One Family

Our family dynamics are fairly complicated.  Marie is from Mr. Sexy's previous marriage.  My boyfriend and I got pregnant at 19 with Michael and I gave birth just after turning 20.  Denai is mine and Mr. Sexy's.  Winnie, the newest member of our family, was in need of a loving family home so she was given to us.  We have plans to continue growing our family.  We would like to have one or two more kids together and then adopt.  But who knows where our lives will lead...

Christmas, 2013

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Marie's Story

Mr. Sexy is the cliche that married for the wrong reasons at the ripe age of 19.  The red flags that only he missed could no longer be avoided a few months into that abusive relationship. A year went by and this couple became pregnant.  She wanted an abortion but he fought like hell for his daughter.

Marie's 12th birthday

And he won.

(I will now be referring to Mr. Sexy as B.)

This was a loveless marriage full of anger and selfishness that resulted in many arguments - two of which landed B in the hospital.  Neither wife nor husband knew how to love each other and neither were able to effectively reach out for help.  In a last ditch effort to provide for his family, B joined the Navy.  It was during this time that he was able to step away from his volatile marital life and find some perspective.  Painfully and slowly he came to the conclusion that divorce was his best and only option.  

(From this point on I will refer to Marie's biological mother as V.) 

B entered into the Naval Officer Candidate Program at the University of Idaho in order to provide for Marie.  At this point V wanted zero contact with either of them.  So, Marie, who was five years old and had been diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth, went with her dad into an empty u-haul truck a few states away. (Although V was not interested in either relationship she refused to allow B to pack any of Marie's belongings.)  Father and daughter landed in a simple, non-furnished apartment where he worked full time, went to school full time, participated in the Officer-Candidate Program full time, home schooled his kindergartner and slept a handful of hours per week.

Mr. Sexy, Marie and Bernie
B pushed Marie to be at her best all the time.  She wore weights around her ankles to aid in her muscle development and when given a choice between elevator and stairs, they took stairs.  Given the choice between stairs and a hill, they took the hill. Another major achievement was that Marie stopped wetting her bed every night.  Theses two were each other's worlds.  

About 10 months later V decided she wanted to be a mother again so she abandoned her apartment and set off for B and Marie with no thoughts as to her living situation.  B felt he had an obligation to provide for V since she was still his wife so he invited V to stay with them.  It only took a few hours of V visiting for things to once again turn volatile.  In order to protect his child's innocence and to put a happy face on everything, B essentially moved into his jeep and visited his apartment in the mornings and evenings to care for Marie.  During this time Marie began wetting her bed again.  (She is 12 now and hasn't been able to overcome this obstacle since she was 5.) 
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This is a good point to pause and discuss V a little more.  She is delusional, a liar and a master manipulator (personal opinion of course).  She accumulated a massive amount of debt under their name because she did a lot of shopping but not enough paying.  Some bills - such as rent - simply went unpaid until she got herself evicted - multiple times.  These debts follow Mr. Sexy to this day.

Earlier I mentioned there was abuse in their marriage.  V, who had an active substance abuse problem, used her words as daggers every chance she got.  Every name under the sun was thrown toward her husband.  She knew which words, which phrases, which comments would really get underneath his skin.  However words could only take her so far.  She used things to hurt him.  She burned and destroyed precious gifts that held emotional significance to him right in front of his eyes.  If she saw that he valued something she managed to destroy it.  But even that wasn't enough.  She ultimately resorted to physical weapons.  A knife and her fists.  

Marie was one month old when B drove himself to the emergency room for the first time.

It was another fiery argument that most likely revolved around B's multiple jobs not providing enough income.  B found himself engulfed in flames of anger, wondering what he was going to do next now that he had V pinned against the wall, screaming insults in B's face.  Instead of acting on those overpowering emotions B put V in their bedroom and locked the door.  This gave them both time to calm down.  V's screams eventually subsided while B's pulse normalized and breathing became easier.  He opened their bedroom door and without a word V walked past him into the kitchen.  He followed, wondering what was to be said next.  V's back was turned so he didn't notice the steak knife she pulled out of their knife block.  As he slowly walked up behind her she whirled around and stabbed him in the chest.

