you’ve got the mom who’s crying because she can’t have a baby and she desperately wants to have children, and then, and she just can’t for whatever reason, and then you’ve got another mom on the other side who’s crying because she has found herself pregnant and she simply doesn’t know what to do.
She knows that she can’t handle a child, and being a mom. I love that your ministry gives these moms and option. Like you said, I mean it’s so shocking I think when we hear the statistics of how many of these moms choose abortion over adoption, when there are so many parents who desperately want to have children and they can’t. I mean it when I hear of the list of parents who are waiting to adopt a baby, and they’re waiting for sometimes years, and then there’s thousands who are being murdered every day, that has to shift. I mean that paradigm just absolutely has to shift somehow. God has really given you and your family a platform and you get to do it together because-
Jessica: that’s right, we homeschool.
Yvette: … because you homeschool.
Jessica: That’s right.
Yvette: We love that part because our kids have always been able to be right beside of us whenever we’re ministering. It’s been really special to make it about that ability. I can’t imagine it any other way because obviously our daughter is very powerful in what we do. She does come to the sidewalks with us, so does our son. They’re both heavily involved in pro-life rescue ministry. It’s just a really special thing to be able to share with our kids.
That’s so cool. Maybe take us through what it would look like, because for many people it sounds really scary to be part of something like this, to go and actually confront the other side of it. What does it look like for you as a family when you maybe go to an abortion clinic or a pro-life center and you how you get to talk with these moms?
Jessica: My husband is really a huge prayer warrior, so he has the prayer component, and I am more of the sidewalk counselor. When I’m there, pretty much calling out to the men and women as they’re going in. A lot of times we’re on a microphone, we’re able to give the Gospel. So many times we hear them say, “I can hear you from inside the building. I’ve heard what you said.” Most of the time, it’s not the words that we’re speaking from our hearts, it’s the words from the word of God that just pierce their heart in those moments. We’ve had women come out who are almost just moments away from having an abortion saying that they’ve heard us, and then come on board.
We work with a local ministry that is a pregnancy resource center out of Monroe, North Carolina called HELP, and they actually use their mobile ultrasound unit in front of the abortion clinic and allow us to go on board and council these women while they’re also having the ultrasound, and so it’s really powerful. They also give free pregnancy tests, so it’s an opportunity for us to allow that woman a little bit of time to slow down and just breathe for a few moments and think about what she’s doing. That’s really what it looks like in our kids are there with us. My son a lot of times is there helping with whatever it needs to be done, whether it means holding a sign or helping with something else.
My daughter is a huge component because she’s a living example of what choosing life looks like. It’s undeniable the power that she has when she’s there. I’ve seen grown men who are driving even their wives to the clinic. She and I have been able to stop their car in the middle of the road before they went into the clinic and talk to them. She has been able to tell her testimony, and the men are weeping and realizing exactly what they’re doing. There is something very powerful that God has done, I believe with the children who were spared from the atrocity of abortion. He is raising them up and using them as a voice for the voiceless.
Yvette: Yeah, that’s so amazing. We recently have learned about something similar to your mobile unit that you work with called Save the Storks. It’s a neat ministry, that’s all. I mean, they’re all over the country, and they’re growing more and more. They say when those moms go onto the bus and they get to hear, see the ultrasound, they get to see their baby and here that baby’s heartbeat, four out of five moms choose life for their baby, which is just absolutely incredible. Tell your story about how you ended up adopting because your son is, he’s your biological son.
Jessica: That’s right.
Yvette: How did you end up adopting your, your daughter?
Jessica: Well, we had our son and I always tell everybody, it was probably one of the easiest things that we’d ever done. We kind of sat down and said, “We think it’s time to start a family”, and two weeks later I was pregnant, and I was young, I was really naive. None of my girlfriends had experienced any losses at that point in time. I just really felt like that’s the way it went for everyone. Rhett was about a year old, I think when Reggie and I said, “Okay, it’s time, let’s grow our family some more and start trying.” We tried and we tried in a year went by ,and we finally said, “Something’s just not right because it was so easy the first time. Let’s go seek some counsel from an infertility specialist.” We were told as our two year old son was sitting on my lap, my husband was on the side of me and the doctor looked and said, “Your son is an absolute miracle by the test results.”
