Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Watching Mark and Melissa Shue with three-week-old Graham, you realize they were meant to have a baby all along.
The couple are parents to their adopted daughters Anna-Gregory, 13, and Caroline, 11.
Much to their surprise, they found Melissa was pregnant last summer. (Not the “flu” after all …)
Graham Wilson Shue arrived Jan. 17.
Melissa calls him her little diva as arrived by emergency C-section, then had to spend a few days at Brenner Children’s Hospital to resolve issues with his lungs.
But he’s home now and doing well, and the expanded family is learning a whole new routine that comes with caring for an infant.
“He’s doing great,” Melissa says, sitting on the sofa in their cozy den. “He is truly the type of baby who says, ‘If I need you, I’ll call you.’ ”
The Lord evidently delivered a fussy baby elsewhere, she says.
“He’s been very good,” a clearly smitten Mark adds. “He’s gained weight the whole time.”
Like most ó OK, probably all ó first-time parents do, they’re struggling with the effects of sleep deprivation.
But it’s getting better.
Mark says he doesn’t know if they’ve felt the full impact yet of being a family of five instead of four.
“We haven’t had all three children in the car yet,” he said.
In a Post article about her pregnancy, Melissa said the family had talked about how they would make room on their walls for pictures of Graham to complement the photos of Anna-Gregory and Caroline. They already had room in their hearts.
Now, Melissa says, “He just seems like he fits.”
“It’s just worked,” Mark says. “There’s no pain with this the whole way through.
As this point, Melissa cuts her eyes at Mark, “Well…”
Of course there was pain for her, he concedes.
Graham pipes up from his carrier.
Mark walks over to pick him up.
“Come here, bud,” he says. “Come here, sport. That’s all you want. You just want somebody to hold you.”
Sure enough, Graham settles right into his father’s arms.
Melissa says that being older first-time parents to an infant has worked out OK. She’s 42, he’s 43.
Mark’s established in his career, and they’ve owned their home a long time, she says.
“You know he’s the focus,” she says of her baby.
The couple appreciates all the support they’ve had from their family and friends and church members, who’ve called and come by and sent cards and brought meals.
“Having that kind of encouragement helps us to believe, maybe we can do this,” Melissa says.
Having had a baby, she now feels she’s part of the “unspoken sisterhood” of moms who’ve told her, “We know you’re tired. Just hold on.”
Mark is in awe of this tiny new person in their lives.
“It’s amazing how they come equipped. To be able to do the things they do is amazing,” he says, gazing down at his son.
So how does it feel to the father of two girls to now have a boy?
“I really don’t know yet, really and truly,” Mark admits. “It’s definitely special. It’s a special thing for both of us.”
Mark plans to take Graham out to his woodworking shop soon to show him around. Then there’s camping and baseball and fishing down the road.
“They’ll be things that I used to like to do that I don’t do anymore because the girls weren’t interested,” he says. “We’ll see what his interests are.”
Melissa says that Mark has been flexible as far as the girls’ activities ó he’s taught them about changing the oil in the car and checking fluid levels, but he also helped them make a pillow.
“We want to expose the girls to a lot of different things, so they can figure out what they like and what they have an interest in,” Mark says.
The same goes for Graham.
“I wonder what his likes will be and what his interests will be,” Melissa says.
For now though, she’s just content to watch him as he sleeps.
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Contact Susan Shinn at 704-797-4289 or sshinn@salisburypost.com.

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