Your generous donation to Jada's Journey will carry Jada's legacy forward and help support families struggling with addiction and mental health issues.
(We are a 501(c)(3) organization.)
Jada passed away in June of 2021 after struggling for many years with addiction and mental health issues, I was terrified that one day I would get that phone call. It happened …. It’s unimaginable. The pain will never end.
After a long investigation, the toxicology report confirmed that Jada had cocaine laced with fentanyl in her system. Throughout her battle, I felt helpless when I couldn't find resources, or when health insurance capped off at a certain amount to support rehab and treatment programs. The stigma and lack of assistance associated with both addiction and mental health is disheartening.
We want to honor Jada's memory by giving other families going through this difficult journey financial assistance and resources. Unfortunately, we have a broken system. Jada’s Journey will work hard to be part of the solution.
How did we get here?
Jada came into our lives through the Department of Family Service when she was almost 4 and the adoption was finalized before she turned 5. Unfortunately, her biological parents were both heroin addicts. We do not have a lot of information about her early years, but we know she was neglected, lived in a car and had drugs in her system before she was 2 years old. She ended up in the foster care system up until she was permanently placed with us.
Throughout Jada's childhood, she enjoyed gymnastics, dance, theater, art and music. Jada's happy place was attending overnight camp, and she spent many summers making wonderful memories and lasting friendships there. Some of her happiest days were spent on family outings including concerts, musicals, Fall festivals, apple picking, and waterparks. When the adoption was finalized, our family celebrated in Disney World, it was truly a magical vacation.
Jada loved animals, especially dogs. We had a golden retriever, Amber, who was a puppy when Jada came to live with us, and they had a special bond. She always enjoyed volunteering at Save-a-Pet. Of course, every time I picked her up she would try to negotiate taking another dog home. She also enjoyed volunteering at Brookdale Assisted Living, she called Bingo and spent many hours engaging with the residents. While Jada worked as a cashier at a grocery store, she realized how much she liked interacting with her coworkers who had physical and developmental disabilities. This brought out a different side of her, she showed so much patience and compassion.
We talked a lot about this, and she knew this was her strength. Jada then decided to attend Illinois State University with plans to work with adults with disabilities. Our family was so hopeful that she had a chance at a fresh start. Unfortunately, she continued to make unhealthy choices and from that point on there were very few good days.
Sometimes Jada could not calm that storm inside of her. Her mental health issues and addiction were feeding off of each other and took control of her life. Throughout her teenage years, Jada was in and out of treatment centers, she struggled to make positive choices. Whenever I began to feel how exhausting it was to be her parent, I was consumed in knowing how exhausting it must have been to be her. As her mom, this was heartbreaking. She opened up to me many times about her inner struggles, and after years of feeling like I was spinning in circles and failing to find a solution, I had to come to terms with the truth. Jada needed to decide when she was ready to make a change. Jada always knew that she had a place to come home to with a family that loved her unconditionally.
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