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 semesters...so 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 child....so 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!)....mom 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 adopting...at 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 rang....it 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 go....it 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 herself....no 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 forever...so 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.
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 name....but....okay...you get it)...a family name that would connect them to generations past and to their new family....as 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 Max....love that name. David suggested Ace....my 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 name....so 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'...so Ace it would be....not Angus...but Ace...took David's father's name Thomas....voila! Ace Thomas Jeppson.....love the name....named for two men we love.
when we started having/adopting/acquiring kids...we were never sure when we would stop....how 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.