I have SO much to be thankful for! I wish I didn't forget that so often. My life hasn't been perfect but I thing it has turned out pretty amazing so far. 

I had a super rough childhood. It's something I hate talking about. When Mick told me that we were going to South Dakota for the summer last year I burst into tears. I grew up there and lots of great things happened but a LOT of terrible things happened first. 

**I don't write these things so people feel sorry for me. I only share to give a little background. It is personal but I hope it helps you know me a little better.**

After Mick told me the news and I reacted with tears and anger he said I can either start off hating the summer or I could just decide to make it wonderful! He has right! It was a bit hard but I decided to have a great summer! I decided to be excited to try something new. 

We got to good ol' SD and wow...I was flooded with so many memories of my childhood. Memories I had put into a box and locked away hoping to never think about again. Its been almost 10 months since the summer when these memories began to flood my mind. I decided it was time to share a bit of my story. 

Before I was adopted at age eleven I spent years going from place to place, from foster home to grandma's to my biological parents and at times being completely on my own with no adults to take care of me and my younger siblings. There were WAY too times that I had to be the mom, starting at age 6. I had to find ways to feed myself and my siblings. I had to make sure they got to school. I had to make sure they didn't burn the house down or harm them selves in any way. 
I also had to take care of my cousins and random people's kids. I once had to save a two year old from his mother who was so drunk that she just threw him outside in the snow because he was crying. 
I experienced and saw death in so many ways. The worse was when my 16 year old cousin hung herself in a tree because her boyfriend broke up with her. 

I am not going to share any more stories or to go into too many of the details because I still can't bring myself to share them with others. I am not ready to say them out loud or write them. Really bad things happened to me and my sibling and thinking about them still hurts more than I can ever describe. 

But things changed.

Three of my four siblings, two of my cousins and I were put up for adoption. HA. That almost makes us sound like we were pets to be adopted out. But that's not how it is. Hehe.

I wont go into that whole story because it is long and this is already turning into a book. So we were adopted by our second cousins (twice removed...what????) Robert and Robin Hunt. There were so many angry people. Rob and Robin were super young and had never had kids. WHY would they be chosen to adopt SIX children all at the same time?

Here is why.

They had God as their companion.

Now, I am NOT one to be preachy or to force my faith and beliefs on others. I definitely prefer to share my faith through example. I have had people ask me why I am the way I am and I will happily share what I believe it is but I want everyone who reads this post to know that it isn't to preach or like I said earlier, to "force" my religion on others.

My parents (adopted) are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints aka Mormon. They are humble and good, wonderful, kind, accepting people. They took us in and loved us. They took care of us. They provided for all our needs. They taught us how to work hard. They kissed our scraped knees, rubbed our upset tummies and gave us home made Spider Spray to kill spiders with (which we now know was just water in an old hair spray bottle. Tricky! Very tricky!). 

Most importantly, they taught us that families are FOREVER! Not just until we die but even after we die when we go to heaven. 
For more information go HERE.

I am all grown up now. I had many opportunities use my past as an excuse to be unhappy. I had opportunities to stop going to this church, and I did at one point. But I couldn't stay away for too long! Yes, the LDS faith is strict. Yes, its hard to follow all  the "rules". But I found that it was so much harder to try and not care than it was to be a good LDS woman.  

I believe that you do not have to be Mormon to be truly happy (although there are certain things you will find in the LDS faith you won't find any where else that personally bring me the most happiness and purest joy. If you wish to know what I feel those things are please ask me! I would love to share with those who wish to know). I believe you DO need to have God there by your side to help guide you through this crazy thing we call Life.

I started off this life the way NO child should. I still think about the things my siblings and I had to go through before we were able to just be happy and loved and protected from the evils of this world. We could have grown up bitter and angry. We could have become addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. We could have dropped out of school and been bums or teenage parents. We could have chosen to be unhappy and depressed and used the excuse "But look at how our childhood was". 

NO! We DECIDED to be different and to make something AMAZING of our lives.

