First of all, it's been a crazy week (to say the LEAST!) I'd like to thank everyone who has taken the time to send me e-mails or sign my guestbook...I've been inundated since last Wednesday, and apologize that I cannot respond to each and every one. I do want you all to know that I have been reading through each e-mail and guestbook entry myself (it may take me another week or so to get through all of them)....and the messages of encouragement have been very comforting, thank you!
There are a couple of things that I didn't elaborate enough on in my Today Show interview
that people have been commenting about, through guestbook entries and e-mails, so I'd like to just "set the record straight" and clear up some of the confusion:
I've had probably over 150 heartfelt e-mails from women all around the United States offering to be my surrogate. The infertility issues I have do not require me needing a surrogate, but I feel very blessed to have had so many offers! I can still carry a baby, I just have to rely on in vitro fertilization to get pregnant. There is a 70% chance that it will work, but I know several women who have tried it time after time with no luck. The fertility doctor I have been working with has great success rates, though...so when Jonathan and I get ready to have children, we will cross our fingers (and toes) and see what happens! Whether the in vitro works or not, we still plan to adopt sometime in the future.
As a child, I watched many, many foster children come in and out of my grandmother's home, and it really inspired me to adopt children sometime in my lifetime. I feel very fortunate to have seen the endless love my grandmother always had for any children that came into her home, and hope to show my children the same, as I truly believe my grandmother loved all of her foster children just as much as she loves us grandkids. I also have family members who are adopted, and can't imagine our family without them!
2) Dennis Bradford's Death.
I have found in my journey, that people are very opinionated, and I have learned to accept people's feelings for what they are, and not let them upset me, because everyone IS entitled to feel or voice their own opinions. BUT, I will say...that no one can ever fully understand what a person has been through UNLESS they have experienced it themselves, and even then sometimes people's opinions/feelings will be different.
With that said, there have been comments and messages from several people not able to understand WHY I'd be upset that Dennis Bradford hung himself. The opinion of most is that "it saves tax-payers dollars." Indeed, it does...BUT I wanted my time in court with him first. After searching for almost 20 years, all I asked for was 5 minutes with him in a court room face-to-face, and it was devastating to me that I did not get the chance to do that. With rock-solid DNA evidence, a 4 hour confession on tape, and 2 or 3 other times he confessed over the last 7 months in jail that were documented, I know Bradford would have been given a life sentence. Yes, with the chance of parole after 30 years, but I'm sure he wouldn't have lasted 30 years in prison, anyway. Call me selfish, but I felt like after all of these years of searching for him, he OWED me my 5 minutes, to hear what I had to say (whether he would have listened or not), and I am entitled to feel "cheated" out of that opportunity.
It is not in my nature to have an angry heart, I just never have. I have never sat and cried and asked questions of "why me?" or been in despair over what happened to me. I've never played the "victim" but have played the role of "Victorious!" and tried to make a positive out of this negative experience I had as a child. I forgave Dennis Bradford for what he did to me years and years ago, but was worried about all of the others that could fall victim to him, and wanted to get him off of the streets, as I've said many times before..so he could not harm anyone else. I feel SO BLESSED to have conquered that goal and potentially saved others!
3) Victim Impact Statement.
I wrote my VIS not for Dennis Bradford, not to get any reaction out of Dennis Bradford, not to get an apology out of Dennis Bradford....but wrote it for myself for closure, and to be the voice of other victims everywhere.
When I did my interview with Jeff Rossen from NBC, and talked about missing out on my moment in court to read it, I mentioned wanting to face Bradford in court to:
"Show him (Bradford) that he didn't win. And, that I'm a strong survivor, and to show other victims no matter what obstacles you come across, or how long you have to wait, as long as you're strong and determined, you can get the justice that you want."
..and by that, I meant that for myself AND for others, I wanted to sit face-to-face with him and read my 3 page long Victim Impact Statement that I had been preparing for years, whether my words meant anything to him or not, I did not care. I wanted to do this to show not only Bradford, but others that prey on children and adults that we WILL fight for justice and conquer crime!
4.) What now?
Was me facing Bradford in court necessary for me to heal? NO. I had feelings of disappointment, but I DO have closure, and I am moving on with my life, continuing to USE MY VOICE to speak out and encouraging others to do the same! My "Meme" (Grandma) always told me..."Jenny, you can make all the plans in the World, but you can't plan the outcome." Now more than ever do I realize just how true that statement is.
I am going back to college June 8th, and finishing up my Bachelor's degree in Criminology hopefully within the next year and a half. I look forward to writing a book in the near future, starting a family within the next couple of years, and working in an area of law enforcement after obtaining my degree that will allow me to continue to grow as a survivor and in helping others to use their voices and conquer crime...one VOICE at a time!
Victorious in Jesus,