Two years into our marriage, my husband and I were blessed with "our" first child. Well, actually, she was a third child for each of us and the fifth child when you add them all together. It certainly puts a spin on those "family placement theories." Bringing new children into the family, children that now connect everyone biologically, came with tremendous joy and its own set of complicated emotions for each family member to deal with. There are still days that our children question where exactly they fit into our "special" family and what it all means. Whose aunts are whose and why his cousin isn't her cousin.

It seems to matter less and less whose children belonged to whomSo far, thank G‑d, we have added four children to the two children we each had prior to our marriage, and with each addition the family, dynamics change just a bit. The children we have together now outnumber the ones we each had separately. I am sure there are times that our older children, the ones from our previous marriages, feel a bit jealous of their younger siblings who are growing up in a household with both of their parents, but as the years have gone by, it seems to matter less and less whose children belonged to whom before we became a family.

For our children, the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins have been wonderful. Both sides of our family have accepted the children unconditionally. When my husband asked me to marry him, I understood that it meant moving away from my close knit family, from the home and community that I knew most of my life, from the warm climate that I loved, to the New York area so that we would be close to my stepchildren of whom my husband shares custody. This meant starting over in practically every aspect of my life: new job, new friends, new home, new community and a whole new family to get used to. What was I thinking? Yet the warm embrace we received from my husband's family was worth it.

I recall the time that I was between spouses and dating, during a particularly emotional session with a rabbi whom I went to for guidance, I questioned how in the world I would find someone to really love my children; someone to share that special glance across the room that parents so often use with one another when they each recognize something brilliant that their child has done. I call it the "nachas look," that shared sense of satisfaction and joy parents feel from their offspring. It just seemed impossible to me that I could find a partner who would share that with me. Sure, I could find someone to "like" my children, even "love" them, but someone to really share that bond parents feel when observing their children? Impossible! It saddened me to think that I would never really be able to enjoy that feeling again.

My rabbi assured me that finding the person who would really love me would also bring me the person who would really love my children. Fortunately, he was right. My daughter was six and my son was only a year-and-a-half when I remarried, and from that day on, my husband and I have shared each and every milestone, as well as many glances across the room.

My husband and I have used that pain to make our relationship and our family strongerThere is tremendous pain and suffering felt by all parties in a divorce situation, especially the children. Memories of that never completely go away. My husband and I have chosen to use that pain to make our relationship and our family stronger. We use it to remind ourselves how important it is to stick with the relationship even when the going gets tough. Remarriage and the rebuilding of my life and family certainly helped to alleviate that pain for me.

The addition of "connector children" – those that my husband and I have had together – has given our family an added sense of unity. I remember that when I was looking for a husband the second time around, I was looking for someone who had been through difficult times, but remained standing with his head held high. Thankfully, that's what I got, because life, as we know, isn't always easy, and having a partner who has seen the darkness and the light, in turn, encourages me to continue with strength, courage and joy. And we have each other, and our children – our family – with whom to share this journey.