When we last talked to Richard and Parrie in August, they had a lot on their plates. Their new baby Zion was barely 1 month old. The pregnancy had been a blessing to the couple, who didn’t think they could conceive and had started preparing to adopt. It was also a challenging several months, as Parrie was on bed rest for the majority of the pregnancy after the baby’s kicking had torn two stomach muscles.
After Zion was born, Parrie and Richard brought him to the shelter, where they had been living for two months after medical expenses had wiped out their savings. Just four days after his birth, Parrie had some trouble breathing, and after a hospital visit, she was diagnosed with cancer.
Zion is now 9 months old, and Parrie is cancer free. “They got it all in the surgery,” she said with relief. And the family of three is now moving to Texas, into their own apartment near Parrie’s sister, who will help care for Zion. “I don’t know what I’d do without her. I’m not ready for him to be taken care of by strangers.”
Richard added: “We’ve saved up, and we’re going to take that leap of faith and go for it. It’s the best thing for us. I have a good feeling it’s going to work out. God’s been good to us. He’s taken care of us. The health stuff has been hard, there have been roadblocks, but we are OK.”
While they are ready to get back out on their own, the couple said it will be bittersweet leaving the mission. “We had a support system,” Parrie said. “It was an extended friendship that built into family. It’s been amazing the camaraderie we’ve had with them. If someone was asking about coming here or thinking about coming here, I’d tell them to do it in a heartbeat. This is the best place to get a fresh start, if you’re willing to be open and vulnerable.
“Coming here was very pride-swallowing,” Parrie added. “No one dreams of staying in a homeless shelter. But with that being said, I’m so glad it was here, and nowhere else. I don’t think we could’ve healed as a family and held as firm to our faith, reconnected with God as well as we did, if it wasn’t for this place. Because this transition not only made us strong, it also gave us our weak moments, and then allowed us to strengthen again from our weak moments. I don’t know if we could’ve done that somewhere else. I’ll always be grateful for that.”
Parrie is still facing some troubling medical challenges. After fluid was found around her heart, she was diagnosed with pericarditis. “They want to put in a pacemaker,” she said. “I’m kind of in shock. I’m not ready for that. I’m only 36. … It’s been character-shaping to say the least, to go through this.”
But the couple is staying positive and focusing on their little miracle. “He’s amazing,” Parrie said of Zion. “He’s the coolest little guy ever. He’s smart and he’s sweet and he does the coolest things.”
Richard added: “We didn’t know about the health problems until he was born, and we wouldn’t have known. So he’s really a God send.”
“He’s a little baby superhero,” Parrie said with a smile.
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