Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Little Bit About Myself

I thought maybe I would share with you some things about my life that I'm sure you did not know. Like, I've known my husband since I was 12 years old, we were friends all through school and have a long history with each other. However we didn't start dating until 2001. I did not give birth to my children. They are Kenny's sons and they have lived with me since 2002.

Kenny and the boys' mother were in a relationship for about 3 years. They had Austin and 15 months later had Jesse. They broke up when Jesse was 6 months old. Kenny has always had custody of them save for 9 months during the 2001-2002 school year. He was a single father, recently divorced from his daughter's mom and working a swing shift. Unable to care for them, they lived with their mother. Then I entered the picture. I started dating Kenny in November of 2001. By February of 2002, a mere 3 months later, we were engaged. In March we moved in together and the boys came to live with us for the summer. They were 7 and 8. Instant family, just add water. We had a long battle with the boys' mom. She is a recovering heroine addict and alcoholic. During that summer, we found out that while they were supposed to be living with her they were in fact living with her mother. Her addiction was just beginning and she was in a nasty relationship. At the end of the summer, the boys did not want to go back. I asked her if I could keep them. Kenny and she went back to court and once again he obtained full custody of the boys.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketFast forward to October of 2003. We've moved into our new (and current) home. Kenny and I got married! What a glorious day that was. All of my family came out to celebrate in huge Italian fashion. Kenny did not invite anyone from his family other than his brother and his family. I protested but he won. He wasn't speaking to his mother (LONG story, very complicated, remedied now) and I will always remember what he said about the rest of them. "They were at my first wedding and look how that turned out." Not every family is like yours, he would tell me. We don't get along. We don't go to each other's houses and we don't go to church together. We don't eat with other and we barely see each other during the holidays. Your family is special Julie, he would tell me. I don't want them there. I want to enjoy the day without worrying about what may happen. Since Kenny was divorced we were not able to get married in the Catholic church until his marriage was annulled. So, rather than be married in a civil ceremony, we were married at The First Presbyterian Church, here in New Brighton. Our ceremony was beautiful and the reception was a ball!

At this point, the boys had already started calling me mom and they weren't seeing their biological mother at all. For 3 years, she battled her addiction and basically had no time for the boys. I am thrilled to say that she is now clean and sober and making amends in her life. She sees the boys on a regular basis now and we were finally able to move beyond what happened in the past. Christ said that in order for the Father to forgive you, you must forgive others. I have taken that to heart and we have a pretty good relationship now. I'm still their mom, but at least now they don't have to feel guilty for loving her too. Kenny's daughter is a brilliant and gorgeous 8 year old. We see her as often as we can but with Kenny's long hours at work that's not as often as we'd like. I adore her and she is an estrogen-filled welcome to this house of dirty boys! Kenny and I were finally married in the Catholic church in November of 2004. And at the Easter vigil of 2006, the boys were baptized in the church, made their first holy communion and confirmation.

I can't even begin to tell you all that we have gone through, the battles we have overcome and the hurt we have mended. We are not a traditional family in the true sense. But nonetheless, we are a family: father, mother and children. My mother's sister and my own were never able to conceive. They both adopted their children. And those children hold a special place in all of our hearts because we know that they were chosen by God to become a part of this family. In order to fulfill God's plan, these children had to be born. These children. They may not have our DNA but their ours nonetheless.

I remember a plaque that hung in my cousin's nursery. And I claim it as well as it so perfectly describes our homes:
Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone
But still miraculously my own
Never forget for a single minute,
You didn't grow under my heart, but in it.

Love,
Julie

29 comments:

ShabbyInTheCity said...

So sweet and pure to raise the children of others...to make them your own.

Mary said...

Julie, what a sweet and wonderful family! Your children have really been blessed to have you, and I'm sure you feel blessed to have them, too.

Love your wedding photo!
xoxo,
Mary

FarmHouse Style said...

Julie, your story is near and dear to my heart. I have watched my sister struggle through a bad marriage and a terrible divorce. I pray that one day there will be peace for her and her son, just as you have found.
Thank you for sharing your story and your beautiful family with us.
Rhonda

BittersweetPunkin said...

Julie-you are a Blessing to those children (and your hubby) as I'm sure they have blessed you. I love your photo too. I just think you are a wonderful inspiration!
Blessings,
Robin

Michelle E. ~ Vintage Pastiche' said...

Julie what a emotional story. Thank you for sharing such a personal part of you, with us. I work in the Drug & Alcohol field and see far too often the effects of the disease of addiction and how it rips families and lives apart. It is nice when you hear that someone is battling their demons and possibly winning.

Bless you for being there for your children, because they are your children (it takes a village...)the minute you came in to your husbands life. You truly are a special woman.

Thank you also for visiting my blog I really appreciate it. :)

*muah*

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Julie. I think you are a special lady! Your family sounds just lovely, families are a treasure no matter how they come together.

Hugs,
Melissa

Debbie said...

Beautiful music today. From your wedding? Great picture! Thanks for sharing your story. I love happy endings! Our youngest daughter, now 25(!), is adopted from Korea. Our other daughter(!) is biological. They are both amazing young woman and I love them both with all my heart. Love that quote. I have it written in Melea's baby book.

