This holiday season is extra special for Brad and Carroll Lane Parsons because they are celebrating it with a new addition to their family. They welcomed their 2-year-old son James on Oct. 14, 2013.
“We just feel very blessed and very thankful,” said Carroll Lane. “He is just a sweet, smart, perfect, funny, really loving little boy.”
Adopting James was a decision they had considered and prayed about for years.
“We had a great, happy family,” said Brad. “We had two healthy little girls and we just felt the urge to extend our family. And we really then talked about adoption and really prayed specifically for that.”
Adopting James was not a simple process. In fact, it was a long journey that started in February 2012. When the Parsons decided to adopt a special needs child from China, they were given a timeframe of 12 to 18 months. Their adoption took longer because they moved from Union City, Tenn., to Jonesboro, Ark., when Brad was named administrator and CEO of NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital.
“Through this journey, we moved to Jonesboro, Ark., for another opportunity,” said Brad. “Baptist leadership has been so supportive of that, and we really had to start over in the process so it made the process a little bit longer for us. Now looking back, [we] really got divine intervention in making sure that James was our little boy.”
When they received the call that it was time to adopt James, they had less than 10 days to pack and leave the country for a required two-week stay in China. The Parsons had decided to take their girls, Ellenie, 5, and Lillianna, 8, with them.
“We felt like it would be an incredible learning experience for them,” said Carroll Lane. “We felt like it would be an important bonding time together as a family and once we talked to their school and had their support, then that made our family decision. It was the right one for us. … We are very glad that we did it.”
The entire family met James together and spent time sightseeing and visiting Chongqing, the province where James was born. It was a trip they’ll never forget. Once they met with the consulate and secured James’ passport, they headed home.
Three airports, three flights and two layovers later, they arrived safely back in the United States. The transition and adjustment period has been very positive. James has adjusted well to his family, and the Parsons have spent the first weeks at home, cocooning, with limited visitors and outings. This time was important to establishing the family bond and connectedness.
“He’s got to learn that attachment, and we’ve been extremely blessed that he has,” said Carroll Lane. “He seems to be very bonded to us and to the girls as well and even to our dogs. … Now he lays on them and kisses them. … It’s a miracle to see the progress he’s made in a short period of time.”
The biggest challenge the Parsons have faced is going from two children to three.
“It’s been amazing to see the blessings and how it all worked out,” said Brad. “He’s the perfect little match for our family, so much so that people say he favors me, which is kind of funny.”