this is me now


my first-born in the wilderness....Leah's story

25 years ago today I became a mother....i didnt know it for 6 days....but May 25, 1984 changed my life.
lets start at the very beginning (admit it---you are humming the song!)

Dave & I were married June 21, 1980....and when I wasnt pregnant by July 4th....well, I was a bit miffed. By December 1980 I was visiting with my doctor. "Normally", he advised me,"we dont worry about infertility when you've only been trying for 6 months....but....(tmi alert) since your periods are so irregular....we will run some tests."

this was 1980....fertility treatment was hit and miss and expensive....but we started the calendars/temperature-taking....all the old-school regimen.....


no answers except my periods were by 1982 we had run out of tests and had nothin. I was angry and bitter wasnt pretty. I hated mother's day and would cry when I would hear of a friend or relative's pregnancy....not that I would wish them to not be blessed...but i just couldnt figure out why God would give a commandment to have children....BUT NOT YOU! I still remember that still hurts when I see others having to experience it....that is on my discussion list for God.

David graduated with his Master's degree and we got a job in Yuma, off we went. I got a job as a teacher's aide in a computer lab at a junior high....we built a house. We also started adoption proceedings with LDS Social Services...our church's adoption agency.

There was not a big conversation about 'IF' we should was very easy.

Back then, the agency required a year waiting time for the paperwork/home study/background check and references...and $2500. I had inherited $1000 from my grandmother, Leota, upon her passing in November 1980...we put that money aside until we had something special we wanted to use it for.... December 1982, we knew this was that something special...and knew grandma would approve.

March brother, Matt, and his wife, Shelley, were living in Denver, Colorado. Their first child, Michael, was born. He was to be blessed the first Sunday in David & I decided to take a quick trip for the weekend. We surprised Matt & parents and my little sister, Pyper (almost 15) were also going to be there.

At the time, we had 4 dogs....yes...satisfying my need to nurture. we asked our friends, the Adams, to watch over the house and dogs. (foreshadowing...they had 2 adopted kids)....

sorry....this is quite the tome.

we arrive in Denver Friday night and everyone is happy to be together...Michael is a doll of a baby and I'm happy to see family. We go to Marie Callendar's for dinner....i remember that because:
1. i love marie callendars
2. my dad was appalled that it cost $50 for 7 of us to eat was 1984.

we went back to Matt's was a tiny apartment...tiny enough that david and i were sleeping UNDER the kitchen table...the shower head in the claw-foot bathtub hit about the middle of my back. We sit around and chat....david jumps in the shower....the phone rings.
Matt answers....looks at me questioningly and says....."it's your Bishop!"
I take the phone and the bishop says "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!? WHY DIDNT YOU TELL ANYONE WHERE YOU WERE GOING!?" i kinda shrugged (yes...i know...he couldnt see a shrug over the phone...) he told me that our LDS social services caseworker had called him that morning and said he was trying to get in touch with us and couldnt find us....did he know where we might be? they called our work (we had just told our jobs we were going away for the weekend....not specific enough)....the caseworker called back the bishop for more possibilities....this was before the days of cell phones. eventually, the Bishop called the Adams and they said we were visiting my brother in Denver and my maiden name was the bishop called every Ensign in the Denver phone book...there were like 10! HE CALLED ALL OF THEM UNTIL HE FOUND US!

the bishop told me to call our case worker RIGHT NOW....i asked him "is this it?"....he said...."call him". I hung parents and brother & sisters were sitting there....all of our jaws were on the floor...I got David out of the shower and told him about the conversation....he took a deep breath....and called the caseworker....who chewed us out for not letting him know we were leaving town....hey guy....if we had known our baby's birth was impending....WE WOULDA CALLED YOU!....anyway...he told us that he had been searching for us all day....and we had a BABY GIRL waiting for us in Phoenix...and would we like to pick her up Monday!
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH....we were flying back on convenient! we said sure.

