‘I was divorced, he was divorced. There wasn’t a light at the end of the tunnel. It was there, in each other.’: Mom re-marries after ’emotionally abusive’ relationship, now ‘beautifully blended family’

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“The summer of 2011 I was lost. I was trying to get out of an emotionally abusive marriage while trying to maintain a happy persona for my daughters. I moved in with my parents until we could get everything finalized. The girls were 3 and 6 when I left their biological father. Our marriage was very toxic and sadly they saw their fair share of fighting. I tried my best to keep it from them but that wasn’t always possible. Our divorce was final in August and we were able to start our new normal. Life was finally starting to feel calm for us. I prayed every night that God would send someone who would take my daughters and love them as his own. I hoped that person would love me as well, but more than anything, I just wanted them to have a daddy.

Out of curiosity, I signed up on an online dating site. I created a fake account and didn’t really do much with it. The last day of my free trial I searched and found a profile that had a man and a beautiful little boy in the picture. The man caught my eye, but I couldn’t get over how adorable his little boy was. I messaged him and told him how to search for me on Facebook. We started talking on Facebook and exchanged numbers within a few hours. Something about talking to him just felt right.

Woman smiles in selfie on beach with man who she found on online dating site
Courtesy of Lacye Knight

I learned in talking to Kevin that he was going through a divorce himself. His divorce was final in January and by March we were engaged. This man made me feel special. I was so beat down before he came in my life. I felt like I deserved all of the horrible things that had happened to me in the past. I thought I was ugly and worthless. Kevin patiently wiped all of those feelings away.

Our children immediately bonded with one another. My youngest daughter and his son were instant best friends. It was crazy, but they actually favored each other quite a bit. Everywhere we went people asked how close in age they were and couldn’t believe that they were not blood related.

Co-parenting with our ex-spouses was pretty rough for a while. The emotions of the divorces were still very raw. My ex-husband was around some but didn’t always exercise his visitation. Kevin and I married in July of 2012 and were finally able to start our happily ever after.

Bride stands beside her two daughters at high top table while groom stands holding his son
Audrea Rudd
Husband smiles with his young son beside his wife and her two daughters, one of which is holding sign saying, "The Knights"
Paige Baty

The following summer, Kevin lost his job when the factory he worked at shut down. We went from making good money to trying to survive on unemployment and food stamps. We couldn’t count on child support for the girls because it never came on a regular basis. We relocated for Kevin to find a job but sadly were now a few hours from his son. It was tough leaving him and something that will never feel right. With the job Kevin found we were slowly getting on our feet. It finally felt like there was end in sight to our struggles. And then we had to move again. The company we were renting our house from wouldn’t renew our lease. Luckily we found a place down a couple of miles down the road but we had to use the money we were trying to save for moving. Once again, we were getting buried in what felt like a never-ending mountain of debt.

Father smiles with arm around son who sits beside his wife's two daughters on brick wall
Courtesy of Lacye Knight

During all of our struggles, we remained faithful. We knew that even though we couldn’t find the light at the end of the tunnel, it was there. Never once did we lash out at one another through all of the pain and stress. If anything, the hard times brought us that much closer to one another. We found a church home and it wasn’t long before my girls were saved and wanting to be baptized. Kevin had the honor of baptizing both. It was such an amazing day for our family. Financially everything was still rough. We sold just about everything we could to try and make our bills. We were down to one vehicle. There were times the kids had food but Kevin and I skipped meals. It was hard but looking back, it was ok. We made it.

Man leans over table where his son and his wife's two daughters sit with face painting on
Courtesy of Lacye Knight

In April of 2015 Kevin joined the Army National Guard. He left the following October for his basic training. Having to go two months without talking to him was so hard for us. The girls missed him dearly. They were still seeing their biological dad from time to time but more often than not, it wasn’t a good experience. They never wanted to go and were always ready to come home.

Army man stands in uniform with his arms around his wife's two daughters
Courtesy of Lacye Knight

Their dad was remarried and the marriage was toxic, like ours had been. The girls witnessed so many things at his house I was unable to shield them from. The police were called on a few occasions. At one time they were homeless and staying in a tent. I was unaware of it until after they left. It was a mess.

Eventually their dad stopped coming around. The visits and phone calls were beginning to be few and far between. Child support all together stopped. It was hard financially at times, but still, we made it work.

By 2016 our relationship with Kevin’s ex was so much better. We had all moved on from the raw emotions of the divorce and were working together to co-parent our precious boy. The relationship we were all forming was amazing. Watching him grow as a result of us all putting him first was such a blessing to see. All of the kids were able to witness just how amazing life could be when we all got along. She is a great mom and for that I am very thankful.

Two young girls and boy smile on slide whose parents are married to each other
Courtesy of Lacye Knight

October of 2016 was the last time the girls saw their biological father. He didn’t send anything more than a text the following Christmas and one of their birthdays.

Kevin eventually got a much better job and we were able to start digging out of our mountain of debt. We bought a house in February 2018. I started my own business this year. It’s been more successful than I could’ve ever imagined it to be. And I’m doing something that I knew nothing about 2 years ago. Our kids are all healthy and happy.

Today, 2,496 days after first meeting Kevin, he is now legally the father of my girls. They are adopted! They have the man that will always love and protect them. They have the daddy they have always deserved. He will never leave them. He will never make them feel worthless. I am forever grateful for this amazing man.

Man holds wife's daughters hands on beach and written in the sand says, "we are adopted"
Paige Baty

We are now officially The Knight Party of Five! The girls were 6 and 3 when Kevin came in to our lives. Brayden was 1. The five of us shared an immediate bond. It was as if we had always been a family. The girls needed a daddy. They needed someone to show them what it meant for a daddy to love his children unconditionally. Unfortunately, they didn’t have that before Kevin. Falling in love with each other’s biological children came easy for the both of us. Here we are almost 7 years later, and the girls are finally adopted. To say we are blessed would be a huge understatement. I can’t thank God enough for this man that chose to love my babies as his own. Shelby and Meredith have been asking to be Knights for a very long time. I am so in love with my beautifully blended family.

When you’re going through the toughest storms that life throws your way, stay strong. You will get through them. There IS a light at the end of your very dark tunnel. My hope is that someone will read our story and find the strength to keep pushing through whatever it is you are going through. If you’re in an abusive marriage, please know that you are worth so much more. Get out and get safe. It’s better for your children to come from a broken home than to live in a broken home.”

Husband sits on branch on beach beside wife, son, and his two adopted daughters
Paige Baty

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Lacye Knight of McMinnville, Tennessee. Do you have a similar journey to becoming a blended family? We’d love to hear from you. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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