Sometimes being in the right place at the right time makes all the difference in the world.

Timing played a very important role in the events that unfolded on March 14. During a recent gynecological visit, my sister Jill was told she had polyps in her uterus. An appointment was made for late April (school’s spring break), because if she needed surgery, she would have the week to recover. Nervously, Jill moved this appointment forward four weeks. If it was to be bad news, she wanted to know immediately. This change in plans placed Jill and her husband, Joe, in the right place at the right time. This set the stage for a miracle.

Jill had been in the care of the same doctor for over 20 years. At the age of 14, she was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer. For four years, she fought the battle of her life. Seven surgeries, one and one half years of experimental chemotherapy, and a 36-week course of radiation later, she had her life back, but the long-term effects of this regimen had never been fully documented.

Now, at the age of 38, Jill’s thyroid had been removed due to tumors developing from radiation treatments and two suspicious breast lumps had been biopsied for the same reason. There were psychological scars as well. When other girls were falling in love for the first time, she was in a hospital bed receiving chemotherapy or regaining her strength between grueling treatments. High school did not exist. She was tutored for the majority of her classes. Jill missed the socialization that occurs during the ages 15 through 17, when girls join sports like cheerleading and softball.

To this day, I think she feels guilty if she is not seriously plodding along with some project or immersed in her teaching. She is the only person I know who can start a diet on Thanksgiving Day. Thankfully, she is alive. Sadly, the radiation and chemotherapy that saved her life destroyed her own eggs and put her into premature menopause. Although she still has one ovary, giving birth to her own child is impossible. Twenty-four years later and newly married to Joe, Jill entered the hospital as she had at age fourteen, and her life was to change again forever. In the recovery room, Jill’s fears were quieted by the news that the polyps were benign.

Her mood changed from relief to surprise when the gynecologist next spoke to her. She told Jill a baby had been born the previous night to a young girl who wanted to place the child  for adoption. The mother of the girl had asked the doctor to recommend prospective parents because she trusted her opinion impeccably. Jill and Joe came to mind. If they were interested, the birthmother and her parents were willing to interview them immediately. The couple ran to the nursery. There, bundled in a blanket, was a beautiful, 7 pound 5 ounce girl. Her dark hair peeked out of the nursery cap and framed her little pink face. Jill called friends and family with the unbelievable news. Jill and Joe felt this baby was their destiny, was meant to be with their family. Joe was full of emotions. The couple needed to make an important decision and make it quickly. The birthmother was due to leave the hospital in two days, and the baby needed to be situated by her departure.

Although adoption had always been an option for the couple, the initial plan was to wait at least one year. But this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was not to be passed up. Within two days, a lawyer was retained, the proper paperwork notarized, and Rachel, the baby girl, was a step closer to a new life with Joe and Jill. The birthmother had 45 days to change her mind from the time of possession in New York State. However, this was an interstate adoption, which proved to be a little more complicated.

We feel from the way the adoption started, Rachel is and always will be a part of the family. Why am I, as Jill’s sister, relaying this story? I, too, have adopted a child, and since my paperwork is valid for three years, I was able to take custody of Rachel on March 18. Otherwise, she was to be placed in foster care until Jill and Joe’s home study was completed. It was this being in the right place at the right time that brought about this wonderful miracle.

We would like to thank Rachel’s birthmother; she wanted her daughter to have a better, happier life.  We believe she will.