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The Unexpected Expecting
The Unexpected Expecting

"After losing 3 kids to miscarriage and infertility, my wife and I started the process of an adoption. Days after we sent all the final paperwork off to China, we found out my wife was expecting. Twins. I now have three 11 year-olds that are 7 weeks apart in age."

What She Learned When Her Lifestyle Drastically Changed

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What She Learned When Her Lifestyle Drastically Changed

"I grew up very rich as my dad was a real estate mogul in the European country I grew up in. There were seriously no worries in the world for our family; life was perfect. Then, one day, a bunch of government officials, heavily armed, raid our home, take all the contents of my dad's office, take him away, and now he's in jail for fraud and money laundering.

Yes, the money isn't there anymore, my family was torn apart and because I missed being a spoiled brat I partied myself into oblivion for two years. Now I just function like anyone else: I work full time at a restaurant, I have an internship and take college classes. It's just interesting making the mental shift from knowing your life will be worry-free and extraordinary because of nothing I had accomplished to not knowing what my future will look like and working hard to earn a spot in this world."

Life Is Sure Full Of Ups And Downs

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Life Is Sure Full Of Ups And Downs

"My sister was chronically ill for her teen years and never got out much. She spent a lot of time in bed and in hospitals zoned-out on pills. She was super depressed and sometimes suicidal. She finally started getting better; dating a nice, young man, hanging out with friends, and doing normal teen stuff. She started driving again as she's getting off of the pain meds. Everyone is relieved that she's finally having a normal life and we stop worrying about her having suicidal thoughts. She starts singing again and posting videos, getting all excited when she gets her first thousand views. She even starts an anti-bullying campaign that is popular locally. The first twist was that three weeks before her 18th birthday, she mistakes a two-way stop for a four-way stop, gets t-boned by a truck pulling a camper, and was killed on impact. Her boyfriend is in the car with her. Her head slammed into his on impact and shattered his face. He's lucky to be alive. My mom sort of adopts him and they process the grief together. She lost a daughter but gained a son in a way.

One year later, he invites her and my brother to watch him perform a stunt in her honor that he's done before successfully and safely. Everything seems fine. There are lots of people watching, mom and brother cheering him on. The second twist is that the stunt goes wrong and he dies in front of my mother and brother. The next summer, everyone is still reeling and trying to heal. The fourth twist was that a scholarship fund was started in her name and her anti-bullying group had solidified into an organization with thousands of members as they were inspired by the two of them and their compassion for struggling young people. Videos of her singing are now at over 50,000 views each and climbing. A musician I knew in high school who didn't know her story asks me if she'd like to collaborate with him on his next album. She would have loved that."

What Are The Odds?
What Are The Odds?

"Back in 2011, my significant other and I were backpacking in Laos and we ended up in that very isolated village called Muang Noi. To get there, you need to take a 3-hour bus from Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw, then a 1-hour ride upriver on a fisherman's boat. There are no roads to reach the village and once you're there, there's no internet and mobile network. The electricity is also only on a couple of hours in the evenings. It's a beautiful area though. It's mountainous with caves to visit, a riverside beach, etc. Although it's not completely off the map, it's a place were few travelers go and it happened to be off-season when we went, so there were no more than 10-15 visitors in the whole village at the time we were there.

In the evening, everyone gathers in the only bar/hostel of the village on an elevated wooden terrace by the river. The night falls and little-by-little, the groups merge and everyone ends up sitting on big pillows, talking about life and travels like they're old buddies. To this day, this is one of my favorite backpacking memories and what came soon after made it even more memorable.

There's this Australian woman, Ronnie, who took the same boat as us to get there. She's a bit odd, something's off about her. She tells people how she was diagnosed with a terminal illness but made a miraculous recovery and now she's traveling everywhere in Asia with the funds that her friends had collected for what was supposed to be her last trip on her bucket list. Then there is this other Australian guy, Ken, who arrived one day after us. He is quite the traveler and talker, too. At one point, someone asks Ken if he is married. He starts joking about it, but then he proceeds to tell the story of how one day, about 20 years ago, his wife who was from New Zealand just vanished. She left him without warning. No note or anything. They got in touch later to arrange the divorce, but Ken said he never saw her again and he never heard anything from her after the divorce. He told the story with humor, but you could tell that this had been a devastating experience for him.

