Saturday, October 24, 2009

Second Times a Charm

Well, go ahead and say it. I am spoiled! After Thursday nights gender ultrasound disappointment, I was completely spoiled this morning with another ultrasound. That's right. I did not even have to wait for 48 hours. Spoiled! I woke up early, and started my day by drinking the nectar of the devil (Mountain Dew). Gasp! I know, not so great, but I was determined to get this little one moving. I followed that with a protein bar, and then headed on my merry way to my ultrasound. Boss could not go with me, because someone had to wait at home to get the residents off on their visits, and Emma said she was too tired to go, so I dragged my friend Angie with me. The ultrasound technician was SO nice, and the experience was so fun! Today, our little one actually LOOKED like a baby. I could see the entire spine and all of the ribs, the bones in the legs, little one sucking his or her thumb, and most of the facial features. And then came the fun part. The technician said she thought she knew what baby was, but she wanted me to roll on my side to be completely sure. I could tell the minute that Angie gasped that I was having a BOY, so I whipped around and the technician confirmed that it was true. Of course I responded with many tears. There is one sweet little boy growing inside of me! I can't tell you how excited I am! Boy things have been calling to me from the beginning of this pregnancy and I just had a feeling. The technician gave me several pictures on a disk, so that I could go home and share the pictures with Boss and the girls, who of course are so very happy, as well. I think Boss might be a little nervous about raising a son, but I am so convinced he will be a great dad to our little boy. And hey, as Boss always says, this is one less wedding he will have to pay for! Little baby BOY Zickafoose, we are so in love with you and can't wait for you to be a part of our family. Bugs, balls, dirt, and dinosaurs HERE WE COME!







Friday, October 23, 2009

Stubborn

It turns out that our new little one is stubborn. After counting down the days until our BIG ultrasound, yesterday it finally arrived, and we were so very excited. I did all of the right things. I drank all of my required water for the day, and about an hour before the appointment I had a light snack and a glass of fruit juice to try and wake baby up. But it did not work. Our baby is stubborn. For the majority of the appointment, Baby Z Number Three had his or her little hand covering the important area that we needed to see, and with his or her other hand, little one was literally giving us a thumbs up! It was pretty funny! Except for the fact that it wasn't. The ultrasound technician had me walk around, jump up and down, do jumping jacks, and roll around on the table to try and get baby to move, but nothing worked. We were pretty bummed! For all of you mama's who purposefully keep the gender of your baby a surprise, I do not know how you do it!The good news is that we will get to try again soon, so hopefully baby will be in a more cooperative mood. Until then, I am simply enjoying this sneaky, stubborn little one growing inside of me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Boy or Girl, That is The Question

Tomorrow afternoon, our family gets to find out whether this little one that I am carrying is another sister or a new little brother. To say we are excited is an understatement! In fact, Emma and I have been counting down the days until this ultrasound appointment for the past two weeks, so we are definitely ready to know who will be joining our family come March. Some of us are hoping for a boy, and others are hoping for a girl, but no matter what, I have no doubt that this baby is already greatly loved.

For some reason, this pregnancy feels different to me. All of my pregnancies have been exciting and most definitely wanted, but this one is different. With Emma, I was a mere 21 years of age when I became her mama. Boss and I were insanely happy and excited to bring a daughter into this world, but looking back, I was very young and naive. A baby having a baby. I remember right after having her, Boss was afraid to hold her for fear of breaking her. I just kept thinking, Are they really going to let me take her home? I can't believe they would trust me with such a little person! Somehow, with much joy and happiness, we survived Emma's first few years of life, and just like clockwork, two years later we had our sweet Kate. I was thrilled that we had sisters, and their relationship has been precious to watch develop over the past three years. Emma and Kate are the best of friends and partners in crime, rarely fighting, and I cannot imagine one without the other. Life was exactly as it was meant to be in our little family.

Many of you know that I experienced health problems after Kate's birth, and it was pretty much decided that we would not have any more biological children. We decided this as much for health reasons, as we did for sanity reasons. What I experienced emotionally after having Kate (much stress and anxiety which persisted for nearly a solid year after her birth), took a tole on our little family. Sometimes the anxiety was so overwhelming that it consumed me, and a lot of the work of caring for the girls was thrown on Boss. It was a very long year. So, while we desperately wanted more children, we had both agreed that adoption would be the path  to growing our family. I have wanted to adopt since I was a little girl, so this seemed as natural to me as having another one of our own. I was truly at peace with the path we were on.

However, it was not long after we started on our adoption journey that I realized how rocky the road was going to be. I knew it was going to be a lengthy process, but I didn't expect it to be so tough. Basically, the major roadblock for our family adopting was our living situation. We are houseparents at a group home for teenage girls with behavior problems. On paper, the girls that we live with sound quite scary, but the truth is that most of them are girls who got handed a rotten deal in life, but who are striving daily to overcome their pasts. They most certainly are not dangerous, or I would not live here with my own daughters in the first place. To date, we have served thirty kids, and there are only three that I can think of who I would not have gladly welcomed in to my own family, and those girls were removed from our program the minute they became a problem. Even though that is what I know to be the truth regarding our living environment, that is not what a caseworker sees when they review our home study. So, even though we passed our background checks, had good references, made enough money, and passed and completed everything in the home study process, we continued to be denied by agency after agency. The paperwork to cover a home study like ours was too intense for a private agency to take on. While I completely understood where they were coming from, it was still a hard pill to swallow since it seemed as though that was where our dreams were. In the end, we were left with three options.

Our first option was for us to quit our ministry here and adopt as a regular family. Definitely not an option for us at this time! I truly love my job and feel like working with these girls is where I am supposed to be at this time, and possibly for many years to come. I could not give up caring for five girls who need a place to call home, to justify filling my own need for one.

