After 9 miscarriages, mom adopts drug-addicted baby & her sick brother

"WE JUST PRAY EVERY DAY THAT WE CAN GET THROUGH IT … AND WE ALWAYS DO.”

Leigh Jackson, 34, talks about her children with nothing but love. Her son, Brody, and daughter, Hope, hold a very special place in her heart. None

“These kids are our life. They really are. They are awesome kids, and they deserve so much.”

Leigh Jackson, 34, talks about her children with nothing but love. Her son, Brody, and daughter, Hope, hold a very special place in her heart.

Leigh and her husband, TJ, adopted the biological siblings shortly after they were born. First came Hope, now 8, followed by Brody, 5.

On paper, the family's situation seems miraculous, as Leigh’s journey to motherhood was rough, to say the least.

Over an eight-year period, she suffered nine miscarriages and had several operations to treat her endometriosis, a reproductive condition that makes sustaining pregnancy incredibly difficult.

After the final loss, she and her husband left things up to God.

“I couldn’t do it anymore,” Leigh recalls. “I said, ‘God, you gotta show me the way. What is it that we are meant to do?’ We wanted kids desperately … we loved kids.”

The intensity of the Jacksons’ story has touched thousands around the world.

After losing nine babies of their own, they saved the lives of two children who had had all odds stacked against them.

Finding Hope

"WE DIDN'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE MOM ... WE LEFT IT TO GOD."

Leigh and TJ, of  Milledgeville, Georgia, were high school sweethearts who got swept into the real world at an early age.

They married after graduating high school and went into the workforce - Leigh in law enforcement and TJ in the maintenance field.

Once they decided to start a family, everything was an uphill battle.

Through each pregnancy, Leigh would make it to about the halfway point before losing the baby.

“Then we were led to adoption,” she says. “We stayed on the waiting list for about a year, and then we got a call that a baby was left at a local hospital. We visited and fell in love with her before we even got there.”

Leigh and TJ were told that the baby girl had tested positive for drugs.

“We didn’t know anything about the mom,” she says. “We didn’t have much to go on … The hospital said everything could be OK, but we didn’t even think about that. It wasn’t even a decision. We left it to God.”

They named her Hope because they always hoped for a baby.

“She came home, we adopted her,” Leigh says, “and we were a family.”

At first, things seemed to be OK, as Hope was hitting milestones and developing on target. Because she was always sick with respiratory infections, it made sense for Leigh to quit her jobs and stay home to raise her daughter.

As time went on, it was apparent that something wasn’t right.

Hope was eventually diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome, horrible dyslexia, attention deficit disorder and severe memory issues.

But none of it deterred Leigh and TJ from working to provide her with the best life possible.

They were thankful and felt incredibly blessed to be Hope’s parents.

Brody's beginning

"WE BASICALLY PUT ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER."

On May 1, 2011, Leigh received a life-changing phone call.

“They said Hope’s brother was born and that he needed a home,” Leigh says. “The mother gave birth at 31 weeks and checked herself out of the hospital about an hour later.”

It was a very unexpected surprise.

“I called my husband,” Leigh says. “We didn’t have a crib, and we weren’t even on the adoption list anymore. They try to keep the siblings together, if possible. All we knew was that he was born at 31 weeks and being transferred to the local neonatal intensive care unit.”

How did they react to the news?

“We said, ‘OK, God, if  this is what you’re gonna do, then we’re gonna do it.’ So we did it. We basically put one foot in front of the other.”

They signed the adoption paperwork before arriving at the hospital.

For three months, Brody remained in the hospital, and the family made daily trips to bond with their baby.

Finally, he was ready to go home.

At this point, doctors were unsure of what, if any, permanent damage Brody sustained as a result of his premature delivery.

“They said there was a 50/50 chance that something could go wrong,” Leigh says. “But that didn’t bother us.”

Everything got off to a good start. They were adjusting to life as a family of four, and although Brody was tiny, he seemed to be OK.

Until he was about five months old.

Devastating Diagnosis

"MY ONLY HOPE IS FOR BRODY TO BE HAPPY."

That’s when Leigh realized that something wasn’t right.

“He would scratch his face,” she recalls. “He would shake his head really quickly, and he would never look at us.”

After being referred to a specialist, Brody was diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy and cortical blindness in both eyes. It was a devastating diagnosis.

“I cried,” Leigh says. “We didn’t know what we were facing. I went home and started researching. Then Brody started shaking … and he was diagnosed with infantile spasms. It’s a rare but very bad form of seizures. He was put on a high dose of steroids – he had injections in Atlanta at Emory and then oral ones.”

About one year later, Brody started having grand mal and focal seizures.

One was so severe that doctors didn’t know if he would survive. To this day, Brody suffers from horrible seizures – sometimes on a regular basis.

But all the family can do is take things one day at a time.

“My only hope is for Brody to be happy,” Leigh stresses.

He’s now 5.5, but developmentally, closer to 8 months old.

“He can’t sit up on his own, he can’t see, he can’t walk, he can’t talk,” Leigh says. “I do pretty much everything for him. But we talk to him, and he smiles, he hears perfectly. He’s very aware. He knows if someone comes into the house, and he can smell what we’re cooking.”

Brody, who eats through a feeding tube, is completely dependent on the love and care of his family.

It’s far from easy – but Leigh chooses to focus on the positive.

Three Choices

"YOU KEEP GOING, YOU GIVE UP, OR YOU DON'T HANDLE IT."

“I try not to show too much negativity on Facebook because I want people to look at him and go, ‘Wow,’ ” she explains. I want Brody to be able to change the world for other people. I don’t want people to look at him and see a diagnosis.”

Brody’s prognosis is unknown, but Leigh relies on faith to get her through the darkest moments.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be here  today,” she says. “It is hard. I’m not gonna sit here and say that it’s not. Sometimes, I just have to cry. But you have three choices in life: you keep going, you give up, or you don’t handle it at all. Me and TJ both, we just pray every day that we can get through it … and we always do.”

They have been through more than most couple experience in a lifetime but rely on each other for strength.

For now, they are focused on their children’s happiness.

“We were just able to buy a house,” Leigh says. “It’s little and needs a lot of work – it was only $48,000, and TJ is doing most of the work himself.”

Every sacrifice made is for their kids – and the little things are never taken for granted.

“The hospital stressed to us that this would be tough,” Leigh says. “Financially, emotionally. After we got Brody’s diagnosis, they gave us the option of putting him in a home with other kids like him. They told us to go home, think about it and come back in a week. We prayed and cried about it … we did everything we could, and went back and said we can’t turn our backs on him and leave him. Because we couldn’t. I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself. These kids are our life. They really are. They are awesome kids, and they deserve so much.”

To learn more about “Brody’s Love” or to help the family in any way, visit www.brodyslove.com or visit their GoFundMe page here.

Donations and other items can also be sent to their PO Box: Brody's Love (Box 178), 1958 N. Columbia St.,  Suite  #6, Milledgeville, Ga 31061

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