Let's see, first of all what has changed…
1. The relationship with the "New Guy"
During that same time the house I was living in became a money pit that I had to get out of, so I officially moved into New Guy's house in October. It was beneficial for both of us because he travels for his job with the railroad and is gone for 8-10 days then returns home for 7 days and the cycle repeats. Having me in his house made sure that someone was always around while he was gone, and it allowed the boys and I the freedom to live as our little family of 3, like we have been for the past 5 years. The move was a little scary for me, because as we all know, that didn't end so well for me the last time I thought I was moving in with a man who was going to marry me. I actually remember a phone call to New Guy after I moved my last box into his house (he was out of town, of course), and I cried because I was so scared that I had just made a tragic mistake. He was very confused, but in his usual style he handled my freak out very well.
So everything seemed like it was settling in until I had a big change on my career front. Just one month after I officially moved into New Guy's house, I was offered a job in full time ministry, as the Director of Children's Ministry for my church (which new guy and I attended together - also a nice change to prior relationship). I wasn't expecting the opportunity, but just suffice it to say, things fell together and I realized that this was an opportunity that God intended me to accept and He made it really hard NOT to accept it.
New Guy was very supportive of the career change. His support was essential because the pay is not enough to support myself and two boys. I was going to have to rely on New Guy's benevolence and willingness to pay all of the bills. Talk about a serious commitment from a guy who earlier in the year (during our friend days) had been talking to me about how he never thought he would want to be married again.
So when the ministry job presented itself, I told New Guy that I wasn't comfortable living together without being married because of the example it sets. This wasn't a new conversation because we had always believed that it was not the preferred situation to be living together before marriage. Unfortunately the demise of my house created a situation where I had to decide quickly if I was going to commit to another one year lease somewhere or if I would just move into New Guy's house. With all of the talk of an impending marriage and the intention of a lifetime together we decided it just made sense to have me stay at New Guy's house despite the fact that we both knew it was not the most preferable choice.
However, when I realized that I would soon become a leader in our church we both knew that we needed to rectify the living arrangements. With a start date of January 1st, we had to make some quick decisions about what we wanted to do. I explained to New Guy that if we didn't get married I was going to temporarily move out until we did. Again, I left it up to New Guy to decide what he wanted to do.
I would like to say that he said "Let's get married right away!", but instead he freaked out a little himself. Suddenly marriage was for real, and the timeline was very immediate. It gave him understandable pause. Heck, it made me really nervous too.
So the first of January came and went and I told New Guy that after he returned from his 8 days work trip, which he was leaving for on January 7th, I would start staying at my best friend's house during the weeks he was back at home. While he was gone on his work trips I would stay at his house.
Being honest, I will admit that my feelings were hurt and I was having flashbacks of how badly I wanted BF and I to get married and the rejection I felt when he would tell me he wasn't ready for that step, even after being together for 4 years.
But low and behold, New Guy had something up his sleeve and he planned a surprise wedding for us on the date that I had mentioned I wanted to get married on when we were talking about potential dates when marriage was just a concept.
So on January 4th I took my Little Princess and two of our kiddos and headed to Walmart for groceries. While I was there, New Guy sent me a text asking me to join him and my youngest son for dinner at a local restaurant. I let him know I was busy and it would be best if he just brought dinner home for me. He pestered me until I gave in and I told him I would join him and would swing by the restaurant on my way home from the store. He told me that he would be next door at our new church construction site so the kids and I should just meet him there, then we could walk to the restaurant together after we saw how the construction was coming along.
Obviously I was clueless when I arrived at the church construction site. But the story is best told by the following pictures.
|Our new family. Me and the boys and husband and the girls.|
|My mom and dad both showed up for the wedding, also a big surprise.|
As you can see, I was delighted. Despite the fact that I was not dressed for the occasion, it was perfect. My family was there (3 of my 4 sisters, their families and a couple close girl friends) and I even got my catchy anniversary date 1-4-14. An added bonus was that we were the first wedding in the new church building, as unconventional as it was.
So from this point forward, New Guy will now be HUSBAND on my blog. A term that has taken some getting used to because I still talk to him and look at him like he is my best friend. This is something that also makes me very happy. I've never been married to someone who I considered one of my closest friends.
Sadly my Husband has been gone for almost the entire month that we have been married, but the beauty of our relationship is that although he is not physically present all of the time, I have never, ever been with someone who was so emotionally available to me all the time. Never do I question if he treasures me, because he tells me all the time. Basically, I feel like one of the luckiest girls ever.
I guess getting married qualifies as the biggest change. It certainly has been a positive change for me and my boys.