“He really shouldn’t be here.” It just was such a shock for me. I was not prepared for that. I don’t know what I was prepared for. I just never thought I would be told that there’s little chance that I’d ever have children again, from my womb, at least. I walked out that day, we went to lunch and I just felt so defeated and so broken, but my husband didn’t. He had a different take on it. I’ll just never forget him saying, “Jessica, have you ever thought, God may have a different plan for our family?”
Just to be real with you and your readers, because that’s the only way I believe are being, I wasn’t on board with adoption right away. It was something that was really hard for me. It was like I was dying to this dream I had in my mind of having little stair step children who look like us, who had our talents and different things. It took me a while to die to that, and once I did, I opened my heart up to the possibilities that God would have.
It’s also important that everyone know for us, at least for me, it was still a scary process. Sometimes adoption, we see, we see certain things on Facebook and we don’t always see the whole, the whole picture. It’s important for the audience to know that sometimes God calls you out onto the water, and you just have to take one step at a time, no matter how scared you are. I’m sure we’ll get into it in a few minutes, but as I tell you more about our story, you’ll see that God totally blew my mind with the dreams that I had for myself, compared to what he had for us. It’s exciting. I want everyone to know that, that if you are in the midst of something and fear has gripped you, hand it to him because chances are once you hand it over, he’s getting ready to bless you beyond measure.
So after I opened my heart to adoption, and my husband was so sweet and kind during that process. He Never pushed me. He never told me how I should feel, or what I should think. All he did was look at me and said, “I’d pray for you. I’ll just keep praying for you”, and he did. One day, I let go of that fear. For us it led us to a private adoption lawyer. We were really excited because he said, our wait would be about six months. We were like, “Okay, this is wonderful.” We actually did get placed with a little girl, but the adoption did not end up going through. For a couple who has experienced loss already, it was very similar to losing a child again.
It was heartbreaking. We couldn’t figure out why this was happening. We just thought “We stepped out on the water, Lord, why would this be happening?” We, through a series of circumstances, we did not feel led to continue on with this lawyer. God led us to an adoption agency. I just will never forget the timing. It is so God. I love telling this story, because he gets all the glory. With this agency, they only accept a certain number of couples per year. The day that I had called, I believe they were having, it was like the week later they were having it’s kind of like you had to go to a conference and learn about what it meant to be an adoptive family. It’s like a two day thing. They had space for one more couple. That couple was us.
Jessica: We ended up going, and God really stretched me in the process, because they ask you so many questions. You really get to see what your heart is made of, and you get to see what’s in there and maybe what doesn’t need to be there. I remember our social worker looked at me and said, “Are you going to allow God to stretch you in this process?” Of course I told her “Yes”, but I wasn’t really thinking anything major would happen. Well, we were told that we would wait anywhere from a year to two years or maybe more for a baby. After we got our name on a list and got our books and into the agency, I believe it was only about two or three days before we got a call that an adoptive mom and her parents had chosen Reggie and I, and would like to meet with us, and that was really exciting. It was very fast.
Yvette: Yeah, that is fast, that’s amazing. How old was her biological mom?
Jessica: She was 19.
Jessica: She was younger. Yeah, she was in college and younger. She was just a brave young girl who knew she couldn’t give life the life that she wanted for her with two parents. She and her mom and dad made a really hard decision and as a family, that’s how they came across our profile through the agency. They interviewed us, and it was neat because she actually was homeschooled for a portion of her schooling. We had just decided a few days earlier to homeschool Rhett. It came up during our interview.
Yvette: That is amazing timing. What an incredible story of your adoption of Blythe, and then how God has used that to impact the lives of so many other people. He’s just used your family, and all you’ve done is said yes, and been willing to just obey and do what God’s asked. I think so oftentimes we don’t realize that it just takes a yes, and like you said, it’s just steps. You just take one step at a time. It’s not like end up deep in the middle of this ministry over night. You just take one step at a time, one foot in front of the other, and God just opens the doors and does what he does. We just have to be willing to, to surrender and to obey.
Yvette: Talk about homeschooling and not so much like what it looks like on a day-to-day basis, but you said your husband was a public school educator, has his master’s degree in public education. How has that transformed your family?
