A Few More by Jessica Turk

I’ve got to tell you, our household is a crazy one. My husband and I have six children. I was just 16 when we found out we were going to have our first daughter. What a scary time. I always said I was never having children, but the moment she was born I knew it was meant to be.  Then just a year and a half later our second daughter was born. We had no idea what we were doing, but we loved every moment with them.

We decided that we would wait on having any more kids until we were a little more financially stable. So we fast forward 8 years and we want to start trying for another baby. I went to see my doctor only to discover I was in the early stages of cervical cancer. I had to have surgery to remove the infected areas and was then told that because of the amount of scar tissue I would have extreme difficulty getting pregnant. After much discussion with family and friends, we decided we were going to become licensed foster parents and hopefully adopt a baby. We were almost done with our licensing process when we found out we were pregnant. We couldn’t believe it! I saw it as a sign from God. We can handle two babies.

Shortly after being licensed we received the call we were waiting for. Here we were 19 weeks pregnant and picking up a one day old baby girl. Things were perfect. Our older girls were so excited to have a baby sister. We then found out we were having a baby boy. Things were going great until I woke up one day in extreme pain. I went to the emergency room and they said it looked like I might be miscarrying. Oh no, this can’t be happening! They did an ultrasound and said he still had a strong heartbeat. What was going on, I didn’t know what to think. I had to go to the bathroom, the nurse helped me out of bed so I could go and at that moment my water broke. This can’t be happening, I’m only 25 weeks. They start telling me about survival rates and emergency surgery and what’s going to happen if we have a baby today.

I cried, and prayed. Then after about 6 hours of contractions and them preparing me for the worst, everything just stopped. They couldn’t explain it, but he just wasn’t ready. They informed us that I would be staying in the hospital until he decided it was time. I was hooked up to an IV and stuck in a bed for the next 5 and a half weeks. At 30 weeks I got really sick and spiked a dangerously high fever. Of course this was the same time I started having contractions. Our little boy was born the next day at only 30 weeks and 3 pounds. This whole time I’m helpless in the hospital my poor husband has been at home with the girls and our foster baby who was born addicted and going through withdraws.

I was so excited that I finally got to go home, but my baby boy had to stay. He had to have a blood transfusion, a breathing tube, and a feeding tube. He stayed in the NICU for 6 weeks. Finally he was strong enough to come home. We finally had both babies together. Things were perfect again. Baby boy was home, baby girl was done with her withdraw and acting like a typical baby.

After about a month of perfection we found out that baby girl wasn’t going to be staying with us like originally planned. We were devastated but knew that God had a plan. She left the end of May, and in the first week of June we received a call for another foster child or maybe two. They were brothers and they were 2 and 3 years old. We said yes, because we had the room and I mean what’s two more right? They were so little and scared. The little one was so underweight and didn’t know how to speak. The older one barely spoke and would eat out of the trash when no one was looking. These poor children, my heart broke for them. Then we found out that they had more siblings out there. I wish I could have taken them all in.

Fast forward 18 months and our boys were up for adoption. We jumped on the opportunity to make them permanent members of our family. Six months later we got a call that their older brother was back in Grand Rapids and they couldn’t find a family for him to go to. What’s one more right? So we took in their brother and within six months we adopted him too and made him a permanent member of our family.

It took a lot of ups and downs to form our family and make us complete, but I couldn’t imagine it going any other way. Our girls are adjusting to the craziness of having 4 brothers and the boys are adjusting to life with a new family. Our youngest son suffers from numerous health issues and developmental delays due to being born so premature, our adopted sons suffer from things like Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, PTSD, night terrors, and reactive attachment disorder. Even with all of their little quirks I wouldn’t change a thing. Our journeys and stories are what help me help others in similar situations. I am a huge advocate for my kids and with God’s help they will grow up to do great things.