THE HOUSE WENT CRAZY! we were so OH MY GOSH. by about 11 p.m. everyone had settled in...except for david and i...we were wide awake....and in this tiny apartment....there was nowhere to sit and talk and we headed to Denny's.....we talked about names, made lists of what we needed to do...called the Adams'.....she'd been waiting all day for us to call her....she knew from the Bishop's phone call that this was THE call!

we decided to name her Leah Leota...after my grandma. :)

we finally went back to Matt's apartment....and collapsed...under the kitchen table....except I still couldnt i curled up in a chair next to their bathroom door and read every baby book Shelley the middle of the night Shelley got up to feed Michael....there i was...wide awake...reading Dr Spock!

we spent Saturday calling family and making lists. Mom & Dad took us to Sam's club (or an early version of it) Sam' was that catalog store where you would order from the catalog in the store and your merchandise would appear on a belt like at the airport baggage claim. They bought Matt & I each a stroller for our babies....and a car chair! We bought leah an outfit to come home in. (i'm tearing up right now writing this!). My mom and Pyper would fly with us to Phoenix....we'd get our car and drive to the office where Leah would meet us. My dad would drive the 1000 miles back to Freeport, Il BY HIMSELF!

saturday afternoon we went to a park....i slept on the picnic blanket.

Sunday was Michael's blessing at church....that was a special day of fasting and gratitude for us.

Monday morning dad headed back east....and we flew to our car and headed to the agency office. We were met at the door and escorted to the office where we signed all sorts of paper and wrote out a check for the balance of our account....we could hear movement in the room next to us.....after all was signed....the door opened and there in a bassinett was our baby I am

we put her in her purple dress we brought...change a dirty diaper...and go out to the lobby where my mom and Pyper are waiting. We all squish into our tiny little T-1000 (like a chevy chevette subcompact)....and drive the 3+ hours to Yuma....where we find our house DECKED out in balloons, diapers, banners and baby stuff everywhere...thanks to the Adams!

david & I each go to work the next day, bringing Leah (it was the last week of school for i also gave notice)....when we told people she was ours....NO ONE believed us! we had not advertised we were adopting because we got tired of people asking when it would happen.

Leah has been a joy....she took us out of the wilderness and into the adventure that we had yearned for and prayer for for 4 years....thats a lot of 4/fors. Leah is a lovely person....a loving daughter....a lover of humanity.

She gave us our first grandchild.....and our 4thleah...right after her mission....2007.

leah and joe and cannon....december 2008....we'll have a deja vu december 2009!ace and leah at her husband, Joe's, sister Sarah's (following all this?) wedding reception....march or april 2008...she was so, not sick...pregnant.
my baby girl is you leah leota liahona jeppson junior the third twice removed 17 times.



i've always known my kids would search for their birthparents....henceforth known as "bm",,,that doesnt sound to be known as mb (mother by birth)....that sounds a lot i've said before, 5 of my 6 are i've relied on mb to allow me to be a mom. all of our adoptions were very we didnt know names or identifying information...we had stories that we were told about our kids' beginnings...but thats about it. we set an age of 21 for our kids before they should/could/would start the search...that way, at age 15, they didnt decide they hated us and go off in search of more loving and lenient parents.

Leah has always been very forthcoming that she would like to find her mb. I understand why a child would want this information.....yeah the whole politically correct "i want my medical history"...but i understand more wanting to see someone who you look like or to have an understanding of what happened....and best of say thanks.

