Monday, December 31, 2012

This Christmas...

Merry Christmas....a few days late!

We had a busy Christmas this year, but it was great. We did 4 Christmas celebrations in 4 days...and then one a few days later. It was total chaos, but I loved every minute of watching Landry and Collier rip open all the boxes. 
I didn't take many pictures because I was busy trying to keep Collier off of stairs, out of fires, out of toilets, and inside houses. He is a WILD man! 
We talked about Parke a lot this Christmas and discussed the story with lots of family members. It is nice to talk about, but hard all at the same time. I didn't stop thinking about him once. I am extremely blessed with our two current monkeys and excited to welcome our new monkey very soon. :) 

The pictures are all jumbled and some out of order, but you'll get the point...we had fun!

Christmas at Dado and Nana's...

The hottest gift of the year. A Cinderella Vanity...good job nana!

A visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus at G.G. and Pepaw's

Trying to have fun on the road trip!

Micah and his Jonesboro cousins...

Lavaca at Grandmama and Granddad's. 

Christmas dinner at my mom's...

We rescheduled Christmas with Micah's parents since the roads were getting iffy. The kids loved having a break and then getting spoiled all over again!

We had a blessed year, and I hope you did too! 
We wish your family a great 2013!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Toy Swap...

We had a great Christmas with our two munchkins. It was busy, and we were 1 million places over 4 days, but it was great. I have several pictures left to upload, but here is a quick little post. I couldn't wait to share these silly pictures!
I'm telling you the absolute truth....Landry wanted every toy Collier opened, and he wanted every toy she opened. We let the kids open a few gifts from us before all the Christmas madness began. Landry got a pink "shootin' thing" aka: rifle, and Collier got a chainsaw with safety goggles. Landry has gone nuts with the chainsaw, but she especially loves the goggles. :) She puts them on all the time...even to play with her baby dolls. 

Hope you all had a great Christmas as well! Through the hustle and bustle, there was still a little cloud lingering over our family with the thought of the weeks to come with sweet Parke. I don't have much of an update to share with you, but will keep you posted as I can. 
More Christmas pics coming soon! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December Weather...

I hope everyone else has been enjoying this fabulous December weather like we have! It was 60 degrees today, and we took advantage of it. If this tells you anything, Landry was allowed to pee pee outside 3 times. :) She kind of takes advantage of the situation because she thinks that is so much fun, but we really were outside for a long time this afternoon! I love these days, and I can't believe Christmas is only 7 days away!

In other news, I found Landry's bed today! It is going to take some work, but hopefully I will have it fixed up and ready for her room before Parke's arrival. 

I'm heading to Little Rock tomorrow to meet with more doctors at Arkansas Children's Hospital and take birth mother to see a high-risk OB. We will make some final decisions tomorrow, so I should have a big update in the next few days. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Things I forgot to say...

I am overwhelmed with the number of emails, Facebook messages, phone calls, and texts we have received in response to Parke's story...overwhelmed. I have tried to respond to everyone, but please forgive me if I don't get back with you right away. We appreciate all your thoughts and prayers SO much, and I am so thankful for each of you. 

There are a few things I forgot to say in our post the other day or thought of after:
-We were waiting several weeks for the right time to announce our match with baby Parke. We were going to wait until we found out the gender, then we were going to wait until we had the level 2 ultrasound, then we were going to wait for our trip to ACH, etc. We didn't know the "right" time to announce that we were expecting him, and that is why you are just hearing about him now. We kept thinking it was going to be a simple announcement like, "We're expecting a baby boy on January 13th!" 

-We realize that not everyone understands our situation or what we are dealing with right now. We didn't know we needed to prepare for this, or how we would respond to the news. We knew we loved Parke, but we weren't expecting that we would be preparing lose him so quickly. We may not say the right things, or we may handle the situation differently than you think you would, but please provide us with some grace and be slow to judge. I love this baby just like I loved Landry and Collier as they grew in my belly. We feel like we are 36 weeks pregnant. I think mamas who have adopted might understand. 

-We may not have many updates until he is born. We are talking with the specialist at ACH sometime on Monday to clarify our options and move forward making decisions. Our attorney is following up with birth mother next week, and we will move forward from there.

-We are moving on with our normal lives as much as possible while we wait. Landry knows about "Baby Parke," but doesn't know any details or that he is arriving soon. We're staying busy with the holiday season, and trying not to go crazy thinking about all the what if's.