Have a beautiful day,
Debbie

Anita said...

What a blessing you are.. And this story is to everyone who reads it... Beautiful wedding photo!

Counting Your Blessings said...

Thank you for sharing your story! I need to ask... You said that you were happy that the biological mom is now sober and is seeing the boys again. How are you happy about that? I need to know because my exhusband is not a Christian and was a drug user/alcholoic for many, many years. He seems to have cleaned up but he's still not serving the Lord. Unfortunately we have joint legal custody (I have full physical custody). I'm praying for a complete release from him because of the ungodly influence he has on our son. I'm trying very hard to focus on the good that he brings to Noah's life but I WANT HIM GONE! I don't know how to say it in a more delicate way. I certainly don't wish him dead or anything like that. I just want to keep him away from my son. Anyhow, I'm just curious as how you've found peace and happiness with their mom back in their lives. Blessings... Polly (p.s. sorry to lay all that on you - yikes!)

Super Mom said...

beautiful photo! You have such an enriched life.

Terri and Bob said...

Julie!! What a wonderful story with a happy ending! I love great stories and yours is definitely one!

Your wedding picture is adorable!

Esther Sunday said...

Wow! What a story! I am sure your hubby feels so blessed to have such an incredible woman in his wife and his childrens! But, I wouldn't expect any different from you! And, your pic - you are just as beautiful on the outside as the inside! Love ya! Esther

Dena ~ swaddlecottage said...

What a sweetie you are to take in those babies with wide open arms and make such a beautiful family. Not to mention the forgivness and gentleness you have in your heart. God made a special woman when he made you!

Hugs,
Dena

Sandi said...

Thanks for sharing all this, Julie. You are truly blessed! And what a beautiful bride! And you're right, family is about love, not bloodlines.

bellacolle said...

I am so glad to learn more about you! You are such a special person to take to heart another's child.! I have a step mom and have never really been accepted by her... May your sweet family be blessed beyond measure!!!

rosemary said...

What a beautiful story; you have such a wonderful heart and dear soul. Yes, you are blessed dear Julie.

Kimmie said...

Julie

I am so glad you shared all of this...you are a true beauty, inside and out.

sending you a big hug...I am thankful for you!
xoxoxo
Kimmie
mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted

KaReN EiLeeN said...

Julie -- How lucky these children are to have you and your prayers for them in their lives. My mother died when I was 12 and thank goodness I had a wonderful father, but no one can take the place of a mother and it sounds like they finally have one. God's blessings to your new "instant" family.
P.S. Yesterday I would have PAID you to have my puppies for a visit:)

KaReN EiLeeN said...

Julie -- How lucky these children are to have you and your prayers for them in their lives. My mother died when I was 12 and thank goodness I had a wonderful father, but no one can take the place of a mother and it sounds like they finally have one. God's blessings to your new "instant" family.
P.S. Yesterday I would have PAID you to have my puppies for a visit:)

Penny Carlson said...

Julie, What a wonderful story and very near and dear to my heart. I met my husband when I was 25 and recently divorced with a 3 year old son. He was 32 and the father of 3 boys, ages 5,7,9. He had sole custody. The mother had left and never looked back. Within a year we were married. The boys all called me Mom from the very beginning. My "boys" are now 33,35,37,39. They are all wonderful and raising families of their own.
Bless you!
Penny

Rosemary said...

Hi Julie,
Thanks for visiting my blog, and for the nice comments.
What an interesting story. It does seem to have happy results.
You have a nice family. It's good you were there for those children. I am also Italian. We are 4 weeks away from our daughter's Italian wedding.
Visit me again soon,
Rosemary

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

You are such a loving lady! The children are blessed..richly blessed with your love.

xo,

Becky

La Tea Dah said...

What a beautiful post filled with so much love! Thank you for sharing your story with us!

LaTeaDah

Back Through Time said...

A lovely post, thanks so much for sharing part of yourself with us!
Michelle

Cara said...

Hi Julie,
Thanks for sharing! Your husband and sons are so lucky to have you in their lives. I hope someday to be as good a wife and mother as you are!
Cara

mayberry said...

Wow. You have an amazing story to go with your amazing family. I hope that ya'll will continue to be blessed.

Mary said...

How special you are Julie and what love and patience you have demonstrated to become a true Mom to these children. Your dh sounds like an amazing partner - together I can see you have made a wonderful life for your family.
Thanks for sharing these personal moments - you are no longer a stranger, now a friend I feel I know.

Enjoy your week and thanks for visiting me.

Emilie said...

Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. It is a wonderful one.
I think the most interesting blogs are the ones where the authors share information about who they are.
Anyone can have a blog, but to be a good one, it has to have heart and soul behind it. Like yours.

Cris said...

Thanks for sharing your storie Julie, you poured out your heart to us here. I would love to meet you one day... Who knows maybe I visit family in MD we'll be able to chat! Wow, how much I have missed, I am trying to catch up my reading here. Blessings. Oh, love that picture of your wedding!