Strengthening Families

Jessica Taylor, Guest Speaker & Nursery Mom“It isn’t just a crisis nursery, it is someone that understands you, and doesn’t downplay struggles, it is someone who loves my children unconditionally, and it is somewhere my little children see as a friend’s home. When my older children are spending the night at their friends’ house they ask if they can go spend the night at ‘Vanessa’s house’ as they call it, and don’t understand that they can’t just go see them when they want to.”

These are recent heartfelt words shared by Jessica Taylor, Nursery mom and Guest Speaker at our annual Vanessa’s Promise Benefit Luncheon.

Jessica never imagined herself as one that would need or utilize a Crisis Nursery, in fact, Jessica was unaware of VBCN when relocating to the area with her husband Mike and three older children so she could attend college.  While working on her Master’s degree, Jessica and Mike made the decision to become foster parents preparatory for adopting.  “On August 26th, as I was celebrating with my children completing my master’s program, I received a phone call that asked if we could foster a little boy, Porter, that was 23 months old.  In the previous two months he had three placements because of negative outbursts.  He also had medical problems that led to many hours a week with various therapies and learning how to eat so he wouldn’t asphyxiate with his food or drinks. We opened our hearts that day not knowing the true challenges he would face. Six weeks later his little sister Collette also joined us with a failure to thrive diagnosis among other medical and emotional problems as well.  There were many sleepless nights and around the clock feedings as she has a g-tube.  Two years ago, she could not eat anything by mouth and threw up often.  Both children have sensory complications, trauma and neglect history that require special attention and extra time.

Jessica and Mike were overjoyed to welcome these two amazing little ones to their family, but the daily struggles of not only being new parents to two young energetic children but ones with special needs began to take a toll on all aspects of their lives. Friends and playdates became few and far between as many friends did not understand Porters behavior issues or the extra attention the kiddos needed. Jessica needed to return to work and the family was unable to find reliable daycare for the children.  “Collette was denied many placements in child care for her extra medical needs as they were not trained in caring for a g-tube.  When we did find a center that would accept them Porter was kicked out due to outbursts related to his trauma, or self-harming behaviors. We ended up having them going to separate day cares on opposite sides of town.”  Jessica became so involved with caring for the children and not burdening anyone else that she lost sight of many important things.

In an effort to become social again, Jessica joined a community event and met VBCN Volunteer Director Reanna Thompson. In sharing her story Reanna encouraged Jessica to utilize the Nursery for a break.  Jessica graciously declined not thinking her situation was a crisis nor wanting to utilize resources that others in the community may need more than her family. Reconsidering the idea, Jessica decided to do a trial run with Porter.  Inside the Nursery walls, Jessica found caring staff willing to learn how to care for the needs of Porter and Collette, no matter the level of difficulty.  “The staff is so supportive in seeing the need to support my entire family, not just those staying at the center. Once I was able to see the benefits and how much more the Nursery was then I first thought, my next wave of emotion was why did no one tell me before when I was struggling caring for a sick child on no sleep, and no breaks that there was this amazing resource that could have been so much more precious.”

Just like many parents, Jessica’s first experience was emotional but upon picking Porter up was met with relief and positive feedback about Porter’s visit. Jessica was encouraged to come back with Porter, and bring Collette too.

Soon Jessica came back with both children. “I am grateful that VBCN has given me a knowledge that someone cares and has my back if and when I need it.”  With the support of the Nursery, Jessica has been able to reconnect with her husband and her older children, family members, and most importantly focus on her own care.

“The best part is when picking up the children. The staff sits down and takes a moment to reconnect and review the children’s day.  They highlight the positives and how much joy the children bring back to the center.  Porter and Collette are so excited to reunite with us, and tell us about all the wonderful food, or staff, or costumes, or how they rocked with them and read books.  Porter and Collette know they are loved there.”

Jessica ended her story thanking the audience for supporting the Nursery and sharing,  “what a blessing it is to have VBCN in our community supporting parents in supporting healthy children. They have provided us the ability to fill our responsibilities as a parent to each of our children when extra burdens have been placed upon us.”