and now, the story of how we met our son.

1 Peter 2:4-6
“as you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
For it stands in Scripture:
‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

This morning, we woke up, put on our “sunday best”, and stood before a judge to testify and become parents of our newest child!

It’s hard for me to even know where to start with this story, since it is one of the most significant experiences of our lives, it happened so quickly, and it seems impossible to share it in its entirety.
but, I will try, because THIS is a story worth sharing!
after a 2+ year journey into adoption, we finally have a son!

I always pictured that this blog post would be filled with photographs of us holding our baby at home, all snuggled up on the couch as were getting to know this little human that we now call family. I pictured telling a “typical” adoption story (something I am quickly realizing doesn’t exist) where the birth mom chose us, we get a due date that is a few months out, and then start to prepare for our baby to come. In my mind, I had us getting on a plane, staying in another state for a couple of weeks, meeting our baby at the hospital the day it was born, and then finalizing in court and flying home. a straight forward process with plenty of prep time and an easy outcome.

and yet, we knew going into adoption that it was not going to be easy, but we had no idea just what was ahead of us.

Now for the story.

We went to Chicago for our family vacation with the brothers. We had an awesome time riding the train there, staying downtown, swimming at the hotel, going to the aquarium, seeing a movie, and bashing around the city.
a couple days into our vacation, we get a phone call from our social worker with the agency we have consulted with – the agency I mentioned in the previous blog posts. She had sent us an email, and they had a baby that needed a home.

The subject line read:
“african american baby boy in the NICU”
it was a mass email to multiple families in the area that are pursuing adoption.

what followed was some of his story.
he was born 5/26/2011, at 29 weeks gestation. 11 weeks premature.
his birth mom did not know she was pregnant, took a bath and saw blood.
(yes, it is possible, she had normal cycles all throughout pregnancy, so she had no reason to suspect anything)
she found out in the ambulance she was pregnant and delivering immediately.
she decided not to parent because she was not prepared for him in her life, and wanted to make sure he had every opportunity possible for thriving, something she knew she couldn’t give.
sidetone: she has since become one of our heroes.
he had severe problems because he was so small (2 pounds 6 ounces) and eventually developed more problems.

then we were given a laundry list of his problems and procedures, all extensive but the most severe being hydrocephalus, or fluid in his brain, and an initial surgery they had done to help relieve the pressure in his brain. he would need another surgery when he reaches somewhere around 5 pounds, and this would be more invasive and hopefully be a more long-term solution to the fluid in his brain.

the neurologist didn’t know what kind of quality of life he would have, and long-term affects have such a wide and unknown range – some of which we heard and had to wrestle with, but what they did know was that this little one had been in the NICU for 28 days with no family, no one to love him and hold him consistently, and he wasn’t going to progress or get stronger without that.

they asked us to pray for 12 hours and see if this was “our baby.”
birth mom had said that she waned the agency to choose the family, and that she would trust their choice.

at the end of the email, these two pictures were attached.

I immediately burst into tears when I saw his photo. I didn’t know why, even, but something within me broke and I was overwhelmed with love for this poor helpless little one in the NICU.
I truly can only explain it as that: I looked at him and loved him.
we knew something was pulling on us to open our hearts to this situation.
we got down on our knees together with the brothers, and all four of us prayed for this little.
the brothers prayed that God would give him a family and that he wouldn’t be sad.
what followed for us was a process of praying and talking and wrestling with this decision.
(looking back, it’s somewhat funny to us that we even wrestled with it – but in the moment, we were seriously wrestling with God.)
in one sense, we had pictured our adoption being easier. Not easy, but easier. Not only were we not becoming a transracial family with all of the challenges and hurdles that could pose, but we were also becoming parents of a baby with “special needs.”
and special needs was translating to be a sacrifice of some things we had held dear – our comforts, our control over our life, our picturesque family, our freedom to travel and play at will, our security financially, and many other small things we were clinging to for identity and life without even realizing it.
and then, there was this precious life. this little one that no one else wanted. and yet he was fighting for his life with no one to love him, no one to advocate for him, no one to be his family.

