This is the fourth post in a five-part series on my blog called "The Road." This series will chronicle the events of my life leading up to meeting my wife, the events that transpired after, and how it has led us all to where we are now. The series will end not by my hand, but by my wife's. Some of this will be very hard for me to write, and as a result, will be hard for you to read. Some of you will think differently of me afterwards, but I ask that you please don't get halfway through this series and stop. In the end, maybe you will find something here that let's you know you aren't alone. The roads we travel are unique, but they intersect often. I have changed almost all the names in this story in order to respect individual privacy.
Part Four: The Giving Up
It all started with me giving up control.
My whole life has been about control.
Whatever she wanted, I complied with. I deleted the Myspace account. If she asked to check my phone, I let her. If she wanted to know where I had been, I usually had at least one witness who could verify.
To this day, and not by her request, I still offer her my phone. She knows my Facebook, Twitter, and email passwords. Anytime she wants, she can check up on me. She doesn't, but I'll never stop letting her know she can. To me, it's a small price to pay for her peace of mind, and I've discovered that when you aren't hiding anything, being honest becomes a great deal easier.
I'm here to tell you, ending an affair is not an easy thing to do. For months after, I had dreams about Tiffany sleeping with other guys, I fought the urge daily to pick up the phone and text her, and I dreaded running into her in town. I also feared the day Alicia ran into her, knowing full well that I might have to bail her out of jail afterwards. That dorky example where a youth minister will glue two sheets of paper together and tear them apart to represent what happens after you commit a sexual act with another person is ABSOLUTELY true. That's how it works. Remember that before you take that step, whether it's your first, or your first after a commitment.
I struggled with lying about the most simple things. I struggled with trying to regain some of that control I'd given up. In fact, one of two physical (wrestling, not hitting) fights Alicia and I have had happened at that time. All because I still desperately wanted to cling to my precious control. I lost my job at one point because of something stupid. I also struggled with breaking a pornography habit I had picked up during the affair. And I tried to do all of this without the help of God, the church, or my family.
Just a couple of months later, I gave up control of something else. I was diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes, and it broke me for a few days. I was no longer in control of my health, medicine was. To this day, I take diabetes medication, but with gradual weight loss, I'm gaining back control over my health in small segments, and fighting like crazy to not lose them again.
A while after that, I voluntarily gave up control of our finances. I knew that I was slowly driving us towards the poor house, and so I gave the reigns over to Alicia, and ever since then, we've been alright. We'll always be in danger while I maintain possession of a debit card, but her threats of taking it away like I'm a six year old with a piggy bank usually work.
And even after that, I gave up the control I had over us not going to church. Ever since the resignation, I had fought going back. You see, in my mind, I had been the one who was burned when I left Okay FBC, and not the other way around as it truly was. So after the fourteenth phone call from my younger brother's Sunday School teacher, we finally picked up one Sunday and went to Muskogee FBC, which was one of the greatest decisions of our lives. We're members now, we're still in the same Sunday School class, and we still love it.
During this process of healing and giving up control, Alicia started talking about babies again. We had been trying since around a year after we got married to no success. We'd never had the money to do anything but try, but now we had a little extra (maybe because someone else had the checkbook), and she wanted to see a doctor about everything.
So we went to a fertility specialist. The lady was nice, she took a - ahem - sample, from me, she poked and prodded at Alicia, and then identified the problem as PCOS. If you asked me to explain in technical terms what that means, you're much better off asking Google, which you can do as soon as you get done reading this blog. The nice doctor also handed us a nice pricing list of the services available to render m'lady with child, but the numbers on that pricing list were ridiculously astronomical.
The insurance Alicia had wouldn't cover it, and there was a brief period of sadness where things got rough again, but one day Alicia came to me and asked me about adoption. I wasn't really sure, but I thought if we didn't have the money for infertility work, we probably didn't have the outlandish sums of money demanded by adoption agencies. She then explained to me that the state offered free adoptions, with the only caveats being that you had to pay for your own costs to get to training and to go see potential child matches.
And so, once again, I gave up control and let her start the adoption process. I honestly thought I could just let her go at it, offer minimal help, and the whole thing would blow over. The next thing I knew, we were heading to Tulsa for a six week adoption training that was going to take place on my favorite day, Saturday. I was so pissed about having to give up six weeks of college basketball just to go get "trained" in how to raise a kid. I've said this once, and I'll say it again. If I have to get training to become an adoptive parent, how come new mothers and fathers don't have to get training to become birth parents?
We completed the training at the end of November, and from there we both knew the waiting would start. We'd been told all kinds of things. We'd wait two years. We wouldn't ever get an actual baby. We'd get pregnant the second we adopted (guys...not true). We'd run the chance of having the child(ren) taken away from us in the trial period. The kids come with baggage.
We questioned whether or not our families would love a "natural" child of ours the same as the adopted child(ren). We went to an adoption party. We turned in our paperwork on the cutest little twin boys from Kansas...a day too late. We cried. We asked for prayer. We leaned on our families, and our church family. We talked with our case manager. We sat down in a little room with hundreds of pictures and files of kids that needed a mom. That needed a dad. That needed someone that actually loved them and wanted them. We went through a list of physical and mental attributes we wanted in a child.
If you've never been through a checklist like that, I strongly encourage you to do it. Sit down and do it. Until you have, you'll never know what it's like to disqualify a child from your lives because he/she has attachment issues, likes to play with fire, or maybe has a degenerative disease and might die in a few years. That checklist is to date the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.
We wanted younger children. We wanted siblings. We thought that by adopting siblings our chances of getting an infant would be higher. I set a firm age limit on the kids. No older than five. I stood firm on that, even when Alicia wanted to get an eight year old who stole her heart. I knew that we didn't need a child over five. I was slowly learning how to be the head of the household without keeping a controlling thumb on all aspects of it.
And we waited. And it seemed like an eternity.
But I've often found, when you're doing something that God wants you to do, results can happen fast.
And in five short months...we got The Call.