B wears that scar today.  It barely missed his heart.

The police did get involved once the little family arrived at the hospital.  One of the reports describes Marie, at one month old, crying uncontrollably while V shook her trying to get Marie to calm down.  B did not want to press charges when asked.  As V's husband he felt his responsibility was to protect her instead of punish her.  However this kind of abuse was out of his hands and the state prepared to press charges of their own.  But the family moved out of state and out of reach so charges were dropped.  B was not running away.  Things just happened to work out that way.

Three years later B was once again sitting in the emergency room but this time he sat alone with a broken nose.  

B was not completely innocent in all of this chaos nor was he a complete pushover.  He had physical power over her which he at times desired to use. But this scared him to the core of who he was.  He had his own vices on dealing with the strife.  He drank.  He smoked.  He ran.  He punched through walls and shattered a car window.  He struggled to keep control of himself on numerous occasions.  The man he was designed to be fought constantly against the small man he actually was. 

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So after he had invited V back into their lives he found himself living in his jeep in an effort to avoid episodes mirroring the previous years.  His jeep wasn't the warmest home for the winter season.  He had hit bottom.  He was so far down I'm sure he couldn't see even the possibility of hope.

However many of us know that there is always hope.  There is always help.  He made a friend in class who offered him a place to stay while he got things figured out.  V eventually got an apartment of her own and they fought through a long divorce and custody case.

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Okay.  Need a break?  I totally understand.  Get a fresh cup off coffee or iced tea.  But make sure you come back to finish the story. 

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*From this point on I will be referring to B as Mr. Sexy.

I met Marie for the first time when she was 7.  I can remember that meeting so clearly.  It's a sweet little story that I will share in the blog entries to come.

I met Marie for the first time when she was 7.  I became an integral part of her life about a year later when Mr. Sexy and I began dating.  During our dating and engagement period I witnessed a plethora of heartbreak.  When Mr. Sexy picked up Marie from V's house, V would hide behind her door - if she showed herself at all.  Sometimes she peeked at us through the blinds - we don't know why she did this.

V often dressed Marie in ripped clothing that was two sizes too small for her and not weather appropriate (you know, flip flops and a summer dress in 50 degree weather).  When V was scheduled to pick up Marie we often had back up plans because half the time V didn't show up or was hours late.  In fact V was supposed to pick up Marie on October 31st one year and never showed.  Not even a phone call.  So we scrambled to find any costume that would fit Marie.  Ultimately we were all happy to be together as it was our first Halloween as a family.

Our first Halloween together, 2010

There was another incident when V pulled Marie out of school unexpectedly and because of some comments V had been making, Mr. Sexy was worried that she was taking Marie out of the state and, in essence, kidnapping Marie.  Cops were called and as far as anyone could tell Mr. Sexy's suspicions were shared although nothing was official.  Doesn't everyone visit family members out of state with their car full of moving boxes? 

In January, 2011, Mr. Sexy and V finished another ten month custody battle in court.  Mr. Sexy wanted a more stable environment for Marie but V had no intentions of settling quietly.  So, in the middle of a very long day at trial it became clear that the judge was well on his way to ordering judgement in favor of Mr. Sexy.  V finally settled getting a better deal than if the judge had ruled.

  About three weeks later V called to let us know she was headed out of state for two weeks to see her very sick father.  That was the last conversation Mr. Sexy and V had.  V called about a week later and left a voicemail saying she was going to call again so Marie could, essentially, say goodbye to her grandfather.  A grandfather Marie didn't know she had.  That second phone call never came.  Two weeks went by without a word.  Two months went by. Quite simply, V disappeared.  

This left Mr. Sexy, a full-time college student, as a single dad with full parenting responsibilites once again.  In turn, this left me to become Marie's live-in parent.  I felt ready to become her step-mother but I didn't have any huge aspirations to become her mother - at least not so quickly and suddenly.
Spring, 2011
I knew that V was a bad mom and Mr. Sexy and I strongly suspected abuse - physical and emotional.  So I vowed to learn how to connect to Marie as best I could.  I vowed to be the best step-mom a girl could ask for.  It was a doable goal for me. 

