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She can't marry the love of her life. The reason? She'd lose her health insurance.

For one woman, getting married is a life or death choice.

She can't marry the love of her life. The reason? She'd lose her health insurance.

This story was originally published on The Mighty.

Imagine having to choose between your life and marrying your significant other.

I have two rare chronic illnesses, Blau syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Both of these illnesses require extensive testing, blood work, appointments, and inpatient infusions on a regular basis.


If I were to marry, I not only lose my disability benefits, but I also lose my health insurance. If I were to lose my health insurance, my treatments that not only provide me with quality of life but literally keep me alive would be unaffordable.

Since I was diagnosed, I knew marriage was out of the question — not just because it would be a life or death choice, but because I believed nobody would ever want to have a relationship with me due to my significant health issues.

It’s one thing if your partner develops a major illness after you have connected, but quite another when you know exactly what the rest of your life together looks like. As much as we’d like to assume our partner could handle a major change in health, that isn’t always the case. The partners who can are wonderful people, just like my significant other.

When my health situation became bleak and I had exhausted my local options, I moved across the country to Minnesota to live near the major medical center that had been treating me for years. I settled into my new life, 2,000 miles away from my entire support system, including my family and friends. Thankfully, the treatments I moved for improved my health, and I had the energy and desire to make new friends.

A few years later, I met a man for dinner at a restaurant. Little did I know that introduction would drastically change my life forever.

While I never intended to have a romantic relationship with someone, as I grew to know him, it was clear he was able to look beyond my disabilities and just see me.

From the very beginning, I was open and honest, not only about my illness but about my inability to marry. If that was important to him, I always said, then he was with the wrong person.

For most who are unable to work due to disability, financial and medical assistance is immediately terminated upon marriage. Most government-based assistance programs are based on income, so if your spouse is employed, their income counts toward your limit and you become ineligible. Because I was disabled as a child, I am able to stay on my father’s private health insurance — as long as I don’t get married.

Through our discussions, we both agreed the real point of marriage is the commitment, not the legal aspect.

We always agreed that if we got to that point, we’d want to have a non-legal commitment ceremony where we publicly pledged our love to one another.

We aren’t having a ceremony because it seems like the next logical step. Our ceremony won't mean shopping for a beautiful dress, picking the perfect “first dance song,” or selecting a place-setting pattern. We aren’t having a ceremony so I can call him my husband. We are simply stripping down the ceremony to what we feel is the most important part of a marriage: the commitment between two people.

We won’t pretend we are married when we are not. We won’t have the same name, bank accounts, or any legal ties to one another. But we will continue to live as a committed couple for the rest of our lives. We simply choose to have our ceremony because our love and commitment is something we want to publicly share. To us, this makes the event that much more meaningful, personal, and special.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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