When my husband met me, I was just a typical university student …

No alarm bells rang out to warn him of his future with me, no-one asked him if he was sure he wanted me. We just fell in love. Then my body started coming down with various health problems. I spent time in hospital and my fellow patients were impressed with how devoted he was to me. A warning sign of our future together. We eventually got engaged, with him knowing full well that I wasn’t exactly a perfectly healthy future wife in some people’s eyes, but he meant the vows that he’d written, even though he wasn’t sure what the future held.

He still chose me

Fast forward through time and here we are. We make decisions around my chronic ailments, we’ve paid for me to have MRIs, I’ve had to spend time in hospital having iron infusions and with terrible Irritable Bowel Syndrome flare ups. I’ve had physiotherapy sessions and seen specialists. No-one has asked him if he didn’t want to swap me for a healthier wife.

He chose me knowing that I wasn’t perfectly healthy in the world’s eyes, but I was perfect for him.

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Adoption: We could choose

Our second adoption came along. We could specify age, health status, disabled or not … We could choose. So we looked at what we could handle considering our particular lifestyle – single income, homeschooling family with three other children. But at the same time, we wanted the babies who would be ‘less’ wanted by the hopeful families that wanted only healthy babies. Abandoned? Yes, we’d take him. Premature? Yes, we’d take him. We knew there were possibilities that such babies would be at risk of cognitive and physical challenges more than full term babies whose birth mothers’ histories were known. But we chose to go ahead anyway. After all, I’d been healthy, we knew our family history, but still our eldest son, our firstborn son, was born with a tiny extra digit on each hand. He had the best possible start for him, but life is unpredictable, and there he was. Tiny, vulnerable, ours, and in need of intervention.

Adopting a baby is almost like falling pregnant. You hope for the best but you have no idea what the future holds

Our adopted son found us once our screening was complete. We received pictures from his temporary foster mom and I asked, “Have you ever had another baby with ears like that?” That question was never answered. We looked at his  pictures and thought, “Something is a bit off,” but we still chose him. We just fell in love.

He didn’t look perfect in the typical sense, but he was perfect for us

Fast forward through time, and here we are. After an assessment with a paediatric neurologist, those precious ears were part of the conversation. We too now need to make decisions around his conditions. We’re willing to pay for an MRI for him. He will also need physiotherapy. Just like his mommy did. He too needs intervention, just like his big brother did.

Someone asked me if it was too late to take our son back to the adoption agency to swap him for a perfectly healthy baby – if such a thing can truly be predicted. Imagine the uproar if my husband had been asked about swapping me. Nobody had warned him about how our lives would revolve around my health. Imagine the uproar if I told the doctor I wanted to place my firstborn son because I didn’t like his extra, unformed digits.

Adopting a baby is almost like falling pregnant. You hope for the best but you have no idea what the future holds. You fall deeply in love with that little body that holds your heart. In some people’s eyes, he may be imperfect, but he’s perfectly ours. We would still choose him.