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.**

1 comment:

  1. First of all, thank you for sharing your story! My husband and I are hoping to adopt a Marshallese baby. Through research we found out about the large population of Marshallese living in Arkansas. I want to check into this but am having a hard time knowing if attorneys are legitimate. I do not want to be part of anything unethical as I have read some Marshallese adoptions have been. I actually stumbled across Marsha Woodruff's name today from another person's blog. Would you be willing to share your thoughts on her and her practice? I really want to make the decision the Lord wants for us. Thank you so much!