And yes ladies, he is strikingly handsome, amazingly affectionate and a happy, funny guy. Yes, he has a brother. Yes, his brother is single. No, his brother is nothing like him. Sorry.
2. My job
As I mentioned above, I started a new job the first of this year as the Director of Children's Ministry for a new church (5 years old) that I have been part of since it launched. I have always taught the kindergarten through 5th graders each week. But now I am responsible for all of the logistics that go into Children's Ministry for all three of our campuses. It is good work and it brings me true joy knowing that I now do work that actually matters.
Things were really bad where I was working before. My boss and I had come to an impasse, and when I told them I would be leaving to pursue other opportunities, the HR director told me I was handling my exit with more class than I was ever treated with while working there. I still go in every week to help my replacement with all of the tasks I was doing as the Director of Marketing, which has been a real help to her. I am glad I can leave with dignity, despite how things were going. I know it is a comfort for me to still be connected with all of my friends who I miss dearly since I no longer see them every day. We all know how friendships formed at work become important to who we are, at least it has been for me.
What has stayed the same…
1. My adoption relationship.
Brit's adoptive father continues to send a monthly update. He sends a couple of pictures and a short update about what Brit is up to. Lately there have been more pictures of Brit with her siblings (there are now 4 total toddlers in their home, Brit who will be 4 in March, the twins who will be 3 this summer and the baby who recently turned one).
There still is no meaningful interaction between all of us. When I email back after an update it is most often not acknowledged. But I still send updates about us anyway with the hope that some day they will show Brit that I tried to stay connected.
Brit's father did respond at Christmastime when I asked about a gift idea BF and I had for the kiddos. I appreciated that he did. I wondered if he would respond to a text because we never communicate like that. Although I think that BF sometimes texts Brit's dad during football games because they are both fans of the same NFL team. BF has mentioned that Brit's adoptive dad will occasionally text back, but since I am not there, I don't know how often that really happens.
I still send routine care packages to Brit and her siblings, usually one every couple of months. I make a concerted effort to include all of the kids because I never want packages I send to be hidden away because they cause conflict between Brit and her siblings. I want to make sure that I shower love on all of the kiddos in their home because those children are the only brothers and sister Brit knows right now, and I know that she loves them very much. She is very tenderhearted and I am sure she would be upset if she got presents and her siblings didn't. I am so glad she got my tender heart.
2. My relationship with BF
Since the breakup almost a year ago now, BF and I have learned how to navigate our relationship as exes. We interact very kindly to one another. I will sometimes text him about his son who is on the same HS swim team with my LanMan. Those two boys have stayed friends which makes both BF and I happy. I was worried about how our breakup would effect the boys and the bond they had created. It seems they are doing well.
Other than that, BF and I don't communicate much. Most of the time we send joint care packages to Brit and family, and we do a good job of coordinating what we will include and I will drop off items with BF. We also talk casually at swim meets, I can tell he is visually uncomfortable, but he is respectful and pleasant.
I wish I could fully reconcile in my head what what happened between BF and me. While consciously I don't dwell on it, I still have occasional dreams where I ask him why I wasn't important enough to him that he would just walk away without so much as a goodbye. I continue to work through it in counseling because it still makes me feel like I was not good enough. Mostly I wish we could have had at least a final conversation so I could have had the closure that I think would have helped.
However, I will always be connected to BF because he is the other half of our daughter and since both of us intend to maintain a relationship with her that means our paths will cross for a lifetime.
I am so thankful that Husband knew me before I met BF and that he lived through all the ups and downs all the way to the end of my relationship with BF. Husband was there during the crisis pregnancy, the adoption fall out and as I wept and grieved the relationship that I saw never going anywhere between me and BF. So even today if I talk about BF, Husband knows how complicated it has been for me to disconnect myself.
I do know that my relationship with BF taught me so much - the hard way of course - and because of what fell apart it has allowed me to fully appreciate what I have now. I wish the same for BF. I hope that someday he will meet someone who will make him never want to let her go.
I am grateful that BF and I can continue to be civil and I hope that it will make this future relationship that we plan to have with our daughter be easier for Brit. As much as we caused complicated relationships by placing Brit in another family, I hope that we will continue to do everything in our power to keep her relationship with us as uncomplicated as possible.
So there you have it, lots of change on the personal front, but no new news on the adoption front.
I have several adoption related blog posts that I plan to write over the next few weeks, so I hope I find time to sit down and use this place to help me process some of the intellectual struggles I am having as my daughter is getting older and her ability to understand adoption will develop.
Thank you for all of the private messages asking if I am well and wondering if our adoption finally did close. Thankfully we have not come to that point, and I hope it is never the case.