Faith, Family, Medicine: LUCOM graduate shares adoption story

June 12, 2019

Studying to be a physician is difficult enough, not to mention the challenging endeavor of parenting. For Marvin Cuevas, a member of the Class of 2019 at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM), those major life events intersected in an unexpected way.

Cuevas and his wife, Deborah, had been fostering a 2-year-old boy, Rhys, in Arkansas when Cuevas was accepted to Liberty. Fostering was very important to the couple, so Cuevas came to Lynchburg in Fall 2014 to start medical school while his wife continued to care for the child in Arkansas.

During Christmas Break his first year, Cuevas learned that Rhys was ready to be adopted, along with his younger twin siblings, Khye and Laikyn, who were living about two hours away.

“Adoption has always been an important part of my life; I was adopted at the age of 13 by my aunt and uncle,” Cuevas said. “My wife and I always knew that we wanted to adopt, specifically through the foster care system.”

Cuevas knew he had to leave medical school.

“My responsibility to my family had to be the priority,” he said, receiving full support from LUCOM’s administration. “They graciously granted me the leave of absence. For me, this just confirmed that LUCOM was the place where I wanted to train to be a physician. The character of the faculty and staff is what makes LUCOM such an amazing place to learn and grow.”

The Cuevases jumped into raising three children under the age of 3.

“It was one of the most challenging but rewarding seasons of our lives,” he said.

He recalls what Founding Dean Dr. Ronnie Martin told the Class of 2019 when they first started. “He told us that to succeed in medicine you have to have your priorities straight. For him, and me, this meant to put my faith first, my family second, and medicine third. I cannot tell you how true I have found this to be over the past four years both at school and in the hospital.”

Cuevas returned to LUCOM in Fall 2015. Then, in September 2017, the couple celebrated the birth of their youngest daughter, Magnolia, just as Cuevas was starting his third year.

“For me, it’s all about my perspective, knowing that my identity is not found solely in medicine,” Cuevas said. “Keeping the perspective that God is with me through every challenge really allowed me to rest in the knowledge that I don’t control every aspect of my life. It allowed me to focus on the things that I could do and trust that God is capable of handling those things that are too big for me.”

Now, as a 2019 graduate and a father of four, Cuevas and his family are headed to Somerset, Ky., where he will work at Lake Cumberland Regional Medical Center for his internal medicine residency.

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