However things had to change when V disappeared.  I didn't know what to do.  All of a sudden I was a full-time parent to a nine-year old girl who had a disability I understood very little about.  I had a confidant who was able to guide me through a little bit of this process.  She helped me come to the conclusion that V left and may very well never come back.  If I wanted to be Marie's mother, I could be.  All I had to do was ask.  So I did.  I asked Marie if she wanted me to be her mommy.  Over and over again I asked her and talked with her about it.  Finally I accepted my new role and Marie began calling me Mommy.  But much resentment had begun to grow.  I can tell you exactly when the seeds were planted and which events watered them into the monsters they would eventually become.  That story is for a different time, however.  

July 23, 2011
Mr. Sexy and I were married in the midst of my many insecurities about me being a good mommy to Marie.  V called and left us a voicemail in September, 2011, two months after the wedding.  Then silence.  We wondered if something terrible had happened to her.  We did some checking and found that her landlord was auctioning off everything in her apartment because V quit paying rent and left with no notice and no way to be contacted.  It was all very strange.  We counted it as a blessing because of the hell she raised in our lives constantly. 

After about a year V began calling sporadically.  She asked to speak to Marie as if it was something that happened often.  At that point, however, Marie seemed to have lost all memory of V.  She went from having two mommies; one that went away and one that she lived with; to having one mommy.  Me.  This process was all Marie.  We did not prod.  We did not push.  We let Marie come to her own emotional conclusions.  

Then about a year ago V began calling more regularly leaving voicemails much like her previous sporadic calls.  She wanted to speak with Marie as if it happened all the time.  We refused to put Marie in that position until V could prove - through the court system - that she was not going to be a flight risk.  This stance caused V to once again raise hell in our lives.  She called our local police department asking them to check on Marie to see if she was okay.  After a while that wasn't good enough.  She called the police demanding that they make Mr. Sexy and I allow a phone conversation to happen with Marie.  Mr. Sexy and I were always compliant and the police quickly understood the chaos of the situation.  At one point V was calling the police station every night with demands and was ordered to stop harassing the police department.  

Labor Day, 2013, V showed up at our doorstep unannounced.  The fight came to our doorstop that day and we could no longer hide from it.

It has been about ten months now and we are still fighting.

Here is our current and most recent situation: V has said she is not able to have Marie for any overnight visitations.  A few weeks later she demanded full custody in a letter sent to both attorneys and the judge.  Does that sound absurd?  Everyone else thinks so too - including her own attorney.  V finally agreed to a reintegration program through a counseling service.  This is the best situation for Marie to be in.  Marie has no idea that V is actually her biological mother - even after weeks of visitations.  Visitations happend for about two months until the counseling service stopped them due to V's behavior outside of the visits.  Mr. Sexy and I have no details except that nothing negative happened during her visits with Marie.  However the issues the counselors faced with V were so severe that they refuse to continue visitations until V goes through therapy and a psych evaluation.

Sound harsh?  Well, it's a blessing.  This outcome is one we have been praying for.  Ideally this process will force V to face her demons and get the help she needs.  Until that happens she will never have a normal relationship with anybody and her daughter will never be able to recognize V as her mother.  

Mr. Sexy and I will admit that we have made many, many mistakes.  We should have been filing paperwork with the courts at the first signs of V's disappearance.  Perhaps we should have taken action when she began calling sporadically.

Or maybe we did everything just right.  There are no perfect or right answers for these things.  All we can do is make the best decisions we can for Marie to protect her from harm.


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Michael's Story 

October, 2013

I turned twenty in December, 2007 and gave birth to Michael in January, 2008.  I went through the Bradley Birthing class with my mom as my coach.  I was scared of giving birth in every way.  These classes taught me so much about what my body was designed to do and it boosted my confidence so I was able to have a totally natural child birth.