we wrestled with the logistics and yet, as we were praying and asking a few close people to pray with us, answers seemed to come pouring into our hearts that this was our son. someone we asked to pray wrote and said that God had given them a verse that “for some reason just keeps coming to mindโ€ฆ” – a seemingly random verse, and yet when I went to the page in my journal on the day that he was born, there written at the top of the page was that verse. and that was just the beginning of puzzle pieces coming together to confirm from the outside this was our son – friends having dreams, songs and verses and journal pages reminding us of the truth we claim but find so difficult to live out – that our hope and ultimate joy really isn’t found in this life – in our comforts, our control, our picturesque family, or even in having healthy children that function normally. our hope is in Jesus and in the work he did on the cross to adopt us when we were undeserving and make us his beloved children. our hope is in knowing him in this life and in the next – when he sets everything to rights. our hope is in zion.

and that (in a very tiny nutshell) is how we came to make “baby boy” our son, Zion Jeremiah Parsons – when after some time of wrestling, Jeremy said, “I think he’s our son, and that means we have a son in the NICU right now.” We brought the boys in, told them they were going to have a baby brother, prayed and, through tears, asked God to give us strength and wisdom for the road ahead. we called our social worker and jeremy said “has anyone claimed that sweet little boy?” she said, “no.” and he said, “well, good, because we’re going to!”

we rented a car, decided we had had enough of Chicago for now, and got home in time to meet him on Saturday.
it was an experience beyond words, and we have been completely in awe of him since.

he has a long road ahead to grow – needs to be at least 7 weeks older before he can get out of the hospital, and have one more surgery.
but he is already showing SERIOUSLY wonderful changes in the past 5 days of being loved.
everyone keeps saying that he’s going to thrive now that he has a family.
and we tend to agree, and are praying for that every day, multiple times a day.
we just know that God has a plan for Zion’s life far beyond what we could imagine, and we are thankful that he has allowed us to be a part of that story.
it’s so much better than we ever imagined, and he is marvelous.
we have a long road ahead, and life has already DRASTICALLY changed, but we are clinging to the fact that the same one who made Zion can protect him and lead us through this.

so, here is a little short slideshow of our little one.
thank you dear ones for praying for us, supporting us, loving on us, and walking into this new season of life with us.
we can’t promise it’s going to be easy, but we can promise it is a story worth being a part of, and we are glad to have you along on the journey.

with so much love,
jeremy, ash, and the brothers (all 3!) – micah, tyler, and zion.

show hide 54 comments

Lori Anderson I just found your blog by accident, but you fill my heart with joy and hope.August 14, 2011 – 2:32 am

Carmen I am so thankful there are people in the world like you. What a lucky little boy to have such loving and selfless people to love him. And how lucky you are to be on this beautiful journey with such a sweet little angel.August 2, 2011 – 7:43 pm

hannah singer absolutely magnificent!
praising jesus and weeping for joy for you all.
what a treat! xoJuly 31, 2011 – 2:34 am

kelly Wow I am constantly in awe of our SAVIORS perfect plans. He wanted this little angel to be with a family that would teach him of his (gods) love. Zion is the perfect name.
I love in your video how he closed his eyes before each hic-up. Melt my heart.July 30, 2011 – 10:49 pm

Babymama He is perfect.
What an amazing story – you are an inspiration.
I will continue to follow little Zion’s story –
xoJuly 30, 2011 – 4:52 pm

Babymama He is so perfect.
What an absolutely amazing story – you are an inspiration. I will continue to follow little Zion’s story.
xoJuly 30, 2011 – 4:51 pm

Danielle this story of finding your son is wonderful! i loved. i have some friends that tried to adopt a baby abandonded by an unknowing mother. I have linked to you on my blog. Hope this ok. Blessings! 30, 2011 – 1:12 pm

Susan Rowland I learned of your website through your mom. I am a friend of hers from West Pres in San Jose. Right now tears are slipping down my cheek. Zion has found a home and a family and all of us are richer because of that. Way to go Zion, you hung in there until your family arrived ready to love you just the way you are! What a treat! I’m late to this party but maybe right on time! Just like all of you!July 22, 2011 – 3:53 am

becca just had a chance to read this. cried. thank you for being an example to me. I really do see this as a very concrete material example of God’s kingdom present in this world. Love love loveJuly 12, 2011 – 3:06 pm

Rosina You guys are my heroes. That is all.July 7, 2011 – 7:47 am

Lyndzee Ellsworth You two are amazing. Such wonderful, passionate, loving, inspirational people. I had no idea of this adventure that you were on. Blessings and prayers to you and your growing family. He is perfect. Love you guys.

