Our Miracle Boy with a Million Watt Smile
Zion is the youngest of our three sons. He brings joy and energy with him everywhere he goes. He’s a bright light you can’t help but stare at him and feel happy.
Zion was born three months premature at two pounds five ounces. After suffering severe bilateral brain bleeds, he was given a very grim prognosis and had two brain surgeries, including a ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement which helped relieve the pressure of extra fluid on his brain.
When we met Zion, we had no idea what the future would hold, but we knew we were meant to be his parents and he was meant to be our son. His doctors encouraged us to wait before we adopted him. They feared he would never walk, talk, smile, or live any kind of a normal life.
They wanted us to make sure we knew the kinds of challenges Zion would face. We were certain, though, that he was meant to be ours. And we knew we would face those challenges together. So we adopted Zion when he was just one month old, still struggling for life, and weighing only three pounds. We prayed every day and spent every spare moment we had holding him in the NICU.
Although we knew we were meant to be family, we didn’t know what a miracle boy Zion was going to be. That boy whose physicians thought he might never lead a “normal” life? Well, although he failed multiple hearing tests, he now hears well. Despite having Cerebral Palsy, he can run. And even though developmentally delayed, Zion can tell us in detail exactly what he is thinking or feeling. He has defied every single odd. His neurosurgeons use Zion’s story when they teach new medical students about extraordinary examples of mystery in medicine. We have every reason in the world to be thankful every single day with Zion.
We are certain that so much of his success is because of the care he has received at Children’s TLC. We came here after hearing about it from Zion’s therapists and health professionals at Children’s Mercy. Everyone agreed it would be the best place for him to begin learning as well as for him to get the intensive therapies he needed on a weekly basis. Although diagnosed with hydrocephalus and Cerebral Palsy, Zion’s frequent therapies – both at Children’s Mercy, and at Children’s TLC – have completely changed his life.
I remember walking into the halls 3101 Main and feeling like, for the first time, our family fit in. For the first time! It’s so easy to walk around other public spaces and catch people staring simply because they aren’t used to seeing a little boy in ankle foot orthotics or a family like ours. It’s been beautiful to feel like there is a place where we all just fit in perfectly, where we are all on the same page. Zion has a deep love for every single one of his therapists and he talks about them and the “fun” they have at school every single day.
Zion has gone from being a child who can only say one or two words to speaking in full complete sentences. He has gone from being a kid who could barely walk without tripping to running, kicking balls, climbing stairs, and playing on playground equipment. He has learned how to follow directions and be more independent at the same time. But more than anything, he has gained friendships and relationships with his teachers and therapists. Zion feels accepted and special at Children’s TLC. When we drop him off in his classroom each morning, we love never having to worry about him.
We are so thankful to have found Children’s TLC which not only meets the special needs of our amazing son, but helps him to reach beyond anything we had ever hoped or imagined. We are so grateful.
by Ashley Parsons, Zion’s mom