An Extraordinary Story of Love and Grace

What follows is a most extraordinary story of how an exceptional woman is dealing with the child that resulted from her husband's affair. It's a lesson in love and grace—which can be applied to many difficult situations we may face during our lives. So I hope you will read this, fully appreciating the power of a good heart in dealing with the challenges life can place before us.

This story begins back in 2001 when I did a telephone consultation with a woman who was struggling to deal not only with her husband's affair, but also with the child that resulted from the affair. She and her husband had two children at the time, ages 10 and 14—and they wanted to maintain their marriage and family. But they also wanted to be responsible in dealing with the innocent child born from the affair.

With that brief introduction...I'm going to let the story be told in the words of the remarkable woman who is living it. With her permission, I share below the message I received from her in April, 2009.

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Dear Peggy,

You might remember that I talked with you on the telephone about my husband's affair and the baby that came from it in 2001. You really helped me through a tough, tough time. We were just putting all of the pieces together—staying married, telling the news to the family, arranging a way to have the baby become part of our family—when my husband was diagnosed with a very rare and deadly cancer. He died 6 months after the diagnosis when the child from the affair was not quite three years old.

Needless to say, I was in uncharted waters. Should, and if so, how would I maintain a connection to this child now that his father was gone? But I think the lessons that my husband and I learned in coping with the aftermath of the affair (and the revelation of other affairs over the years) helped me think through what mattered most and how to approach the situation with a certain amount of common sense. After finding out about the baby, in those early months, I came to an awareness that I call the "Red Cross Method." When there is a terrible natural disaster—hurricane, flood, tsunami—the relief agencies don't say "Who caused this? How did this happen?" They just get busy cleaning up and helping out.

So the child is now almost eight years old. He comes to our house once a week after school and sometimes spends the night on weekends. It has been a good arrangement for everyone: his mom gets a little break, my two big kids (ages 18 and 22) get to spend time with him and share their dad's jokes, I get a lot of hope and happiness seeing that something so hard can be worked through. He is a very fun and talented little guy. I only wish he could have known his father.

Thanks, Peggy, for being a big supporter to the recovery of my own personal natural disaster. It's been a while since I've looked at your website and going there to see your picture brought back vivid memories, like someone walking back into a doctor's office where she was cured of an ailment a long time ago. Pain and progress, all together.

I'm now seeing a very kind and level-headed man. He is completely accepting of our unusual family situation. I am grateful in so many ways.

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And I am grateful to this wonderful woman for sharing her story with me—and allowing me to share it with all of you.

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