Meet The Parton's

Just over a year ago, we packed up our family of 5 and moved 700+ miles away for an amazing job opportunity with my husband’s company. Living in the same area my entire life left this move a little scary…for me! The kids adjusted SO well (thank the Lord!), but this was a much bigger step for Mama…I’d never been out of my comfort zone before. But God just stepped right in, answered prayers and opened doors…we were moving! When we found out we were being transferred to Iowa, my brother gave me the contact information to a good friend of his whose family just so happened to live in the same city we were moving to. No coincidences here. We kind of sat back, speechless and watched God’s plan unfold right in front of us. We soon learned that they had four children who all ‘happen’ to be the same ages as our three kids! Then we found out that their kids attended a school closer to their house, but their area got re-zoned and they had to switch schools…..which then put them at the school OUR kids would attend! All in His perfect timing. Our children adapted extremely well, and I know it’s because we had this family to turn to!

A couple of days after we arrived in Iowa, I made a phone call to speak with this person that I had never met, seen, talked to…nothing! The next thing I know, they’ve invited us over for dinner, and we are pulling into the driveway of Travis & Missy Parton’s house…whoever they are!

All of the Parton’s came outside and before we could formally introduce the kids, all 7 of them were off playing together! As Missy invited us inside, she said, ‘Come inside, you haven’t met Gabby!’. We laugh now, because the moment she said that, I thought to myself, ‘Oh, Gabby must be the family pet’ (as I knew they only had 4 children). That night, not only did we make lifelong friends with the Parton’s, but we also heard one of the most incredible, inspiring stories we’ve ever heard.

The very first of many pictures together!

Gabby was far from the family pet. I later wondered if Missy saw the expression on my face when this beautiful young girl walked around the corner, sporting her Hello Kitty slippers and infectious smile……all the while I stood there a little confused. We ended up staying over there for HOURS. It was amazing how well we all got along and how much we had in common with these complete strangers. We learned that it didn’t take much for all of our kids to have a blast together, that our two husband’s share a passion for hunting, and we learned all about Gabby and everything she gave up to follow her dreams.

In 2010, at the age of 14, Gabby moved away from her family in Virginia Beach, VA. to come to Des Moines, Iowa where she would train with Liang Chow. Unbeknownst to Gabby (or her family), Travis & Missy had contacted Chow’s Gymnastics offering to be a host family if there was ever a need. The Parton’s had no idea there was a 14 year old gymnast about to move hundreds of miles away from her family to do what she loves.

As time passed and we got to know all of The Parton’s and Gabby even better, and all of the details included in this huge transition, I was blown away at the discipline of this young lady. To hear Gabby’s dreams and then sit back and watch it unfold is truly amazing! We’re all still blown away at the determination and discipline it takes to train the hours she does in the gym AND homeschool herself in her ‘spare time’! It’s indescribable. The maturity of Gabby keeps us constantly reminding ourselves, ‘she’s only 16!!!’.

There are so many pieces to this story. As a mother, there is no doubt saying goodbye to your 14 year old daughter so she can go live out her dreams would be heart wrenching! Or Gabby having to leave her entire family to go live with complete strangers….all of it is hard to wrap your head around. But, watching Travis and Missy open up their home and care for Gabby like she is one of their own, was like seeing the finally piece of the puzzle being put in place. God opened a door (literally!) and put Gabby in the perfect environment so she could train and focus on that one goal - London.

The Parton’s carried on with life when Gabby moved in….after all, there were five girls who needed to be in five different places. This was their new life and they embraced it and have been living it day in and day out. A lot of Americans are just now learning who ‘Gabby Douglas’ is. After Gabby placed 1st at the Olympic Trials, all of the sudden we are seeing articles, videos, pictures popping up everywhere! But what a lot of people don’t realize is that these photo shoots, interviews, videos took place months ago. The Parton’s have continued to do their job as Gabby’s caretakers all the while adjusting life for the camera crews, photographers, news reporters to follow them around as America gets to know Gabby Douglas.

Travis and Missy will tell you that they would do it all over again. They will also tell you that as thankful as Gabby’s mother and Gabby are for all that they have done, they are equally blessed to have had Gabby in their lives. But what they won’t tell you is that they are in a financial bind because of the time Travis has not worked. When you own your own business, if you don’t work you don’t get paid. However, that was pushed aside when it came down to following through with the responsibilities they had as Gabby’s host family. They take this job very seriously and there was no question they would do whatever it took to help this young lady fulfill her dreams. It wasn’t until we all recently sat down together to just catch up after the whirlwind of events that we learned the details of the situation they were in. Thankfully, Travis and Missy had purchased two plane tickets to London months ago, and again God stepped in and provided them with a host family to stay with in London to cut out the hotel expense. Most people don’t know they are in this situation, but at the end of the day, they are relying solely on God to fulfill their needs. They are not sure how it is going to all come together, but they are trusting Him.

Robbie and I are blessed to call The Parton’s lifelong friends. They welcomed us into their home after moving away from all we knew, and I’m pretty sure there is nothing we could do to repay them for always being there for our family. But, we’re going to try! We’ve decided to set up a paypal donation button for anyone who may feel lead to help this precious family out! Every little bit helps. If you are not in a position to help out, I know they would appreciate your prayers…as crazy as their lives have been the past several months, it’s not slowing down anytime soon!

You can click the ‘donate’ button below or in the sidebar to the right. Thank you for taking the time to read their story and your consideration to donate!

Hollie & Robbie