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 mind…” – 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.