Lyndzee*July 6, 2011 – 11:01 pm

Jordan Locklear I am a friend of Annie’s in Denver and was touched when she told me the story of baby Zion. I am sitting at my computer, my 2 daughters are sleeping in their beds and I want to wake them up and hug them just so they know they are loved.
Seeing pictures of your beautiful baby, knowing the love you have for him and the love you have for your family to bring his precious life into your circle- its incredible.
We should all strive to have more love in our lives and you have inspired so many. Thank you for that.July 5, 2011 – 10:13 pm

Allyson Cheney tears are dripping into my coffee as i read and watch this beautiful story. there really aren’t sufficient words. love you guys. a lot. congratulations on your newest little one….July 3, 2011 – 1:10 pm

Kori My girlfriend sent me the links to your blogs. I’m a wife, mother of 4, photographer, and just starting the process towards adoption, so she thought I would like your blogs! =) And actually she hadn’t even known yet that we were pursuing adoption! Just spent some time on this blog and on the Don’t Give UP project blog and I’m totally inspired by your work, your walk, and your words. Bawled my eyes out watching the video of Zion. Thank you for sharing it!! Praise God for his clear leading in your life and for your willingness to follow! Looking forward to following the next steps of your journey!July 3, 2011 – 3:56 am

Katie Ballard I found your blog through Rachel Porter, and had to say congratulations!! We also recently adopted (in March, but won’t be final until Sept.) and had a (much shorter than yours) stay in the NICU. Love reading about other adoptive families!! Please feel free to shoot me an email if you want to talk adoption (or NICU/adoptive parent struggles).

SO happy for you!July 2, 2011 – 11:05 pm

Jodie_Velour i clicked over from annie’s blog.
your zion is beautiful. just perfect.
congratulations to you guys. i tell you what, the parsons are amazing people. ๐Ÿ™‚July 2, 2011 – 3:26 pm

Katie Beverley Amazing!!!! I am so happy for your family. God bless you all–prayers for you!July 1, 2011 – 9:55 pm

Elizabeth What a beautiful story!

My little brother was born with hydrocephalus, so my family is well aware of the roller coaster that can go along with that. I’d be happy to share about it anytime if you’d like.July 1, 2011 – 5:19 pm

Taylor Bashta A friend pointed me to your blog. Wow. As tears flow down my cheeks I’m praying for your precious new little son. We adopted our son 9 months ago. Adoption is a miracle that the world needs to hear about. Thank you for being brave and courageous and sharing your story. The Lord is smiling BIG because of your family!July 1, 2011 – 3:42 pm

Kaci What an absolutely beautiful story!!! Reminds me again that we serve a God who knows what is perfect for us. Thank you for sharing!July 1, 2011 – 1:19 pm

josh The world needs more wonderful people like you, Parsons. I’m so proud to have you in our lives and for our stories to overlap just a bit. Much love your way, my friends!July 1, 2011 – 3:40 am

Anika Swensen Thank You so much for sharing this. We are a few months into the process of adopting and it is something that is near and dear to my heart. I have admired you guys, your heart and your talent, your passion. It was a blessing to read this story and I pray all the blessings in the world for you and your 3 boys as you enjoy life together.July 1, 2011 – 1:48 am

bethany Speechless and sobbing. So head over heels happy for your family and I can’t WAIT to meet him! Lots of prayers being said for ALL of you right now.July 1, 2011 – 1:29 am