Our next option was to adopt a child already in the system, meaning we would go through the county and not through a private agency. Big difference! With a private agency, you are most often the only mama and daddy that the baby ever knows, and there is never a chance for the child to be abused or neglected before it becomes a part of your family. When you adopt through the county, even if you adopt an infant, the majority of times, damage has already been done. Not that I don't think these children deserve to be adopted, and I am so thankful there are families out there who are called to do so. The problem is that I work with the grown up versions of these kids day in and day out. I live with kids who were adopted by wonderful loving families by the age of one, but it was already too late for them. Too much abuse and damage had already been done, and they are not capable of bonding with their adoptive family, hence the reason they are living with us. I get tired of seeing adoptive moms who have tried for so long to reach these kids, and to love these kids, but the kids wants nothing to do with them and they probably never will. I see this over, and over, and over again. It is heartbreaking for both the child and the adoptive family, and I could not see putting my family through that pain. It is too much of a reality in our everyday life.

Our third option became to have another child of our own. After that year of intense anxiety lifted and I talked with a few more doctors, it became clear that there was no medical reason we could not have another child. I only had to feel ready to do so. I won't lie, it was hard to let go of my dream of adopting a little African American baby with the curliest little fro you ever did see, and I am not saying we will never adopt. Who knows what God has in store for our family? And I will not lie and tell you that I was not fearful of getting pregnant again, because I was, and still am, nervous about the pregnancy, but I also have more peace than I have had in a very long time. The baby I am carrying is the baby we have prayed for for two years. It feels like being pregnant for the very first time all over again. Every kick is a miracle, each week of growing a blessing. There is no other way to explain it, other than to say it is differently wonderful. I am a bit older now, and being a mama comes more naturally than it did during those early years. I am so very ready to be a mama of three! My three. The Z three.

So, are we having a little boy or a little girl? Tomorrow we will find out the answer to that question. But whoever this little one is, I have no doubt that they were meant to be a part of our family. We love you Baby Z Number Three, and we can't wait to call you by name!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy Fall

Fall has arrived in full force, and we are loving every minute of it! The weather is crisp and cold in the mornings, but the sun usually graces us with its presence in the afternoon, so we are having some really nice weather. Leaves are beginning to change color, school is in full swing, and change is definitely in the air. Therefore, I decided that this blog needed a little change, too. The biggest change being that I hope to actually start posting again! The purpose of this blog is for me to record our daily happenings for my children to read about when they are grown, and I don't want to regret being too busy with my days, that I did not take the time to record our memories.

Boss is the new principal for the Therapeutic Education Service Center (TESC) here on campus. He is in charge of four teachers, two aides, and roughly 15 students, with plenty of room to grow! Boss LOVES his new job (for which we are so thankful) and looks forward to going to work each day. He is working on getting his Ohio Liscense and is excited about all of the experience he is gaining each day as he works in the world of special education. In his spare time, he has been quite the handyman around our house! He recently finished laying new floors in our basement, so that we could make a playroom down there for the girls.

I am still busy with houseparenting (though we have only had two girls since June) and homeschooling Emma. On Mondays we have ballet classes and I have a Beth Moore Bible Study that evening. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday are school days, and on Thursday's I have staff luncheons and meetings. Our days are full, but I would have it no other way.

Emma is doing well! She amazes me every day with how bright she is. Her reading skills are coming along marvelously and she can now read short stories, though her favorite subject is math. Daily she ASKS to do her math workbook (she is a HUGE fan of worksheets), and she is picking right up on the concepts of money, time telling, and addition. She is still in ballet, though she does prefer a good, crazy, living room dance session every once in a while! She still wants to be an artist when she grows up, and is daily amazing us with all of the pictures she draws and crafts she creates! When I asked her what her favorite thing about fall was, she said drinking hot chocolate, eating chicken noodle soup, and wearing cozy pajamas. A girl after my own heart! Minus the chicken noodle soup.

Kate is still our little spitfire! Some big news in Kate's world is that she is finally potty trained! While it took her a bit longer to grasp than I had hoped, I waited until she was ready and she has had virtually NO accidents. We are so proud of our big girl! Kate is also sleeping great each night. Emma sleeps on the top bunk, Kate sleeps on the bottom bunk, and now that we have started locking the dog in the living room at night, Boss and I are sleeping like we did before we had children! Nice, seeing as all of that will end in around five months. Kate started ballet this year, like her big sister, and she was so excited to get her very own tap and ballet shoes. She is much more social than Emma, and loves all of the new friends she has made at ballet. Kate is the funniest little girl you will ever meet and we are so glad that she is ours.

Our new baby is growing! I am now 16 weeks pregnant, and am feeling great. I was more sick the first trimester with this baby than with the girls, but all of that passed when I entered the second trimester. We have not really bought anything for the baby yet (except for an adorable dresser that I found at an antique mall), but we have cleared out the baby's room, and are simply waiting to know if we will be decorating with pink or blue! Our BIG ultrasound is on the 22nd of this month, and we are so excited to know what this baby is. To be perfectly honest, Boss and Emma are rooting for another girl, but Kate and I are rooting for a little brother. Really, we just want a healthy baby, but it will be fun to find out whose intuitions have been right!

I do believe that catches you up to the most recent happenings in our lives. This weekend we will be going to a pumpkin patch, and coming up we have a Trunk-or-Treat at our church, as well as our children's home Halloween party. Emma is going to be her beloved Tinkerbell this year, and Kate is going to be the pink fairy, Rosetta, from the Tinkerbell movie. Happy Fall, Y'all.