-I have basically developed insomnia the past week and have slept very few hours each night. My head will not stop spinning, and I just can't wrap my mind around the whole situation.

-I'm hugging my babies even tighter (which is hard for me to believe because their eyeballs about pop out every time I SQUEEZE them!). There is so much going on in our community and world right now that the stories just make me thankful for what we do have and what we do know. I do have assurance of salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ, and I will rest in that truth and pray that for each person reading this post. I don't have to figure it all out or understand it all...I just have to trust in the one who wrote the story from the beginning. 

John 16:33b "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!"

Moving on to lighter topics, here is our princess boy yesterday. His sister helped him get dressed in her princess dress, and he has figured out how to climb on things to get what he wants. He is such a stinker, and such a joy. I have GOT to get this boy a hard hat or something manly to dress up with. He loves Landry's purses, shoes, dress-up clothes, or anything else that is "pribby!" (aka: pretty). What a mess!

Now, I'm moving on to enjoy this busy weekend with my sweet family! 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Big Announcement about a Little Person

Be prepared, this is going to be a wordy post and will most likely seem a little backwards. It's hard for me to find the right words to share with you our news about Baby Gibson #3. 
I'm going to start with where we are now and move to the beginning. I'm afraid it won't make much sense if I don't do it this way. 
So, as of today, we are adopting a sweet baby boy due on January 13th. We found out this week that he has 5 different congenital heart defects and will only be with us for 2 days-2 weeks after birth. His name is Parke Henry Gibson, and here is the rest of the story...

Micah and I have talked about adoption from as early as I can remember. Before I married Micah, I really thought I would ONLY adopt because I was terrified to give birth to a baby. Things changed, we got pregnant with Landry, delivered her, and began talking and inquiring about adoption when she was 4 months old. Two months later, we found out we were pregnant with Collier! Our hands have been full the past few years, but we still had the longing in our heart to bring another child into our family. We both felt God leading us at different times over the past 6 months to get started, so we did. We talked with agencies, local folks that we knew, and just weren't feeling totally confident about any direction we should be going. Then, in one week, we were referred to the same local attorney by 3 different people. 
After the 3rd referral in just a few days, I gave in and called Marty. She answered her own phone, and we talked for 45 minutes...I just knew she was the one for us. We had already started the home study process to be eligible for adoption, and Marty gave us a warning that things could move quickly once we were ready. We were excited and nervous about what was coming, but we felt God's hand all over everything. 

The next week, we found out we were matched with one of 5 babies that would be coming before May of 2013! She was waiting on some final ultrasounds to determine gender of a few babies, but would let us know ASAP which one was our's. We were open to any race and any gender. Landry had told our attorney that she wanted a brother, then a sister, then a brother, then a sister all in the span of 5 minutes. So, when ultrasounds came back the next week, and there was one baby that they had yet to determine gender on, Marty said she knew it was our's since she didn't want to be the one to make Landry mad! :) 
So, it is November 28th at this point, and we find out that we are matched with a undetermined gender, Marshallese baby, from NWA, due January 13th. The birth mother was well into her pregnancy, but had not had an ultrasound yet. She had been receiving prenatal care at a free clinic that did not provide ultrasounds. Her file sounded great, health history was wonderful, and she had delivered 4 healthy babies before but could not afford to keep a 5th child. We were excited and couldn't believe how fast it was happening...she had warned us! It was going to be perfect; Landry and Collier are 16 months apart, and this baby and Collier would be 17 months apart. 

Birth Mom was scheduled for an ultrasound the next week, and we would find out what the gender was at that time. I was invited to attend the ultrasound, and I was through the moon about that! Scheduling ended up getting turned around, and our attorney and I both missed the ultrasound. It was Monday instead of Wednesday, and I got a phone call after it was over. It was a short phone call that went something like this, "Well, scheduling was confused, it's a boy, but they saw something strange with his heart, and are going to do a level 2 ultrasound to determine what it is this week." Marty sounded upset, but I figured things would be okay. I have friends that had strange ultrasounds, followed up, and everything ended up being fine. 