Heather Cole Can’t stop crying right now. This video MADE my day. God is good. ๐Ÿ™‚June 30, 2011 – 6:31 pm

marula well, we ar adoptiong a baby “that no one else wanted” (a 6 years old deaf little girl) and we can’t wait also to have her wishes for your wonderfull son ..hugs from italy!June 30, 2011 – 2:36 pm

Randy Bohlender It’s hard to believe that it was a week ago today that we first heard of this little guy & gathered in a little room to pray “God, send a family.” It gives me great faith to pray for even more…

We have a Zion as well. Kelsey loved the name but I needed convincing. She showed me a baby book that declared “A parent needs to be bold to name their child Zion.” That sold me. Looking forward to the day when our Zion Isaiah can show your Zion Jeremiah the way around the soccer field with a ball.June 30, 2011 – 2:21 pm

Jessica Clark Hi Parsons!
What an amazing, redemptive story! We are a local adoptive family with Hannah’s Dream, too, and I have 3 living biological preemies. Feel free to get in touch with me if you want a “preemie mom” friend and or input! And congratulations!!June 30, 2011 – 1:31 pm

arana hi,
ive been checking out your blog and website as im a keen bean for gorgeous photography, then i saw your post about wee zion.
congratulations, you guys have the most beautiful son. your story made me cry and so happy at the same time. this wee boy is going to thrive with your love.
my prayers are with you guys.
big love
aranaJune 30, 2011 – 9:29 am

Sarah Robertson I can’t sleep and just read through back posts of this blog I didn’t know existed and this is what I see… (and I’m gonna say it, even if it’s the 80 millionth time you’ve heard this today!). All that time, you were marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion!

so so happy for you all!June 30, 2011 – 6:53 am

Angie Congrats on the birth of your new beautiful boy. So incredibly happy for your family. ๐Ÿ™‚ hugs and kisses.June 30, 2011 – 5:50 am

Jen A friend of mine linked to your post and the just tears won’t stop. My baby girl was born ten weeks premature at 2 lbs. 4oz and spent 69 days in the NICU. (She is now a happy & healthy 8 month old.) The thought of a little one going through that for 28 days with no family to love him is utterly heartbreaking. Thank you for making the decision to adopt this little boy. Zion is sure to thrive with such loving, selfless parents.June 30, 2011 – 5:25 am

kristin fulghum oh my word. 8 pound baby hiccups are adorable, but 3 pound baby hiccups…amazing! that is a wonderful story and definitely brought me to tears. i can’t wait to meet little zion and i hope you will let us know what you need.June 30, 2011 – 1:38 am

kristin fulghum oh my word. 8 pound baby hiccups are adorable, but 3 pound baby hiccups…amazing!!! that is such a precious story and definitely brought tears to my eyes. can’t wait to meet that cute little zion. we will be praying for you guys and i hope you will let us know what you need.June 30, 2011 – 1:36 am

katie day God is using you in so many ways. I don’t think you can even know what this post means to me. Proof that the holy spirit is ALL up in your family. Praise the Lord.

“Your cleansed and grateful life not your words will bear witness to what I have done”

Thank you for walking the walk.June 30, 2011 – 12:23 am

Punam Joy joy joy!!!! The luckiest little boy ever to find his way to your amazing family. I am so so so happy for all five of you and I hope I get to meet him soon!!!!!!! YAYAYAY!!!June 29, 2011 – 11:51 pm

cLotriet I also stumbled across your story and am so touched beyond words as to how obedient to Christ you are and how much love and joy is being shared with this perfect little creation you have accepted as your own! Wow. We have wanted to adopt for a while also, and your story just confirms in me something that I’ve been wrestling with too. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you for being so open and honest about your faith journey and struggles. My prayers are with you all.

p.s. our daughters name is Zian which we also took from the Bible but changed the o to an a to make it feminine. Love the name ZION! It has many beautiful meanings, of which my favorite is “God’s Mountain of Strength or Power”June 29, 2011 – 10:40 pm

heather Oh my goodness! So many tears! I’m absolutely head-over-heels thrilled for you guys. Such a beautiful story and family. Praying that little Zion will grow, thrive, and flourish in the coming days, weeks, and years. Hugs to you all!June 29, 2011 – 10:29 pm

jac love you guys. he fits perfectly in your arms ๐Ÿ™‚June 29, 2011 – 10:06 pm

Lauren jeremy, ash, micah, and tyler…

tears are streaming as i i learn of your newest, most beautiful blessing. he IS absolutely perfect… i feel as if i my heart could burst for you all. he is so lucky to have such a precious family and you are so blessed to have Zion change your lives. your family is whole. i love you all and will lift you all up as you press on into this new adventure!!!

