• TheConfused Father

Why Adoption?

So my wife and I have adopted three children now.

Our daughter Gaberiella is 2 and a half years old.

Sebastion will be 1 in less than a month now.

And little Simon is almost 10 months old.

My wife and I have so far been unable to conceive any children. We worried that this would be the case early on in our marriage. We got married when my wife graduated from college, a whole year ahead of me, despite starting at the same time and getting the same degree. I am not dumb, I graduated in less than the expected time for a mechanical engineering degree. She is just ... is calling your wife a monster wrong? Anyway, after we got married we said that we were going to wait a year to try to have children as I would still be in school. However, we did next to nothing to actually uphold that statement. I mean, we weren't careful at all. Yet still no kids, which is not impossible by any means but it did put up a small red flag for the two of us. So then after I graduated and we started actually making an effort to make a baby and nothing happened we quickly grew concerned. We said we would give it six months before we went and saw a specialist about it but right about the time that six months had gone by, even worse so right about my wife's birthday she suddenly started losing her ability to walk. This would have been incredibly concerning, had she not been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis(aka MS) when she was 16 years old. Not to make light of the situation though, my 22-year-old wife was forced to use a walker everywhere she went. And that is exactly as back as it sounds. So we went to see her specialist, Dr. Lynch, who is arguably the best MS doctor in the country, trust me we have looked into it. Erin's (my wife) MS was back in full force and it was looking really bad. Over the course of the 5 years prior to that Erin had gone through just about every treatment option available for MS. So prior to going in to see Dr. Lynch we had known that and had been looking into what we could still try to do. It really looked like our best bet was an experimental stem cell treatment at a University up in Chicago that was studying MS. It would have required us to live in Chicago for two years while the treatment was undergone and we were fully prepared to do it. We had even started looking at apartments in the area and contacted the University about getting into the program. But when we met with Dr. Lynch she told us that we still had one last thing we could try through her office. A new drug that had just been FDA approved called Lemtrada. Well, drug might be too light a term. Technically Lemtrada is chemotherapy, but a fairly mild one. The results from the FDA test were nothing short of miraculous. Of the people that went through two rounds of chemo, most( I can't remember the exact number as it was years ago, but I believe it was in the 60% range) of people went in full remission. Which is like saying they no longer showed any symptoms. Of the remaining, approximately 40% after a third-round of chemo half of them went into full remission. That is 80% of people with a disorder that we had up that point thought she would live the rest of her life with, being symptom-free after 2 years of fairly easy treatments. There was even one incredible testimonial of a lady that had been completely unable to use her legs, spending 100% of her time in a wheelchair, going out and running a full marathon several years after her first round of treatment. Needless to say, we were very interested. But nothing good comes without some sacrifice right. Well, that came out quickly in the discussion. Lemtrada, at the time, was showing a roughly 13% mortality rate. A sudden chance at death is a lot to take in at any point in life. Even more so at such a young age though. It was the hardest decision we had made in our lives up to that point. Many a sleepless night and countless tear-filled fights. We ultimately decided to move forward with the procedure with the following three thoughts driving us forward. Firstly, the average age for someone to be diagnosed with MS is in their late forties. That gave my 22 year old wife a pretty healthy head start on most people that had been through it before. Secondly, if we didn't do it her condition was only going to get worse. And even with a reduced life expectancy due to MS, 44 years is a long time to watch yourself or someone you love slowly wither away. The final reason and this is mildly morbid but please understand we put a lot of thought into this statement, a reasonably quick death is better than a lifetime of suffering. So there we sat on the fourth of July that year in KU Med Center in KC Kansas, which serves arguable the best pizza on that side of the city. And we had not even left the hospital before the additional consequences of chemo started to hit us. We were only going to have a harder time getting pregnant. Not to even mention that we could not try at all until at least three months after the second round of chemo over a year later. So we fairly quickly turned our hearts to adoption. And the rest just kind of fell into place... Not really at all. There is a lot of work involved in adopting a child. But more on that another time.

In the meantime, I hope this message finds you in good health and with a sound mind. I am just another confused father from Kansas wondering...



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