Right after she (leah) got home from her mission she started talking about finding her mb...what the heck...her mom....i know, I'M HER MOM, but i try not to get wrapped up in after she got married she started the process. none of us knew how easy or difficult this would be. she contacted LDS social services (the agency we used for her adoption back in 1984....they referred to a private investigator in Arizona that would help her and be the intermediary....i guess each state is different in how you do the search....or each agency is different. the cost was leah & joe delayed while they saved the money.....then, thru the generousity of friends...the money was acquired.....then cannon they took a breath. After christmas 2008, she started the search again....contacted the private eye (are any of you old enough to remember them being called that?) and got the search going....within a couple of weeks...maybe less....she had a city! HER MOM LIVES WITHIN 15 MILES OF HER.
disclaimer: i am not going to give identifying information about her mother....i'll be cryptic....but it wont ruin the story....
her to be referred to as P.....has an elementary age married and lives very close to Leah. the private eye had them both sign documents saying they wanted to be connected...Leah placed a phone call to P at work.....then Leah being leah ( love you leah!)....lost her phone....for 3 weeks....she had a left a couple of messages with P but had not heard we thought maybe P had some people she needed to talk to first or things she needed to put in order....but Leah had reached out and felt good about it.....after the 3 weeks, we replaced Leah's phone when she came to Fort worth to visit (and then go with us to Beaumont for Ben's blessing)....never occurred to us that P couldnt call leah if LEAH DIDNT HAVE A PHONE! in the car to beaumont Leah starts looking at her voice messages and missed calls...THERE WERE TWO FROM P! that poor woman had called leah back....and now hadnt heard from leah for 2 1/2 weeks.....I WOULD HAVE BEEN PSYCHO! so..... I was able to sit next to leah while we drove to Beaumont for Easter as she talked with was nice....leah told her about our family and the things she had done....even thanked her for making the choice to let us raise her. Since then, leah and joe & cannon have met P and are planning to get together with P's family soon.
how do i feel about this? i'm long as i get the emotional reassurance from my kids....and they tell me i'm cuter....i'm okay....these are women we have talked about and admired for 25 years.....women who made it so i could be a mom.....the best label ever. i would love to meet each of them and put my arms around them and express my gratitude....and hope they are happy with the end result of our combined efforts.

thanks P.


a baby baby....Ace

....May 12 my baby turns 15. I look at all 5' 11" of him and I see a little 7 yr old.....wonder if that will ever stop? He is a charming and annoying, tolerant and impatient, loving and impulsive, quick-tempered and endearing..... and.......hmmmm....he's ace.

Ace's story:
1994....spring....I am finishing up the 2nd semester of my sign language program....5 kids at home...leah is about to be 10, lyric is 7, jas 6, molly almost 4 and sam is 3 1/2. We have a foster daughter, Bianca, at the time who has been in our home since Thanksgiving. Bianca is 6 years old and deaf. The state is asking us about adopting Bianca and we are praying about it....she is a high maintenance child requiring a lot of attention and catch-up in her social and educational skills....are we the right ones for her and is the right thing for our family? Is this the right time for us to take on another child with such issues, we already have a couple with some issues. I am going to school everynight and David has the kids everynight....thats a big responsibility for one person. The program is only 5 I'd be done by the time Leah enters junior high.
I'm pregnant. OH MY GOSH. due November 1994.

Bianca has CMV...that is the cause of her deafness (at birth). Cytomegalovirus....its a virus that most of us have been exposed to and isnt dangerous unless your immune system is weak...or if you pass it to your newborn we were all tested and were fine....except for the new baby. So now we have a decision to make....can we take care of a new baby and Bianca and our 5 other kids?


We tell the foster agency that we will not be adopting Bianca....within a week another family turns up for her.....DEAF PARENTS! they had been trying to adopt for quite awhile...but were only being offered multi-handicapped children....not what they were wishing for...and were very frustrated....then Bianca is available for adoption...she is an answer to their prayers....a deaf child! It truly was a match made in heaven....her family eventually adopted 4 other deaf children (all boys from China!) stays at home to home-school the kids in sign language to get their skills up to snuff...then they are mainstreamed.

i miscarry at 11 weeks.
It was painful and horrible and tragic and awful....period. I also believe that the pregnancy helped us make the decision about Bianca and open the door to her being with loving parents that could really communicate with her.
We took a break from fostering....i needed to heal.

We told our CPS (children's protective service----state foster agency) caseworker that we were done least for the foreseeable future....unless they came up with a healthy newborn...we werent interested....we were up to our eyeballs in elementary-age kids. We did a short-term fostering for a 2 yr old boy....that reassured our case worker that perhaps i was ready to have a baby....she worried that after the miscarriage it would be too hard to have a baby in the house so soon.

August 1994...I was getting ready to start my 4th semester of school (summer session had just ended)...this would be a very intensive year with a lot of extracurricular responsibilities.
about dinner time the phone was our caseworker.....they have a 3 month old healthy baby boy....needs an immediate placement....probably will be up for adoption....are we interested? I look at david and say "i'm at school everynight...if you want this baby, its gonna be all on you!"

ace arrived that night. we all gathered around this fat, little dark-haired boy. he was a keeper. you fall in love with your kids in a way you dont expect....that doesnt change whether you give him birth or give him a home.