Level 2 ultrasound was that Thursday, and they discovered that the "plumbing" of baby's heart was all backwards. Pulmonary Artery and Aorta were on the same side, a chamber was missing, there was some narrowing of the aorta, and on and on. The doctor here referred us to Arkansas Children's Hospital, and relayed that the baby would need immediate surgery after birth, but could go on to have a normal life (he believed). Micah and I discussed scenarios of how we could make this work for our family, and we were committed to doing everything we could to allow this baby to be part of our family. 

Micah and I traveled to Little Rock this week with Birth Mom and our attorney to have things checked out. It was a long day of waiting, LONG ultrasounds (poor mama), and a tough meeting with a cardiologist. The long and the short of what he said was that the results were worse than we thought. Parke (at this point, he WAS Parke. We had seen him moving all day on a screen, and there was no moving back on that being him.) had not one, but 5 major issues wrong with his heart. Any one alone could be life threatening or debilitating, and all together it was a tough situation. He relayed the surgical options for Parke to us, and provided us with the hard facts about the low life expectancy and low success rate of the surgeries. Without getting into it all, Parke is likely not going to be a candidate for the surgeries.The birth mother was asked some questions, but told the staff that she wanted to defer to "adoptive parents" to make all decisions and arrangements on what we wanted to do with our baby. She was heartbroken to hear the news, confused by what she was hearing (through a translator over the phone), and overall very quiet and sad.  We knew that God matched us with this family for a reason, and we were thankful to be there with her while we were hearing the news. We were all crying, but I know we were able to be a source of strength for her that day. 

I know I keep using words like, "as of today" or "for now," but if you know much about adoption, things can change in an instant. Parke is our baby in our hearts and minds, and seems to be the birth mother's wish for us to continue on with taking on this responsibility, but we have no legal right to him at this point. If the birth mother changes her mind over the next few weeks, the story could all change.  

When we shared with a few friends and family before we went to Little Rock, we said, "We didn't ask God for a perfect baby, we asked him to bring us OUR baby." I truly believe Parke is our's and is exactly the baby that God knit together for us. We were matched with him and began loving him before we knew he wasn't healthy, before we knew he wouldn't make it, and our hearts are heavy. 

For now, the plan is that Parke will deliver locally and will be in our care until he goes to be with Jesus. And, just to clarify, we know without a doubt that is exactly where he will go. If you have questions about our faith, please ask. I would love to share with you! 

We don't know if we will bring Parke home, care for him in the hospice facility, or if he will even make it long enough to move out of the hospital. All of these things will be determined after birth in January. What we do know is that God placed us here to be with him during his first and last moments, to name him, to love him, and to be his mommy and daddy. We are struggling to understand why, but we know God is good...always. Some of you will understand, and some of you will wonder why we aren't turning around and running (we have been asked!). There is no way we are going to leave this birth mother or Parke alone during this situation. There is no way we are going to let our baby pass away alone or without the love of a family...there is just no way. 

Please be in prayer for our family during this time, and feel free to email with any questions It's a lot to take in, a lot to share, and I am sure I missed a lot of what I wanted to say. There will be more updates to come on sweet Parke Henry because he matters. He is our son that we have not known for long, but he is our's. 

**Also, I want to apologize to any close friends or family that are only hearing about this situation through the blog. We are not making many phone calls to share with people right now and have asked our parents and friends to go ahead and share with those who needed to know.**

Friday, December 7, 2012

Santa "Cause"

I took the kids to see Santa "Cause" (as Landry calls him) last night. Landry liked it, but she didn't know she was supposed to tell him what she wanted for Christmas. She came up with "candy!" pretty quickly. :) Collier was tired and very uncertain about the whole thing. Santa handed him his magic ball and Collier clung tight to blankie long enough for one picture. 

 5 minutes and $40 later, we were done! That is ridiculous to charge so much for a digital picture with Santa, but I bet we do it again next year! 
Collier spiked a fever right after, so that caught me off-guard. He had been acting fine all day and then just pooped out on us. He is the child that sleeps NOWHERE besides his bed, and this was him passed out on Mimi. Sweet boy! He seems fine today, and I noticed two teeth breaking through (finally after a year of no teething!)...I am sure those are to blame even though my Daddy-dentist would argue with me. Ha!

The kids and I did a Christmas craft this past weekend (with some help from Gigi). I stole the idea from a Facebook friend, and they turned out so cute!! I hope I remember and do this every year to see how much they grow. 

Here is our Santa picture from last year...they have changed just a little! :)