Updated: July 19, 2013 3:26PM
Raymond was 25 in the summer of 2004 on a trip to Fort Lauderdale with his parents and sister.
“As I sat in the ocean with the waves crashing against me, I looked out on the horizon and said to myself, ‘That’s it. I need to go home and find my true love.’”
And that’s just what he did. He went home, went on a few “bad dates,” and then got a “wink” from Meagan on match.com.
Their first phone call lasted for hours. Their first date was on Sept. 26, 2004. They decided to meet at Millennium Park.
“As I waited for Meagan to arrive, I saw an elderly woman who reminded me of my late grandmother. I feel she sent Meagan to me. After our first date, we both told our parents we had met our soul mate.”
They got engaged in February 2005 and married in April 2006.
“Here,” says Raymond, “is where our story gets interesting.
Eight months after their wedding, Meagan was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. She had surgery to remove it and then lost total hearing in her right ear. She needed several more surgeries to repair brain fluid leaks. She was in the hospital six weeks and unable to swallow for three months. She had to be tube fed.
“All this was in the first year of our marriage. I was there at her side everyday in the hospital and cared for her at home, from putting drops in her eye throughout the night to consoling her.
Our families kept us afloat financially.
“When we were through with all of that and Meagan was back to work, things didn’t go back to normal.
There was a new normal. We’ll always have to make sure there’s moisture in her right eye, which doesn’t blink or produce tears since the tumor was removed.
“But I would never trade a minute of that. Meagan has such a caring heart and is always looking out for others. She’s so strong and can withstand any bump in the road with a positive attitude. She’s truly my soul mate. My favorite part of the day is being with her and watching her play fetch with our dog Riley.”
“Riley falls asleep every night on Ray’s shoulder or in his lap,” says Meagan. “He’s amazing with her. He’s the most loving person I know.”
Raymond and Meagan are trying to start a family. Meagan’s grammar school ambition was to be a mom. Raymond is one of five children ranging from 24 to 47. He helped raise his youngest sister.
They worked with a fertility specialist for a few years and went through several attempts of in vitro fertilization and then tried to find an egg donor.
“When none of that worked, we realized that we needed a new path. So this past November we decided adoption was the route we would take. Meagan’s father was adopted. This is a huge financial commitment, and we’re living close to poverty to be able to save the over $30,000 we need to adopt a child.
“We hope that we’ll soon have a child to give him or her a loving and warm home to grow up in. A child in our lives would be a true blessing to us and to the child that will be in our family.”
Have you gone through IVF or adoption? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to firstname.lastname@example.org.