The kids were all so excited to have a baby in the house. He was mothered by all 4 girls. He was a really good baby...very happy. His every wish was granted by one of his siblings....or his parents....he brought such joy to our home. Sam was so happy to have another boy in the house. I spent the day with him and david cared for him every night....chauffeuring the other kids wherever they needed to was a long year for him while I finished school. The circumstance of Ace being in foster care was a familiar story ...his mother was just a child family to support her.... she had some good friends that helped her when he was newly born...and were smart and caring enough to realize they couldnt help her the state was brought in.

When ace was about 18 months, we were able to take our family to the Dallas Temple and have Ace sealed to us for eternity by my dad, Angus Cannon Ensign, Jr. Dad had also done Molly & Sam's sealings earlier.

Ace's name....
we felt it was important to choose a name for each of our children...regardless of the age they came to us....a family name and a name we love (okay,,,,that sounds like we dont love the family get it)...a family name that would connect them to generations past and to their new we talked about what to name Ace, we did as we always did...we made a list of our top 5 boy (or girl) names....then dave & i each rated them 1-5 with 1 being the best....then the votes were tabulated, numbers were added and the name with the smallest cumulative number would be the name. I was rooting for that name. David suggested grandfather's, dad's, brother's & nephew's names are Angus Cannon Ensign (sr, jr, iii, iv)....initials spell ACE....which is the name they went by (except for my grandpa...he was gus or angie (ang....ghee (hard g)).....I love the name and knew that the men in my family liked their I called my brother Ace and asked him if he would mind...and would his son mind us using the name....he assured us 'no prob' Ace it would be....not Angus...but Ace...took David's father's name Thomas....voila! Ace Thomas the name....named for two men we love.

when we started having/adopting/acquiring kids...we were never sure when we would would we know? what was the right number? how did other people know when enough was enough? we had talked about having 6...but that was when we thought we would be in control of the timing of said children.

when ace came to our home....we knew that feeling. he was the completion of our family. he continues to be a joy....a big sloppy mess of a 15 yr old joy.


...and here's the rest of the story...

SPOILER ALERT!!!! will be mad at me at the end of this post...but you will come back...oh, will come back.

all these birth stories...then the post about my niece, Julia, looking to adopt....makes one sit and ponder....check out jasmine's video post if you want a good cry...her link is the princess one on the right....

leah found her birthmother....


it occurs to me....

...well, actually to jasmine....
if i was smarter....i would save multiple posts and publish them intermittently (great word, btw)...instead of publish 162 all in one even thought of that....great idea....then each post will get its due attention!


.....a family that just needs one thing....

My niece, Julia and her husband, Brett, are trying to adopt. They've been waiting for this blessing for many, many years. I well remember the anticipation and heartbreak and frustration of the waiting and waiting and waiting. We as a family are reaching out to help them and perhaps to touch a heart....thanks to my niece, Audra, for some of her wording from her blog....she and her husband have adopted 4 kids.
as most of you know, 5 of our 6 are adopted....some were private adoptions through our church...two were foster children we adopted thru the state of Texas....all came to our home because someone loved them enough to want something better for them. Right around Mother's Day I always spend time thinking about my kids' birth hard that day must be for hard that day is for those of us that yearned to have a child in our arms....i am a mother because a young girl wanted more for her baby.
Julia and Brett need someone to want more for their child. this is a question i have on my list for Heavenly Father.....why did something so wonderful and desirable have to be so hard for some of my world of crosses to bear....infertility is a BIG one.
anyway...back to Julia and Brett.... they are reaching out to all of their family to find that special girl who can help them realize their dream.

