Preparing • 2017

I created a map on a scrap of paper. It was done in pencil, by hand. 

I put the lists floating in my head into a flowchart, trying to solve for the many variables beyond my control, organizing on paper all that needed to happen to reach a single goal: to travel with the children to the US to get the care they needed.

A year of knocking on government doors, navigating unknown systems, asking and advocating, seeking court orders, attending hematology clinics, caring for sick kids, choosing a treatment center, securing visa appointments, and obtaining insurance was finally over.

For almost a year, the goal of receiving medical care for the boys seemed like a long shot, improbable at best. But this was finally our next step.

For all that was still ahead of us, Mary said,

“Just come. We’ll figure it out.”

After thirty-six hours of travel, we were welcomed to Los Angeles with wide-open arms by our friends Kathy and Mary. Our family divided into two, and we filled car seats to head to our temporary home at Mary and Mel’s where we planned to stay for two or three weeks while renovations of the guesthouse were being completed.

We arrived at their yellow home on a cool September afternoon as the sun was preparing to set.

We had made it, unsure exactly of what that meant. But somehow, all the miles walked, the hurdles crossed, the tears cried, the doors knocked on, permission denied and granted, this was where the journey had led us. Here. To a home where friends were willing to make space for us.

Their four-bedroom house was accustomed to their family of three, but they were letting it stretch to hold the hopes and fears of a family in need.

Titus explained to the kids,

“We want to leave a light footprint in this home.”

While our growing family was trying to adjust to each other in a new place and culture, Ryan was in and out of the hospital. Even before transplant.

We needed community and found it, in the most unlikely of ways.

Meanwhile, we were preparing mentally and emotionally to begin Ryan’s transplant.