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It’s all about love
The Parkey family today includes (from left) David, Whit, Isabelle, Vanessa, and Victoria.
In this season of giving thanks, one local family is grateful simply for that -- being a family.
When South Texas girl Vanessa Runnels married her college sweetheart, North Texas boy David Parkey, they began their lives on a family ranch in Central Texas. And as with most young couples, the desire to have children took hold. But, alas, they had no success at starting a family on their own, so the subject of adoption was broached. That option did not, however, appeal to Vanessa. Like so many other families who discover that adoption may be the only option for having children, Vanessa and David balked at the idea. In their minds, they wanted to “have their own children.”
As time passed, they finally felt led that adoption was God’s will for them to pursue. They both agreed, “God has a baby out there that He wants us to raise in our Christian home.” This baby would truly be their own child! So they began adoption proceedings through Edna Gladney of Fort Worth.
The couple applied in January of 1998, and after numerous home visits, paperwork, interviews with Gladney case workers, and expenses, they waited. In October 1998, they received the phone call that they had been matched with a young girl who wanted her baby girl to be raised in a home much like what Vanessa and David had to offer.
They had six weeks to get ready for their baby to be born. The anticipation and thrill were just the same as if this were to be a birth baby, so imagine the excitement when the call came that their child had been born. It was a poignant moment when they arrived at Gladney and the birth mother handed Victoria to Vanessa and said, “Here’s your baby.”
Victoria has been raised in every way her birth mother dreamed of for her little girl.
Life was ideal, but eventually, Vanessa and David began to long for another child, a son, so they decided on international adoption. Gladney’s International Adoption Program has opportunities in many countries, so they began to take appropriate steps to adopt a son from Russia. And what an experience that was. Some of it was good, some of it, very sad.
In May 2006, Vanessa and David traveled to Moscow and made a 12-hour overnight journey to a “baby hospital” in Pskov where they met their baby, Vyacheslav, and fell in love with him. After a trip to the courthouse to change his name to Whit Parkey, sadly, they had to leave him. The wait for what should have been a couple of months before bringing him home turned into more than a year, due to official issues.
In June 2007, Vanessa and David prepared for their long-awaited trip back to Pskov to bring home their son. They were devastated to be told, however, that the adoption fell through. Today, they still long to know what happened to that child. Vanessa still encourages others not to discredit international adoption. Had circumstances been otherwise, they would have tried again.
But circumstances were otherwise. God had plans that few could have fathomed. During this time, Vanessa had become pregnant! After 15 years of marriage, Vanessa and David were expecting a birth baby. That baby, Isabelle Runnels Parkey, was born in September 2007.
But their story doesn’t end there. One year after Isabelle was born, Vanessa found herself expecting again. Whit Franklin Parkey was born in June 2009. They finally got their son -- blue-eyed, blonde-haired Whit.
The uninformed often make stinging remarks, Victoria said. For example, couples who have adopted and then get pregnant often hear, “Well, that’s how it works, you go to adopt, and then you get pregnant.” Or, “Just don’t worry too much, and you’ll get pregnant.”
“I know for a fact that is not ‘how it works,’” Vanessa said. “Victoria was almost 9 years old when I got pregnant.”
And an adopted child may hear cruel remarks, such as, “Were you an orphan?” Or, “Who is your real mom?”
Adopted children and their families refer to their biological parents as “birth mother” and “birth father.” But the adopted parents are the real parents.
“Both birth babies and adopted babies are all their own and are all are loved equally,” Vanessa said.
November is National Adoption Month.
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