This is their child preference:
Age: Newborn - 1 year old

Gender: Either

Ethnicity: Any Child, Open to discussion

Special Needs: Open to discussion, Drug exposed (occasional), Mild or medically correctable, Alcohol exposed (occasional), Smoking exposed, Emotional/mental disorders in family, Premature birth, Multiple birth, Diabetes in family, Conceived through rape, Nothing known about father, Nothing known about mother

Basically, they are open to any child out there in need of a loving home and two AWESOME parents! I know there child is out there... they just have to find the mother who is led and prompted to place her child with them! That is the miracle of adoption! The spirit touches 2 mothers and fathers and brings them together because of a mutual love for a beautiful child!
So, in order to get the word out, they are wanting to share their profiles with as many people as possible!
Here are their links and blogs to find out more about them.
Provident Living:,12272,2133-1-10088,00.html
It's About Love:
And here is their personal blog if you want to learn more about them!

This may seem like a long shot, but really, it is not! It could be a sister of a friend of a cousin of a friend of a friend of mine that knows of a situation that may have come up that they feel like would be a wonderful placement for this family! You never know until you get the word out! This could be the key to them finding a placement.

Maybe nothing will come of this, but there is a good chance that something wonderful will come of this!!! And the more info they get out there, the better!
I feel very sure that our children found their way to our family the way God intended. We love and appreciate the tender-hearted women that brought them into the world and gave them to our family.
Good Luck Julia and Brett! We shall be praying for your child's birthmom to find you!
If you have a blog and feel so led... please feel free to copy and paste this information in your blog, your facebook, anywhere that may get the word out to honest people about their desire to adopt!

the end of a generation......

1. i dont like instrumental music. with a very few exceptions, i find non-vocal music to be indulgent and, yes, boring. i need a hummable me a vocalist....hmmmm...that was supposed to sound more like a play on the word racist....but vocalist is really a word....oh well.

2. i have been going to junior high band concerts for 13 years....yes...13 years. 5 of my 6 beloveds have played in the Hurst Junior High band....a necessary step towards L.D.BELL MARCHING BAND.

last night was Ace's Hurst Junior High Band Concert....since he is in 9th grade...this is his last....and consequently, my last. I sat towards the back....watching my cell phone for texts from my american idol buddy, niece Jackie....she was keeping me aware of how adam lambert was doing in Rock week (priorities, folks) (and yes.....i understand that is bad concert etiquette)....

this is my view during a break in the concert...i figure i have been to nearly 70 concerts in the last 13 years....not counting marching band....that is not a is an event. I love seeing my kids perform....hard work showing and all that....and i understand there are people that actually enjoy concert season! I buy the cd's that rarely get listened to, we go out for ice cream after the show....i get it.....but, to me...its a good reason to be out of the heat, I guess.
anyway, back to the concert..................
7th grade band funny to watch the new parents be so thrilled (think the last scene in "Music Man")....then the concert band....they do a good job and I know a lot of those kids....wait....theres a text from Jackie.....whew...adam did well...thats a relief....anyway...back to the concert....hmmmm...where did i put my new Ipod Touch?.....whoa...too bright for this dark room.....back to the concert....nicely done. then its time for the symphonic band....see Ace take his place amidst the french horns....notice he is taller than a lot of the boys....always surprises me....i still picture him as if he were starts....they have some rockin' trumpet players....text from jackie....what!? duets!? great!.....back to the concert....Monica Dominguez, the band director, is talking about the band....great kids, great parents, great year....heard it for 13 years.....some years i believed....some years.....they play another song from their UIL sweepstakes-performance.....then a fun saxophone ensemble plays....then music from video games.....if its not tetris or mario brothers it doesnt hit me...cant hum it....but i'm sure they enjoyed it......then they have all the 9th graders come up to get a medal (cool....has a spinner in the middle).....they call out each name....Ace Jeppson.....I START WEEPING! they end playing music from GREASE.....totally hummable.....totally singable....this is the last time! I'M STINKING CRYING!
OH MY GOSH! what the heck am i feeling?

