I married my husband, Michael Parris, when I was just 17 and he was 22. We were young, innocent, and gloriously in love. In the first 14 years of our marriage, we would experience years of infertility and then 3 miscarriages, each pregnancy lasting longer than the previous.
Then on September 24, 1999, Emma Grace Parris entered the world much too soon, at 27 weeks gestation and weighing 2 lbs and 12 ounces. Emma had serious complications from the moment of her birth and spent the first four months of her life in the neonatal units of two different Chicago area hospitals.
When Emma was about 15 months old, we became pregnant with a son, Jonathan Michael. He was stillborn on August 22, 2002.
After five devastating pregnancies, we were resigned to giving ourselves to providing the best quality of life we could for Emma. However, God, in His wonderful sense of humor, gave us an unexpected blessing in the form of a surprise pregnancy. For nine months we worried, prayed, fretted, begged, and prayed some more. On April 22, 2004, Spencer Michael Parris entered our world and has changed it forever. Born with pneumonia, Spencer has mild asthma but is otherwise healthy. He is the joy in our world, the sun in our sky. He is an amazing brother to Emma.
Additionally, we have been foster parents for years and have invested in the lives of dozens of children to whom we didn’t give birth, but have given our love and time.