A picture of my mom and I

Adoption, and What Makes a Family

Originally published on my website on February 27th, 2019. You can find the original version here. I happened to read over it and realized I could do better; my writing has improved enough that I feel this deserved another go. I also felt the original was very defensive, and off-putting as a result.

One of the most enduring testaments to the power of words is how they can be recalled years later. I was venting to a friend about a disagreement I had had with my mom—not uncommon in my teen years.

My friend, in an attempt to make me feel better, said, “Well, it isn’t like she’s your real mom anyway.”

I’ve heard this mindset before. I was intimately familiar with the glib way people find acceptable to refer to adoption and adopted children.

I am grateful that mindsets have changed dramatically over my lifetime, though I know there will always be those who willfully remain close minded.

Instead of trying to put neat little labels on others—which never seem to behave when it comes to living humans—-let’s celebrate the people who choose to love children, no matter what circumstances brought them together.

Family is so much more than who gives birth. It’s having an open mind and a big heart. It’s wanting your children to be vibrant and offering them support and loving discipline; the desire to be a united front against the world.

My mom didn’t give me her blood or her genes. What she did give me was resilience, a love of reading, the value of finding humor in a situation, and the foundation for me to become uniquely myself while honoring her lessons.

Yes, I am adopted. And I couldn’t be luckier.

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