I dont miss elementary school

I dont miss elementary school programs

I will not miss junior high

I will not miss junior high concerts

but i will miss my little boy
these are the directors...Monica Dominguez and Justin Thomas. Mr Thomas has been thru all 5 of our junior-high band kids...the horns, the trombone, the trumpet and the clarinet.....
thank heavens for people who like instrumental music.....and junior high kids.

baby ben

the many faces of Benjamin Aaron Hall...he hasnt been around long...only 2 months....but it feels like he's been here forever! He looks like such a little kid....not an infant...maybe its the hair....or his intense stare at you....he has the biggest dimples when he smiles

Ben at a few minutes old

Ben about 30 minutes the nursery...not happy!Ben after a few hours...finally in the room with mommy!
getting ready to go home from the hospital at 2 days old!
Is there anything better than a new baby to dress up and play with?
Ben sleeps with his arms up at the ready!

eyes open! yay! this is about 6 his shorts!

with his cousin, Cannon (4 1/2 months)...Ben at 6 weeks....gotta figure out that whole turn over thing....Cannon makes it seem so fun!
after an exhausting trip to the beach....6 weeks.
he is sustaining the authorities of the Church!
Grandma (me) got her boys matching dinosaur outfits

sound asleep at 8 weeks old....he sleeps a lot! growth spurt?

Ben asleep on Lyric & Ben's couch (yes...we are able to differentiate between the Bens and the Davids and the Aces in our family)
at IHOP in Houston at 2 months....right before i woke him up because he was too cute and i wanted to hold him....yeah...that went over well.

Brian comes to visit

My cute nephew, Brian, is doing pest control down in Houston for the summer. He comes down to Fort Worth from Provo and we then take him to his job in Houston.....always looking for a reason to head over to Beaumont.

Brian and I are facebook buddies....we chat about school and girls at least once a week. He just got home from his mission to Thailand in December....he served the same place as Leah's husband, Joe!...they were there together! This is a sign on the way to Beaumont/ tradition says we stop and take a picture of an Ensign with the Ensign rd sign!
Brian and his roommate, Nate, arrived after driving 20 hours straight....they ate and slept....then Nate headed down to Austin for his job....Brian went to one of my dancingmoose shows....then all went to a Rangers Game.
David loving the game.....neither of us are big baseball fans....but we both enjoy being at the stadium....the environment...the fresh air....the hoopla!

the fans in front of us were WAY too into the hoopla...they bring mirrors and flashlights to distract the opposing team's pitcher! they have their MLB iphone apps up and ready....they knew every superstition (brian mentioned that there was a 'no-hitter' going....and they laughingly chewed him out for saying it out loud, thereby jinxing the Rangers....and then the next batter got a hit....there goes the no-hitter....Brian's fault
What a great experience for Ace to have...Brian is one of 5 he and Ace goofed around, played video games.....poked and jabbed and teased each other....what a blessing in Ace's life....cousins and brothers in law to 'male-bond'. Thanks Brian!

a long drive in the van gave them plenty of time to can see the joy on Ace's face!here is my take on the typical facebook pose......peace out!

Before we dropped Brian off...Lyric, David, jasmine & baby Ben were able to meet us in Houston for lunch....then we let Brian off and we strolled thru Ikea!

my baby........

lyric pre-Ethan Milo.....what a wonderful girl.....

okay...not a beautiful professional maternity picture....but she let me get a picture...this was at about 21 weeks.....she could feel the baby move ....what a thrill that is!

week 24.....feeling pretty good and looking beautiful.....still going to school and getting ready to move to Florida with her husband. I will miss her so much! (but.....woo-hoo!....i get bunches of trips to Orlando!) 4 months

Got to spend some time with my baby, Cannon, during Easter week....Leah and Cannon flew down for his cousin, Ben's blessing. He got to see his Nelson grandparents and Aunt Rachel as well. What a happy boy! He looks just like leah at this age....same lack of hair!

sorry Kevin! forgot to rotate this picture! anyway...this is Kevin Nelson....cannon's grandpa!

we were using that weekend to try to get Cannon to use a bottle to give Leah a bit of a break....we used all sorts of trickery....he finally gave in....but not happily! He likes his mommy!

My sister, Eden, with her great-nephew.....isnt he stylin'!? Eden & Bill always give harley davidson wear to new babies....Cannon has on his HD t-shirt!
cute age when they start playing with toys....cannon is rolling over back and forth

sittin outside at Sonic after our trip to the wore all of us out!
no worries, Cannon.....naked but modest!
mom and cannon in the isnt spring without a bluebonnet picture!

he isnt asleep....the sun is just too bright!
baby Cannon amidst the bluebonnets