Family… What is a family?
Family… What is Family?
That may seem like a crazy question but in my life it isn’t that easily defined. I will start with my family… I have my mother and father – but they divorced and remarried. I have two step brothers on my mother’s side and two step sisters on my fathers side and of course a step mother and step father. These days that is not too unusual. My husband’s side is easier – his parents were married their entire lives and he has two brothers.
Then I met my husband and he was divorced with two sons – my stepsons, who are pretty much the same age as my stepbrothers. Hope you aren’t too confused yet but we are only getting started… We adopted our now 26 year old daughter. Her biological mother has her half brother from one husband and four half siblings from another husband. Our daughter’s father was not married to her mother and he has another five siblings. Although they are all her family – they are not ours. We adopted two more children – our youngest son and daughter. They have the same mother but different fathers. Their mother has two children (older) who are adopted by one couple and one young sibling who she still has. All have different fathers. So our son has siblings – we know of at least one on his father’s side and our daughter has multiple on her father’s side. Oy vay. Now the older two siblings who are adopted are the closest in their family – we occasionally see them and stay in touch. Not one of our adopted children can say with 100% clarity how many siblings they have.
Families are all different and diverse. We are far from the Leave It To Beaver family or even the Brady Bunch. No one was born into our specific family. My stepsons were born to my husband and his ex-wife although I have been a part of their lives since they were babies. Our middle daughter moved in at 6 1/2 years old, our son at 2 1/2 and our youngest daughter we did get right from birth – but I did not give birth to her.
Traditional families often need family counseling such as ReGain but blended families benefit from it even more. There are a lot of ways a blended family can un-blend themselves and each member comes with a past and a history that may need to be dealt with as a family. I have always been an advocate for adoption as well as mental health.