March 2014, Indianapolis, Indiana
The day after I was admitted to the hospital with a diagnosed brain tumor and the day before I was to have surgery to remove that brain tumor, I saw an email with new pictures of the boys pop up on my phone.
Dan was sitting next to me on the second hospital bed the nurses had pushed together to make a full-sized hospital bed for us to sleep on. I was emotional and I was fearful, and if it’s even possible, I was also very calm. A nurse was in the room… There were always nurses in the room.
I silently opened my email and tipped the phone for Dan to see. I just wasn’t sure I was ready to share with near-strangers that not only do I have a brain tumor, but by the way, we have been waiting tirelessly for years for our sons to be able to come into our home.
We opened the pictures, and I melted. One full-body picture of each boy. Both wearing crisp, clean polos tucked into elastic-band khaki pants. Little sandals on the feet. The same sandals as the previous month’s pictures. The boys were each holding a bright, plastic toy, and standing on a walkway with grass and plants behind them. The pictures were clear and bright. I melted again.
When the doctors told me in the ER the night before that I had a brain tumor, I fell apart a little. I didn’t cry, but my thoughts crumbled into a disoriented mess. I first thought: Am I going to die? And then: Will I leave Dan a widower already? And then: Will this mean we can’t bring the boys home?
The answers to all those questions were “no,” of course. But in my fear, I had emailed our adoption agency to tell them what was happening. They replied to my email with reassurance and pictures of the boys.
The nurse overheard me and Dan talking about the photos, so I showed her. She was visibly touched, which touched me more than I can explain. “I know they’ll be home soon, honey,” she said. “I know.”