I met an amazing man who showed me what true love was. He asked me to marry him and I said yes! We then became an eternal family and 9 months later we added the sweetest baby boy to our forever family. I am starting my own business. I have siblings getting married, going on missions (HERE), going to college, working hard to earn money, working hard to get good grade in high school because they have been given a college scholarship! We don't always make the right choices. We are not always 100% happy every minute of our day. BUT we ARE happy!

The moral of this story is....


Later: I have been looking at this post for several days now trying to decide if I was going to post it or not. I am super scared. I don't know what of or why. 
Will people read this and think bad of me. Will people read this and feel awkward around me or my family? Will people read this and judge?

I don't know the answers. But here is what I hope. I hope that maybe someone will read this and will find hope, faith, strength, or will simply just be inspired to be a little better.

What ever the result, I know that if feels good to finally share this story. Yes a lot has been left out but I hope that there is enough.


  1. I never really knew anything about your past except that you were adopted. I didn't even know that you were related to Rob and Robin. I have always thought you were beautiful and strong and I don't think anything will ever change that. I know it's hard to say things or type them sometimes for the world to see, but I think we also need that sometimes to know that people love us and accept us no matter what, even if our past isn't ideal. And I think you are completely right, we don't always get to decide what happens to us, but we get to decide how we react to it. It's such blessing to be a mom and you reminded me of that today. (it has been A week!)

    1. Thank you Amanda! Being a mom is probably one of the very best blessings of my life! And knowing that we have the gospel to help us be better moms just makes it so much better! You're awesome! You and Jen will probably always be some of my favorite Young women's leaders growing up!

  2. love you jess! you are amazing. the end!

    1. i love YOU! I am so happy you are going to be a mama soon!

  3. Jess I read your post and it made me start crying! You are one of my heroes and you always have been Jess. I feel so grateful that I met you way back in South Dakota. You are one of those people who has helped teach me about strength and faith. Thank you for writing that post. You never cease to amaze me. Love you.

  4. WOW...a win, win! You are grateful to have met Mick and we are at least that grateful that he met you. What an amazing gift to have you be a part of our family. Now that you're moving don't let Kenny get to far away. Ken

  5. Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing, Jess, Kenny is a lucky little boy to have such great parents with perspective and faith. We're happy you Met Mick, too, and happier you said yes! :-)

  6. Jess-That was a great post. I am glad that you decided to publish this post. You are a wonderful writer. Your blog is great! Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us. :) You are a great mother and you are so sweet to my boys too! Thank you!

  7. Jess, I love this post. I'm sure it took so much for you to open up and share, I admire that. I think it's so important that you shared a little bit of where you've been so that people can understand that you've been on both sides of the fence. I grew up in a very very strict LDS home, and I was a very good kid, I always just did what I was told. Unlike you, I was very sheltered. I got married in the temple at 18, not because I wanted to with all my heart, but because it was all I knew and I felt pressure to do so. I didn't want to let anyone down! After about 4 years things got a little rough with my marriage and I left the church, wanted nothing to do with it. I've done some pretty bad things and traveled some paths I never thought I would, but saw how dark and lonely it was. It was only this past year that I started going again, but this time because I CHOSE it. I am taking it on from a new fresh perspective, learning and gathering a new testimony of different gospel principles. The power of forgiveness is so strong, and I know God loves me more than I ever imagined. I know that some day, someone is going to benefit from my story and be strengthened by it. Yours as well. It is so powerful, and you never know who needs to hear it. Love you.

  8. Jess, I am so PROUD of you! You and your family are such wonderful people and you all lit up every room you went into. The strength, determination and love you all have in you is amazing. Love you lots, lady! So, so proud of you!
    P.S. You were one of my favorites too - don't tell anyone!
    Love, Jen (your YW leader that was WAY cooler than the other one with the ugly long hair)

    1. I am not sure who you are talking about here......;) She sounds pretty cool though. I love people with long, ugly hair.

  9. Amanda, (whoever you are) you would.