At that point, Ronnie, with a very calm voice, inquires: 'Was her name Karen?'

I look at Ken and I see his face decompose, going from brash and confident to livid. The place falls silent.

'Yes...' he replies. 'How do you know her name? Do you know her?'

Ronnie proceeds to explain how when she heard his story, she realized she knew the exact same story but from the wife's perspective. She had met that Karen at one point in her life. She described her physically to Ken and it was an exact match. At this point, we were all looking at each other with big eyes; speechless and stupefied by the scene we were witnessing.

So then comes the big 'what is going on' moment. Ken asks if she knows what Karen has been up to since they met. With a dead serious tone and face, Ronnie replies, 'She's dead.' I swear to God, I got the weirdest feeling ever, as if I was feeling danger. No one was speaking but everyone was staring. Ken was absolutely stunned. At that point, I was half expecting to see an alien ship come out of the sky or Ronnie turn into a demon and eat us all alive. She gave some more details about Karen's passing; it was a car accident. Soon after the bar was closing and the owner asked everyone to leave, so we called it a night and all went to our rooms, dumbfounded. What are the odds of something like that happening?"

"Two Different Roads That Converged Into One"

"When I was 19, I attended the wedding of a friend I had feelings for. I clearly remember thinking, 'What a shame. He could do so much better.' 12 years later, he's my husband now. He was a friend of the guy I was dating just after high school. When we met, he had already been dating his now ex-wife for a few years. They married around a year after I met them and I was still dating his friend so we attended the wedding. I was included in some of the posed friend photos with the newlyweds, so 7 years later when they divorced, he emailed me after rediscovering those photos. His ex-wife had been emotionally cheating on him for years with the best man and after the second baby didn't fix her marriage, she pulled the trigger and made her affair physical. Their divorce was finalized in less than a year.

We had dinner together, admitted we had always been interested in each other, fooled around that night and now he's my husband. It was fun because we were crushing on each other like middle schoolers. It was awkward because we did not know each other in a physically intimate capacity whatsoever, so there was a strong 'am I doing this ok?' vibe. We have talked about what we thought about each other then. I liked him because he treated me like a person, not just some girl dating his friend. I was living in the communal party house at the time so we saw each other often. He remembers me smiling at him in the kitchen one day. Since he was in a pretty committed relationship, I never thought anything would come of it. When I broke up with his friend, we lost touch for almost 6 years. Love is definitely not static. We just took two different roads that eventually converged into one."

Boom, Baby!

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Boom, Baby!

"One day my girlfriend was having severe abdominal pain. It was so bad that she asked me to call an ambulance. We get to the hospital and they run some tests. The doctor comes out and says, 'Okay, we're ready to wheel her into the delivery room.' I asked, 'Hang on, what's this about a delivery room?' The doctor replies, 'Your girlfriend is 10cm dilated and ready to have the baby.' I ask what he was talking about. 'Oh boy, have I got some news for you', the doctor says. 55 minutes later, I was a father."

He Beat What They Thought Would Be The Impossible

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He Beat What They Thought Would Be The Impossible

"When I was a toddler, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. The first doctor my parents saw told him he was going to die by saying, 'You're probably not going to make it to Thanksgiving.' My parents get a second opinion and find out that they can remove my dad's lung and possibly defeat the cancer. He has the surgery and beats the cancer. The first doctor sends him a bill. My dad writes, 'I died' on it, sends it back to him, and never hears from him again. My parents tried to contact the second doctor to thank him and he has moved away. They never heard from him again either.

16 years later, I have recently graduated high school. My dad has a routine colonoscopy. It turns out that he has colon cancer. He undergoes surgery to have part of his colon removed and undergoes a few months of chemo. He beats cancer a second time.

Three or four years after that, he goes to a doctor's appointment and the doctor notices a small strange patch on his skin. He identifies it as skin cancer but thankfully it is not melanoma and can be removed. My dad beats cancer a THIRD time. A year ago, my dad has a cat scan and has a tumor on his liver. Only a transplant would be a complete fix. My dad is now getting ready to retire and move to Florida with my mom to be near my sister. He gets a chemo treatment done where they inject it directly into the tumor. This should delay any progress of the tumor for a year or two so they can make the move to Florida and get on the transplant list. He gets to Florida and has some tests done. The cancer is gone. It was a total surprise and we just found out two weeks ago. My dad has beaten cancer for the fourth time. I've gotten to spend a lifetime with my father who I might have no memory of if they didn't get a second opinion all those years ago. and am very thankful."

