The rain was falling gently as the windshield wipers washed the slate clean.
He was gone, so I could.
We had just sat in a sterile exam room. We left with several starter kits and books on the potential drugs my husband *might* be injecting into his body because he *probably* had Multiple Sclerosis.
"The oral medications were just approved by the FDA. I do not recommend them. There are so many side effects. Take it and you slow/block MS flair-ups buuuuutttt you get cancer instead".
Injections it is.
That. That was almost FOUR years ago.
Injections we did. Who am I kidding? Injections he did. Three different medications. The first made him so incredibly sleepy he was put on Ritalin. The second burned his skin. The third, which was most effective, his body built up an antibody to. Very rare they say. We laughed.
You see, I am married to a fighter. And a fighter married to a fighter? Well, you would think that would cause fights between us. The opposite is true. We fight against the enemy. Together. I have watched my husband stand up when he could have sat down. So I do not sit down. I'm not good at it anyhow.
When we began the adoption process, we knew Jeremy's diagnosis might be an issue. Might? We knew it would be a red flag at some point. Indeed it was, from the moment we said yes. We spent months, in quiet, exploring options, countries, routes, the whole kit and caboodle. We worked with a placement agency who was gentle and kind, holding our hands as they asked for specific detailed information about Jeremy's conditions. We get it. Multiple Sclerosis and Diabetes look scary on paper. Paper doesn't represent a person. Have you heard me preach on insurance companies and their denials of claims? My child is not a case number or a file on your desk! We knew we'd have to prove his health, stability, and ability to be a parent.
Our choices became very narrow. Simply based on his diagnoses. That, my friends, is a very big black dark hole just waiting for someone to come wallow. We didn't.
Every other country but TWO.
But TWO said YES.
Bulgaria and Ethiopia.
Praise the heavens we chose Bulgaria.
We were cleared to begin the actually application process (yes all this occurred before the formal application) and then Mimi happened. And we switched placement agencies. And the questions came at us again.
We held our breath.
They said YES.
Fast forward to three weeks ago. Our agency called and I already knew it was not good news. Our case had been bumped from the Ministry of Justice in Bulgaria. They wanted additional information regarding Jeremy's treatment and health.
This came as no surprise as our dossier did not reflect detailed information of his diagnoses. I was more rattled by the other items they requested.
And then I thought about the caseworker who opened our file.
What did she think? What did that paper say to her? Did she imagine my husband as an invalid?
What did she think as she flipped to the back and saw our pictures?
Oh to be a fly.
Adoption does this crazy thing where it challenges you constantly. Are you sure you want to do this? Are you sure you can parent? Are you sure you are good enough to parent? Fill out another form. PROVE IT. So how do you prove something that on paper looks like doomsday?
You prove it. With details. With providing the information they want. We were as specific as possible in reporting Jeremy's treatment. He is healthy and THRIVING. He is now on those crazy oral medications, as four years has brought improvements and none of those craaaazy side effects. It is amazing to me to watch him simply take a pill that does the work of all those shots he went through. It is a blessing. He is followed regularly by his specialist, who attributes Jeremy's positive attitude to his continuous health. He has MRIs that we pray will not show any changes when the scans come back. If they do, and they have before, we move forward. Life is unpredictable.
While the issue isn't present with a fanfare and a spotlight, it lies in the corner. Its a thorn. That could potentially prick you if you grab the rose stem at just the right spot.
We do not take the opportunity we have in adopting Mimi for granted. The song from Toad the Wet Sprocket has been on repeat in my mind for weeks.
Every single delay, form, correspondence, setback, frustration, mood-swing, celebration, and milestone reminds me we are IN THIS PROCESS. Every moment is a moment we are IN IT.
It is not a dream. It is not a wish. It is real. We do not take that for granted.
Is it hard? Absolutely! Is it cumbersome and maddening? Sometimes!
Is it worth it?
We fight. For her. Because we are blessed to be able to do so.