Michael's biological father will be named D.

D and I tried to make it work after Michael was born.  By the time Michael was nine months old D and I had been together for 3 years on and off.  At that point we acted more like good friends instead of two people supposedly in love.  But then again we were never in love and I always knew that. 

We both moved on.  Custody became 50-50, D got married and eventually I met Mr. Sexy. The custody situation is currently week on, week off and it works pretty amicably although not perfectly.  In comparison to the above custody situation Mr. Sexy and I are continually thankful for D's stability in Michael's life. 

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Denai's Story

Christmas, 2013
Denai was born in April, 2013.  It was a wonderful, beautiful experience.  I gave birth in a birthing center and I couldn't have asked for a better way to bring Miss Denai into this world.  She is our least complicated child (until she hits puberty that is) so for now I will just share some of my favorite pictures of her.  

I gave birth in this beautiful room.

I actually had an amazing dinner served to me on the tray in the above picture.

The following pictures depict Denai's birth story.  She was two weeks late and I finally got labor started one morning using nipple stimulation while watching Apollo 13 with Mr. Sexy.  Halfway through it was time to call the grandparents to watch the kids so we could go to our birthing center.  

The contractions were amazing.  Once started they were 4 minutes apart but I don't remember how long they lasted each time.  My only comfort was leaning over a birthing ball.  It was amazing how everything I learned and practiced during my Bradley Method training just kicked in and really helped me deal with the pain.  While my contractions took over my mind and body I was still able to relax through them and then smile and make jokes while we waited for the next one.  

I was in labor for about 4 hours I think and I pushed for ten minutes.  It wasn't as easy as it sounds though.  I had been having intense Braxton Hicks for weeks and when true labor started I was already dilated to a 7 and 100% effaced.  I was ready to finish this thing!  And oh yeah:  Water births are the BOMB DIGGITY! 

I hope you enjoy some of my most treasured moments from this day. 

In between contractions just after arriving at the birthing center.

Mr. Sexy was an amazing coach.  He never left my side.

I left the tub to pee but as soon as I stood up gravity did it's part.  The urge to push was overwhelming and yes, I peed right there.  It's all part of the package.  This is an amazing moment that I won't ever forget.

Can you see that Miss Denai immediately grabbed onto her daddy's finger?
Again, an amazing moment - one that Mr. Sexy remembers more vividly than I do I'm sure.

And there she is.  Clean, pink and soft.  Only about an hour old.

From her newborn photo session.

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Mr. Sexy, Mrs. Sexy, Marie, Michael and Denai
5 Hearts
One Family


  1. Thank you Señorita for sharing your story! I'm so glad you're using blogging again to reflect on what's going on and sharing it with others. It sounds like you have the same attitude as me. Share, write, and post for yourself first. If people read it, learn from it, are inspired, etc., even better. Thank you. You are amazing! :) ~Jodi

  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog, and thanks for sharing your story. It sounds like you've really been through a lot but you've also made a lot of progress in your little family. We, too, live on the edge of the woods. Our property is only 2 1/2 acres but it borders on 900 wooded acres. We also use our wood stove a lot for heat. You have a beautiful family!

  3. Wowzers, that's quite a life story! Thanks for sharing such a real and raw story. I have a blended family of six kids (3 of my own, 3 of his, none together). Being a step-mother is the hardest thing in the world. It took several years for our complete family to get it all together. It was a process, but it worked out in the end.

    1. Becoming a step-parenting is the hardest thing I've ever done for sure. I appreciate your understanding. Not everyone can understand.

  4. Your story is beautiful and simply floods of love and grace. Dealing with addictive/destructive personalities is no picnic, but it is one that can provide the most obscure moments of dependence on Christ that can change a life forever. He is so faithful to us despite our wounds and our history...after all it's His story, right?? :).
    Praying for those that cause such pain is unbelievably challenging. Lives can be changed by prayer though so here's to praying for those that need a Savior just as we once did.
    Again, your family is beautiful! What blessings abound here :).


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