Good Thing They Didn't Get Pregnant

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Good Thing They Didn't Get Pregnant

"I met this amazing girl at a bar though a common friend. We dated for 5 years and got married. It was pretty normal boy meets girl type of thing. Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. I met her family and she met mine. Everyone got along just fine. I have always known that my dad is not my biological father. My mother was artificially inseminated due to fertility issues. So about three years into our marriage, we start talking about having kids and I decided to test my DNA through '23 and Me' to see what kind of genetic traits I was carrying and just for fun, my wife did it with me.

When the results came in, we were matched as siblings. We both got a good laugh out of it and agreed that obviously, 23 and me just messed up. So we had our DNA tested by a local lab. Same results. My wife and I are half-siblings. Well as you can imagine, we were less than amused. As it turns out, we have the same biological father.

In our smaller city, there is really only one sperm bank and our guess is that both of our mothers were inseminated by the same donor. My wife was never told she was the product of insemination and we didn't ask her mom if that was the case.

So after a few days of deeply processing the news we had been given, we finally sat down to talk about it. We decided the damage had already been done. We still loved each other, and that there was no point in getting a divorce, or even letting our families know the truth (which is why we never confronted her mother). We are the only two that know and we plan on keeping it that way. So yes, I am currently intimate with my half-sister. We are still married. We decided that we shouldn't have children and are currently looking into adoption."

DNA Doesn't Lie

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DNA Doesn't Lie

"I had a best friend growing up who was also my neighbor. My siblings always said that I looked like him and that it would be funny if we did a DNA test. Years go by and we are both in our late 20's and my neighbor on a whim does the Ancestory.com DNA swab. Turns out, he matches with my family. He's my half-brother. My dad obviously had to explain a lot that day.

We both grew up together since we were babies. He was six months younger than me and we had a lot in common. Fast forward to our late twenties, his 'father' had passed away from cancer and he wanted to find out some information about his DNA and medical risks. He went through Ancestory.com and swabbed his cheek. Apparently, when you do this, Ancenstory.com automatically links your DNA with common relatives on the site. His linked to my cousin who had also had her cheek swabbed. My cousin called my sister and was asking why this random person all of a sudden says that we are related.

We called my father and asked him what was going on. He admits that 30 years ago, he had an affair with my friend's mom and he had no idea that this friend was actually his son. The mom regretted it happening and told her husband who said, 'No matter what, if you get pregnant, the child will be raised as my own.' It is cool having a new brother that I have known my entire life already so there are no awkward conversations when we talk. It has gotten to the point where we can laugh about it but he certainly had to go through a tough time thinking that his 'father' wasn't actually his birth father, especially finding out right after he passed. I told my mom about it after and it was nice seeing her be relieved over twenty years after the divorce that she wasn't crazy to not trust my dad and she was right all along."

Cheers To The Chef

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Cheers To The Chef

"I married a girl who implied she would kill herself if she was without me. I hopped on a cavalcade of abuse and infidelity for 10 years, punctuated with her stints in an institution. I was so stressed out by her that I would literally get heart palpitations before she came home from any of these stays. Luckily, I was bailed out when she fell in love with her best friend and took off. I filed for divorce which took another year because my spiteful ex wanted to punish me by delaying her signature. Borderline Personality Disorder is not fun. There is a happy ending, however.

The divorce finally went through and I decided to take a little in-town vacation. I got a nice hotel room and treated myself to an elaborate dinner. When I had finished my fantastic meal, I gushed to the waiter that it was the best I'd ever eaten. She told me that the chef was available if I wanted to meet her. Being the Irish gabber that I am, I gladly accepted. A few minutes later, the chef came to my table and we had what could only be described as a love at first sight moment. I'm not even sure what we said to each other, if anything, at first. I asked if she was free after her shift and we have been together ever since."

