Jackie Appleman fostered teens as a single woman in her twenties. After battling her fears during her time as a foster mother, she finally said “yes” to adopting and is now a parent to her daughter, Jessie.
She shares, “I said my ‘yes’ back in January. (I had) all the emotions and anxiety and all these things — and the day of the adoption comes and it was like a light switch. That day was just so full of grace, and I was just so at peace, and so joyful, and so happy.”
Meet Jackie Appleman: adoptive parent
South Bend, Indiana
Jackie Appleman: So at the end of March I get a phone call at 2 o’clock in the morning, and it was a foster agency calling. And they’re only calling you at 2 o’clock in the morning for one reason, because there’s an emergency, and they need a placement, and I was like, “Well, I don’t want another kid right now.” So I ignored the call, turned around to go back to sleep, and I heard, probably the most clear I’ve ever heard God talk to me before is, “If I call, will you answer?”
Jackie fostered teens as a single woman in her twenties.
(Jackie shows some pictures)
We’re all dressed up as Disney princesses. Oh, it’s the live action Beauty and the Beast and we all dressed up as Disney princesses.
It was about six years ago when I started that process. It wasn’t until a family friend started fostering that I gave it another thought. She basically told me, she’s like, “You know, they need a place where they’ll be loved and where they can be safe, and if you’re able to provide that for them, and that’s what you’re being called to do, then that shouldn’t stop you.”
(Showing pictures from a photobooth)
This is Jessica when she was brand new.
(Speaking to Jessica)
I forgot you used to not smile, not show your teeth when you smiled. And now she does!
The agency called again, and they were like, “Hey, we have a nine-year-old that needs placement tonight.”
(Jessica takes care of chickens in the backyard)
Jessica Appleman: This is Yoda.
Jackie: And I’m like, “A nine-year-old? No.” I don’t know what grade a nine year old is in. I didn’t know if they could read. I don’t know what they eat, what they do. Like, I had no concept of where a nine-year-old was in the range of child development.
Jessica: They like to look for bugs. And so they’ll go there, but their food’s there. So now I need to move it somewhere else where it’ll be more safe. So that way they can locate their food.
Jackie: She came with nothing but the clothes on her back. I remember we were in this room. Her and the caseworker came in and they’re sitting on the couch, and I come in, and I look at her, and it was like one of those moments. I was like, “Yeah, she’s not leaving.”
Jessica: Yessie Fluffy Appleman. Yessie is a combination of Jessie, which is my nickname, J-E-S-S-I-E, and Yes Day, which is the day that my mom said yes to me, Jackie. And so we named her Yessie and then Fluffy, because she’s very fluffy and soft. And then Appleman because of our last name.
Jackie formally adopted Jessica in March 2020.
(Jessica prays in the back seat of the car)
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
Jackie: So Yeah, I really value a consistent life ethic, so advocating against violence of any group of people, and the pre-born are the most vulnerable, and the most innocent, of any other group of people.
Jackie is the Executive Director of Right to Life Michiana.
(Jackie and Jessica walk into Jackie’s office)
The other side is the supporting for the woman. There are a lot of things in our culture and society that do not have a woman or families best interests at heart. So making sure that they have the resources and support they need to keep themselves in a safe situation and be able to thrive in their pregnancy and motherhood. Making sure that woman feels supported in a way where they don’t feel like they have to go to abortion as an option.
(Jackie walks into a chapel, kneels, and starts praying.)
As I’m reflecting on my story, fear is a thing that kept coming up that kept stopping me from saying yes right away. Fear before taking this job, that it wasn’t my plan to adopt, and looking back on it, it just seems so ridiculous that I was afraid of those things, and so I’m grateful for God’s continued invitation and continued presence in my life, even despite my noes, and once I was able to acknowledge and address the fear, I was like, “Okay, I’m going to do this.”
(Whispering as she exits the chapel) Oh, the holy water’s back!
So I said my “yes” back in January. So like all the emotions and anxious and all these things, and the day of the adoption comes. It was like a light switch. That day was just so full of grace, and I was just so at peace, and so joyful, and so happy. It was just really beautiful. God’s grace was poured upon us that day. It’s really the only way to describe it.
(A dog chases chickens in the backyard. Jackie feeds the chickens.)
You guys want a snack? Oh, it didn’t even crack. Here, let’s try that again. There you go.