Four months after Sarah Foster Arbaiza divorced, she had a girls’ night out with her sister in Uptown. That’s when she met Ivan Arbaiza.
He drove her home, where they sat on the porch and talked until sunrise.
Turns out Ivan was the uncle of one of Sarah’s office assistants at Pinkston High School.
Sarah’s coworker told her, “Oh, he’s a great guy. He loves the Lord,” Sarah says. “I just heard all the signs that pointed to us being together.”
Dating as a single mother with a full-time job meant late-night FaceTime, texting and sometimes waiting two weeks or more before seeing each other. Sarah waited more than six months before introducing her two daughters to Ivan. They planned a family playdate with Ivan’s sisters and nephews.
“Both of my girls loved him,” she says. “They call him Pops and they know they can count on him.”
Sarah and Ivan had been dating for for more than two years when, for Christmas 2018, Sarah’s family planned an extended-family cruise. She describes a grandiose affair.
The trip included Sarah’s father’s first, second and third wives, children, grandchildren and grandmother. One of her stepmothers made sure all the women had their nails done. Everyone in the family was instructed to wear black and silver to coordinate for a photo shoot on the deck before dinner. Each couple posed together for a portrait. Sarah and Ivan went last. Ivan proposed just as the sun set.
“I just lost it, you know, and he said I was the love of his life and he couldn’t imagine himself with anyone else,” Sarah says. “And our girls ran out and they were screaming up and down and crying.”
It was captain’s night, she recalls. “So the ship was all lit up. It was just gorgeous.”
Six months into the engagement, on a Tuesday — after considering a Guatemalan destination wedding — they opted to marry the coming Saturday at White Rock Lake. They ordered a few things from Amazon. Sarah purchased a white department-store dress and recruited a friend to perform the ceremony.
“It was very intimate, beautiful, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Sarah says.
They would save Guatemala for the honeymoon.
In Febuary 2020, they started trying to have a baby and endured a few failed rounds of fertility treatments.
“That’s when we prayed about it,” Sarah says. “And we said, you know, if this is God’s will, and this is what’s meant to be, then we will have a baby.”
They quit the infertility treatments in the winter of 2020. By April 2021, Sarah was pregnant with their baby boy.