His Path Was Never An Easy One

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His Path Was Never An Easy One

"At 9-years-old, I was diagnosed with ADD and ADHD. My mom kept me off medication because she didn't believe in them. At age 10, I was diagnosed with a super rare heart condition. Three surgeries later, I still get winded easily. At age 12, my mother went insane and got heavily involved in illegal substances. I was then diagnosed with schizophrenia and psychosis. This did a lot of damage. At age 15, the doctor diagnosed me with bi-polar disease, which meant lots of medication and therapy. When I was 17, I had to drop out of school to take care of my mom after she gets hit by a car crossing the street and reverts to a childlike state. She can't tell reality from her hallucinations.

I eventually start dating. At age 22, my girlfriend becomes pregnant, which was not planned. Our relationship is rocky at best. I try to make the most of it. At 23, my girlfriend leaves me because my depression is just spiraling. We keep trying to make it work though no longer living together. At 24, my mother passes away, which was surprising but not unexpected. I hadn't spoken to her in 8 months. At 25, my girlfriend is pregnant for the second time. She can't handle it herself so she moves across state to be with her family. I follow despite being suicidal myself and leave my support network behind. At 28, the depression becomes too much and I attempt to commit suicide. I survive and try to get back into therapy. At this point, I'm on so many medications I can barely function.

I try to go to school but drop out. At 29, I break up with girlfriend of 12 years. I move across state to be closer to my family. I had no job and was homeless. Luckily, I land a job, get a place and start putting my life back together. I turned 30 on Sunday and while I am doing better than I have in my entire adult life, the only thought that was going through my head as my friends and loved ones were singing me happy birthday was, 'I did not think I would still be alive at this point.' Here's hoping I make it to 31 without any more plot twists."

What Started As Her Worst Year Ever Turned Into The Best Year Ever

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What Started As Her Worst Year Ever Turned Into The Best Year Ever

"In 2014, I was in an open relationship and went to a Halloween party. I met this dude who I thought was really cute and we talked all night. He was funny, smart and we had very similar interests. I flirted with him a lot but in the end, nothing happened. I asked about him to the friend who invited me to the party four weeks after and found out he had a girlfriend, but the relationship ended shortly after the party and they've been breaking up and getting back together for a while now so it wasn't at its best.

Nothing comes of it and I move to Canada for a year. Fast forward, I ended a previous relationship, got into a new one and ended that one, too. Two years later, I come back to my home country and it's one of the worst years ever. I have several months of a long depressive crisis and no friends because they all sided with my ex from a few years back. My few good friends were in exchange programs and I had to move back with my parents.

At end of the year, there's a goodbye party for the last friend I've got left who actually hung out with me and who do I see there? The guy from the Halloween party. This time, he's single and so am I. We were making out within the first 3 hours of the weekend long trip where the party took place and then we got married in December. I never thought I'd see him again but turns out he's the love of my life. The worst year of my life turns out to be the best because I met my soulmate."

All The Pieces Fell Into Place

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All The Pieces Fell Into Place

"I was sitting in the yard with my 18 month-old daughter watching her play in the kiddie pool. I heard the phone ring, ran inside to answer it, and it was a call from our adoption agency. They told me that a baby boy had just been born. His biological mom didn't make an adoption plan but knew she couldn't take care of him. He was in the NICU and had a heart defect that would require surgery. They asked if we would like to adopt. We didn't know much. We had no information on prenatal care and didn't know how serious his heart condition was other than that he would need at least one surgery to correct it. For some reason, we still said yes. He is now a totally healthy 12-year-old boy. He is a bright kid and is a 3-sport athlete. He fits into our family perfectly and I couldn't imagine life without him, but I did not expect that summer day to change our lives forever."

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger

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What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger

"I was bullied in middle school and by high school, it took me the whole 4 years to come out of my shell enough to talk to people I wasn't already friends with. My family moved out of state right after graduation and my anxiety was so bad that I went outside maybe ten times in the entire year I lived there. I had little to no life skills because my parents either didn't know how to teach them or they were too lazy.

I ended up moving half-way across the country to live with a guy I only knew online, got a job in retail, and got promoted to customer service manager. I regularly deal with confrontation, whether it's an angry customer or having to coach an under-performing employee. I'm the first one to seek out help and ask questions from strangers. I also organized a community food drive, and I'm getting into organizing events. Sometimes I look at my life and think, 'How the heck did I get here from where I was?'"

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