January 23 – 10 Year Survivor | Mae’s Adoption Journey
If the journey to our three-week adoption wasn’t emotional enough, there was a special piece to the the timing of things that was making it even more memorable. I was walking in the shadow of another emotional January that happened just 10 years before. That one was just as thrilling, yet not so joyous.
The 2001 Diagnosis
Ten years earlier I had been rushed through a similar rat race of ups and downs – many that fell on the same days as key events in our adoption story. Except 10 years before, they weren’t full of anticipation and joy of a baby. Instead, they were full of fear and anxiety of cancer. As a 17-year-old, I had just been diagnosed with colon cancer. The roller coaster was full of doctors appointments, scans and scheduled surgeries. Not baby shoes and nursery items.
For months leading up to my “10 year” anniversary, I had come up with several ways I wanted to celebrate. I’d gone so far as to sketch out a big fundraiser to raise money for the Colon Club. Then I thought about running ten 5Ks in 2011, signifying my “10 years of survival.” But, nothing ever fabricated. And I realized that it was most likely because God knew I’d have other plans on the 10th year anniversary of being diagnosed with colon cancer.
10 Years of Survivorship and An Introduction to the Family
As the big day came, all I really wanted was to be with my family and our baby. Although I thought I wanted something “big” to give back to others – in the end I just wanted to be at home with the people who had supported me the most. My family.
Each one of the grandparents had waited for a new picture or update all week. While Mike & I would go visit the baby, they had yet to meet her. We wanted to make sure we had a court date and it looked like everything was a “go” before we introduced the baby to them. But as my special day came, I knew it was time. I wanted to celebrate my 10 year anniversary of being diagnosed with cancer with our family meeting our baby. Wht a way to redeem the day.
Meeting the Grandparents
Uncle Nick’s house had become like a second home to us, especially when he told us we were welcome to invite the family over. We gave each of our parents the time and address and told them we’d see them soon! We arrived a little early for more one-on-one time with our baby girl. Time flew and before we knew it, they had all arrived. And right on time – if not a little early. They couldn’t wait to meet our newest addition. It was a perfect moment.
The evening was one of the most memorable in the process. Grandparents ooed and awwed over our beautiful girl. Tears sprung when we finally disclosed her name to them, swearing them to secrecy. Even after a week of visits, we could tell she knew my face and responded to my voice. We ate pizza and had cupcakes. No talk of cancer was found – just excitement for a new baby. And in reality, that’s just how it needed to be.
Years earlier my parents were standing in a library telling me I had cancer. My life was at stake, and the future was uncertain. But now, 10 years later, I was still here. I had life. And what was even better was that another little life was about to enter our world. That was the best celebration I could have ever asked for.
Entry filed under: Biracial Adoption, Burgess Adoption, Maeby, Memoir. Tags: adoption journey, adoption story, baby, cancer anniversary, cancer survivor, colon cancer, grandparents, pizza, young colon cancer.