Jessica: Well, the homeschooling in general, I can’t get over how you get to share your life with your kids. One of the most impactful things for us as parents has been that we know their hearts so well. We know their sin bins, we know what God has gifted them with. I think it’s so special to be able to do life with them on a daily basis all during the day, and just have time with them. I really don’t know how I can know them at such a deep level if I wasn’t given that privilege. We’re just so thankful. I’m thankful to my husband that he works so hard to make it a possibility for me to be home with them, and that we just have just shared life with them.
Yvette: Does your husband still work in public education?
Jessica: No, he’s not. He’s in cyber security. He works from home too, so we’re all here together.
Yvette: Yes, us too. We’re the same. We love it. That’s so great. I ask because we’ve actually interviewed several people who are public school teachers or work in the public school world, and they always homeschool their kids. Not that every public school educator homeschools, but the ones we’ve talked to and, and it’s usually because they’re on the inside, they see what’s going on, and they say, “Not for my kids. I’ll go be salt and light and I will be a witness to these kids, but I will not put my children in in this type of atmosphere.”
I would love for you to talk a little bit about working from home, because you have this ministry now and I never planned to be a work from home homeschool mom. I actually never planned to be a homeschool mom, and then and God had a better plan than I did as he always does. Then I never planned to work in the midst of it, and God has called her family to film this documentary on homeschooling. I also get to work side by side with my husband, and that brings a whole new level of homeschooling, because you then have to learn to kind of juggle ministry and homeschooling and family and all of that stuff. What does that look like for your family and for you?
Jessica: It definitely takes some planning on my part because of the type of work that I do. I can get calls at 3:00 AM, or I can get calls at noon. My family has been so gracious when they have to share me. Just recently, a few weeks ago, they had to share me for about two or three the full days where I was a labor and delivery partner for a young woman who chose life and wanted to place for adoption, and that meant that, I was away from the home. My husband really stepped in. I would say for us, it’s just working as team. I’m very blessed to have a husband who just really sees that there are some parts of this ministry that only I can do as a female. He’s been gracious to be able to step in with homeschooling, whether that means taking them to, they’re in the speech and debate club for instance, or it means stepping in and helping teach some of the subjects when I’m not able to.
Then my kids are just amazing. I couldn’t ask for anything more. When it comes to them, they understand that our family has a call that most families don’t have. I’ll give you a for instance, I’ll brag a little bit on them. My son especially, he’s 13 ,and so when the Day of Mourning event that you mentioned earlier in the podcast came about, Elizabeth and I sat down and talked about what was God really calling us to do. Baseball season was getting ready to start, and Rhett and I sat down with his dad and we talked a little bit and he was willing to give up a sport that he really loves, and he’s actually a really good player. He saw this vision that God had put our family on phone the front lines of something, and this is where we needed to be. That’s pretty special when you see that they have a heart for ministry, and that they’re willing to give up some things that are really important to them.
Yvette: Yeah, that’s incredible. There’s nothing better and know better training for our kids spiritually, than to do ministry together as a family. It’s so important because we can take them to church on Sundays and we can read the Bible with them and we can say, “This is what you should do.” If they don’t actually see us doing it, and they’re not doing it with us, they’re not experiencing the life that God has called them to. God calls some families to do big ministries like what you’re doing. and then he calls some to, whisper scripture into their ears of their babies as they’re changing diapers and as they’re reading to them and reading God’s word to them. I mean, it doesn’t matter how big or small your platform is, God’s given every single one of us a platform and a purpose, and so bringing our kids alongside and doing that. I mean, it could be going to the park and just seeing a mom who’s maybe there alone with her kids and going up and meeting her and to just befriending her.
There just are so many ways to minister, because we live in a hurting world who desperately needs Jesus. They need to see and hear and feel the love of Jesus through us and through our children and our families to where it just becomes second nature. Our kids don’t know any different than to just do ministry. I remember several years ago, my husband, and I went to a parenting class and one of our pastors who was teaching it, he, he also loved baseball. He said, “I fully expect that my sons will grow up to love baseball, because I love baseball and we play baseball together and we watch baseball together and we talk about baseball.”
“I expect them to grow up understanding and knowing and loving baseball”, he said, “Just like my kids know that I love Jesus, and we learn about Jesus and we follow Jesus and we do Jesus together.” That’s exactly how it should be. When you, when you’re putting your kids in in school for 35 or 40 hours a week and doing ministry by yourself, apart from them, they’re not getting to experience that with you.
Jessica: That’s true.