lauren and ryanJune 29, 2011 – 9:53 pm

Candice Lanning I am so moved …praying for Zion man and for God to continue to move mightily in his behalf. Congratulations!June 29, 2011 – 8:19 pm

Jennifer Congrats on such a wonderful addition. Prayers for many blessings. God certainly does have us lead interesting lives!! Thank you for sharing your story with the world.June 29, 2011 – 7:24 pm

Tom There is no better demonstration of Christ’s love for us, that loving others unconditionally. Thank you for acting upon His will. Blessings to you both. Hope to see you again soon…June 29, 2011 – 7:07 pm

Vinsons He is absolutely beautiful!!!! Congrats on such a wonderful little blessing from God. We love you all so much! Let us know if you need any help! We are only about 10 minutes away! Love mucho!June 29, 2011 – 6:54 pm

Jessica I don’t know you guys but I just stumbled across your story hear and I cried tears of joy for you. Praying for your new little boy. I’m sure God has huge plans for him and your family!June 29, 2011 – 6:40 pm

DianaD Oh what a divine match! Such a beautiful picture of God’s love. I will continue to pray for you all, and look forward to meeting you.
I do know that Zion has a very real purpose & path. ๐Ÿ™‚
In the mighty name of King Jesus,
“NICU Nana”June 29, 2011 – 6:18 pm

Sarah Rhoads Ashley & jermey- just read the story and although my eyes are teary my heart is so full for you two. You are a great example of courage and trusting in Gods faithfulness. Congrats on your ever growing beautiful familyJune 29, 2011 – 6:16 pm

Kelly Key So proud for your new, beautiful family. We love you so much! He looks like he’ll fit right in! ๐Ÿ™‚June 29, 2011 – 6:14 pm

Heather Oh my gosh! I knew I shouldn’t read this at work (do these tears go with my shirt??), but I couldn’t help myself. I’m SO beyond happy for your family!!!June 29, 2011 – 6:07 pm

Julianne Wow, you guys, what an amazing story. Congratulations! You should really put a warning at the top of this blog post that tears will result from reading it. Beautiful! Adoption is such a reflection of God’s love for us! We’ll be praying for you and little Zion.June 29, 2011 – 6:05 pm

erin What an awe-inspiring, beautiful, God-filled story. Thanks for sharing!June 29, 2011 – 5:58 pm

Ravyn Congratulations to you and your newly expanded family. My husband and I have been followers of your work for some time now, and we’re constantly inspired by the goodness you bring to the world. The photography community is full of people who want to ‘motivate’ & ‘inspire’ others, but I truly feel like you guys personify these values. The fact that you’ve brought this little baby into your lives is yet another reason why you guys are so special. Even though I’ve never met you two in-person, I feel honored that you share such beauty & love through your blogs & work … Best of luck to baby Zion & you guys as you continue on your journey! What a happy day!!!June 29, 2011 – 5:43 pm

hootenannie Freaking out.

I love him so much.

Thank you for this beautiful post, and for growing our family. The Parsons are all better for sweet Zion. Love you guys – and I’m coming soooooon!June 29, 2011 – 5:36 pm

The Workshop That Changed EVERYTHING. | An Endless Pursuit […] could be possible with what we were doing with An Endless Pursuit. ย Shortly after we read this post by them, and decided that these were people we HAD to meet. ย Please stop reading until you click on the […]January 14, 2014 – 1:30 am

we are the Parsons + Zion « little things + big stuff […] two boys already, the Parsons decided to adopt sweet Zion despite his medical needs and uncertain future. There was a time they thought he was deaf. And […]February 10, 2012 – 11:43 pm

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