What a year!

I’ve been a bad blogger this year. Life happens and it’s not always public information. I am not an ultra private person, so Face Book has filled my need to communicate with others, while keeping my business semi private. Not to mention, this year has been full of ‘one thing after another’, an ongoing saga of sorts and I don’t usually like to say anything while stuff is still developing. I like to see how it plays out and then discuss it after the fact. At least on my blog. That is how it was when I was pregnant with my last child (I did not mention it in my blog, but I announced his birth) and when we moved from Jubail after 5 years to Dhahran. I just don’t like discussing plans on here.

However, now that the year has come to an end, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on it. Some would say that this has been a year of a series of unfortunate events for my family, but I beg to differ. I say that this year has been a year of growth and amazing opportunities for my family, that we would not have otherwise experienced had Allah left us in our comfort zones.

January – June

Contracts at my husband’s job were up for renewal. He worked at a well reputed University. This University is known for it’s retention rate and everyone is pretty much happy working there. We were content working and living on the campus. The children even attended the University school, one of the best in the region. The University, as did his prior employer paid all our expenses, save food and personal expenses. Housing, utilities, and tuition, as well as yearly airline tickets were provided. We pretty much had it made and all The Praise is due to Allah.

For reasons still unknown, my husband’s contract with the University was not renewed. He was to finish the remainder of the school year and we were to vacate the premises by the end of August. After that he was pretty jaded and decided that he never wanted to be under contract again. However, we did not have the money to come in on an investor’s visa, eliminating the need for a sponsor. What to do?

July – August

We decided to spend the summer in Riyadh to see what opportunities were out here. After a few days in a furnished flat, we took my husband’s severance pay and moved into a new Villa. My husband returned to Dhahran to make a little extra money teaching a summer course and I took my first job after over 10 years of not working. I taught a 5 week Intensive English Course.

My husband got word from his mom that his ex wife contacted her, after 2 years (and 4 years of hiding from us) to inform her that she had ovarian cancer and was given 6 months to live. She told his mom not to mention anything my husband and that she was in the process of putting their 11 year old daughter up for adoption. She threatened his mom that she would go back into hiding if she warned him. Of course his mom warned him, but told him to just wait it out and see if she really dies of cancer and then just come and get his daughter. She refused to give us any contact information. I’ve always had a way with his ex and I wanted to talk to her, but was not allowed. His mom went to court to get emergency custody when she found out that the ex was in a nursing home on her death bed. The day she was to be served with the court order she passed away. My husband was informed of this and flew to America to get his daughter from the pastor of a Mennonite church, that was keeping her. The man refused to answer the phone or open the door. He even had his lawyer contact my husband’s mom to say that if he and my kids called the house again then he would file harassment charges (they said nothing threatening, they only left messages saying how much they loved and missed her). My husband then went to court but the judge said that this was not a court matter, because he was not only the only living parent of the child but that he had joint custody of her, which now meant that he had sole custody after the death of her mother. The judge said that he should go to the local police and have them escort him to get her. Well this is a small town and the local police were already aware that this would happen and they refused to honor the court order. They even asked my husband if he had just come back from Afghanistan! The family’s lawyer then went to court and filed false abuse charges against my husband and petitioned for custody on the basis that my husband is unfit to be a parent! The court still told them that they were to turn her over to my husband. At that point they said that they would bring her to the police station and he could pick her up from there. When he arrived at the police station, to get his daughter the police informed them that the pastor had gone to another court and got an order of stay. My husband got a court date for October and was advised to return to Saudi, get his family and be prepared to fight a lengthy court battle.

September – December 31st

My husband returned to Saudi Arabia and told me to vacate the villa, because we were going to America. I told him that I would only go to America if he had a way to keep us legal residents of Saudi. We had already found a private sponsor but his job was refusing to transfer him and wanted us to exit the country and come back on new visas. Well my husband checked on this and was informed that in Ramadan (while he was in America) the transfer was approved. So I agreed to leave my big beautiful Villa and got rid of basically all of our possessions and moved into a hotel until we would go America (waiting on exit visa). During that time they announced that school would start back (was being delayed due to the swine flu) and I decided to stay and put the kids in school. So out of the hotel we went and into a split Villa we moved.

Neither of us had jobs at the time, but alhamduillah we were approached about working at a private University. we made a deal with the landlord that we would give him the first months rent and in one month give him the other 5 months (required to pay at least 6 months), we borrowed money from our relatives and moved in and then hustled our butts off too pay the landlord in 2 weeks instead of one month. My husband and my 4 year old son Adam, then left for the States and I was left to fend for myself and 3 kids.

I work 6 hours a week teaching at the University College of Medicine. I also tutor in my home. So far Allah has provided for me and I have not had to ask or borrow money from anyone. He has placed the best people and the best opportunities in my life. Things are not looking so good for my husband as far as getting custody of his daughter. The courts and the slick lawyer of this Mennonite family have pulled out all the stops. He has been in and out of court and has another court date for February, after the judge decided to transfer the case to another venue, one in the county of the Mennonite family. One that favors them. His daughter has been brainwashed and alienated from him to the point that she wants nothing to do with him. She hangs up on him when he calls her (only accepting the calls because it was a court order) and refuses to allow him to visit her. Every-one’s spirit is low and all involved are exhausted.

On Christmas day my mother sent for my husband and son. They went to Chicago to visit her and she convinced him to return to Saudi and take care of his wife and 4 kids, instead of sitting around another month depressed waiting on the February court date. She even escorted them to the airport to make sure he didn’t go back to Virginia and change his mind…lol! As this year ends, this December 31st was by far the best day of the year. Allah returned my husband and son home safely today!

Let me go and spend some time with them. It’s been over two months since I’ve seen them!