Yvette: It’s just such a beautiful way to raise our kids. We talk a lot on the podcast about how homeschooling is so much more than the academics. I mean, I feel like the academics are such a small part actually of homeschooling. I mean, they’re necessary and important, but we’re preparing them for life. We want to prepare our kids for a life of serving Jesus, just like you are with your kids.
How can you encourage the mom who, who’s homeschooling? Maybe she’s thinking about going through adoption and I shouldn’t even say homeschooling. It could be a mom who’s not homeschooling, and maybe I’m just listening to this podcast, but who’s maybe considering adoption. Maybe she’s having a hard time getting pregnant or maybe she just feels like the Lord has put adoption on her heart. How would you encourage that mom?
Jessica: I would say, if you feel that prompting from the Lord, then chances are it’s something he’s leading you into. It’s not something to be taken lightly. We don’t always hear that message, but I’m a firm believer that not everyone is called to adopt, but we are all called to be part of the process. Some are called to bring a child into their family. Some are called to finance the the funding of an adoption. Some are called to pray. We are all called to be part of it, because it is the heart of God. It’s exactly what he did for us. He adopted us into his family. It’s a beautiful picture of the Gospel. I would just say if that prompting is there, then chances are it is from the Lord, and to enter into fervent prayer about it because it is such a special and sacred thing that you can do. It’s totally different than parenting a biological child.
I’ll just be real because there’s so much that comes with it, and there’s a whole another family or possibly two families that you are going to be involved with. In our case, we have an open adoption, and we have a relationship with Blythe’s birth, mother’s side of the family, grandparents, the aunts, the uncles, and of course the birth mom. Those are all things to consider. It’s a huge blessing. One of the things that doesn’t get talked about a lot that I would just love to share is I think that people are fearful of adoption. I get a lot of calls. I believe in being real. I was fearful too. One of my fears was would I love my daughter as much as my son because he was biological. How could it even be possible is what my mind was telling me.
I just want to say the bonding process did take a little longer for me than it did with my son. Honestly, in my heart, I don’t see any difference between my children. You’d have to remind me which one is adopted, that’s really how I feel at this point. And that such a fear. I just want to share that with you and your audience, because that’s something that doesn’t get talked about because I think people don’t want to ever seem as if adoption is something that would ever be a negative. It’s not a negative, it’s a growth process. I always tell everyone that I feel absolutely privileged, that God shows us to learn how deeply he loves us in the respect of adopting us into his family. He allowed me to see that through an actual adoption in my own life. I do feel very privileged. I wish that everyone could have that experience, whether it’s through adoption themselves or through walking with a family that has adopted.
Yvette: Yeah. Oh, I love that encouragement so much. In reality, every single one of our children belong to the Lord Anyway, they don’t belong to us. They’re just on loan to us for a little while.
Jessica: An adopted child just comes through a different avenue.
Yvette: That’s right.
Jessica: I firmly believe that our daughter was chosen for our family from the beginning of time. It was just a brave young girl who was used as the vehicle to bring her into the world and share her with us.
Yvette: Yeah, that is amazing. I love that so much. Thank you so much Jessica for your encouragement. Thank you for sharing your story and just opening up your heart and your family to us. I hope that that this will encourage others to just take action. A love that you talk about even if God’s not calling you specifically to adoption, he’s calling us all to do something. Even if it’s supporting an adoptive mom, just by loving her and loving her family or her family who’s going through it, I think everybody knows somebody who is somehow touched by adoption. I love the encouragement of just being able to be out there, to encourage that so much. Thank you again. I love what you guys are doing. You’re a blessing. We appreciate having you on this show so much.
Jessica: Thank you for having me. I so appreciate you being able to allow me to share my testimony. I think it’s something that only God could write.
Jessica: I’m not the same girl that I was 13, 14 years ago when we started the journey of parenting. He’s done a work in me and is continuing to do it.
Yvette: Yeah, that’s amazing. Well, I can’t wait to see what he continues to do and how he continues to grow your ministry. Where can people find you?
Jessica: Well the website is a great place to go. So it’s Option-Adoption.com. If you ever need a resource for someone that you come across that may be abortion minded or maybe a family that wants to learn more about adoption, you can find those things on our website.
Yvette: Perfect. I hope this conversation has been an encouragement to you. Go encourage a mom somewhere somehow.