In December 2006 my dear friend Al went to China a single woman and came back a mother.
It's not as simple as that, of course. She spent many, many months (okay, years) and a whole lot of dollars preparing for that trip and by the time she got on that plane all of her friends were ready to break out a hallelujah chorus of the Etta James classic, "At Last".
All of us, all of her friends? We get it.
We get that Al is the one who potty trained her. Who taught her letters and numbers and bought little shoes for her little feet. We get that Al is the one who cooks her breakfast, laughs at how funny she is, and gives her warm baths at night.
Allison is the one who wipes her runny noses and worries over her when she has a fever. She's the one who will sit up nights many years from now when the Ya goes on dates. She's the one who will visit colleges with her and worry over her when she's off at school.
She is her mom. Plain and simple.
She, the whitest, blondest woman I know, did not give birth to this precious little dark-haired, dark-eyed girl. But she is her momma.
She will forever be her momma.
There are people who don't get this. That honestly can't see that it's not blood or sperm or eggs that make a family...it's love. It's respect for each other. It's wanting someone to be a part of your life, even if they aren't biologically related to you. It's having a willing heart, and enough love to share.
It's knowing, really knowing, that sometimes you get to choose your family.
I alternate being really furious at people who don't get it and feeling really sad for them. I think if you spend five minutes with Al and her daughter, you couldn't help but get it. In my mind, and in my heart, there is literally no other way.
Love is what makes a family.
Love will always and forever be the only thing that makes a family.
And right now? I do feel sorry for you if you don't get that. Because not only do I belong to a really awesome family? I surround myself with other really awesome families.
And it really, really rocks.
I remember you telling me all about her when she was going over there and my goodness could you feel the love from here. Even *I* was excited for her.
To think of the bond and family they've made in the last few years makes me smile more.
Because you are so right. Love doing come out of (or into if you wanna get all 'sex isn't love' and I gotta go there) your vagina (or a slit in your guts as the case may be).
You? Are my sister to the core. You CAN pick your family.
And what a bummer for those who cannot see it. I think the family you pick is some of the luckiest things ever. Try to tell me J isn't your peeps dad. Not in a million years. Sometimes the world has plans for family that has nothing to do with blood.
And now I'm rambling hardcore. Shutting up now. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
I've always said that the person who reads "The Poky Puppy" 20 times in a row is the parent. The one who stands in a spring drizzle and watches a T-ball game.
Truer words have never been spoken.
some people will never get past the biological sense of life, and they will never see that LIFE does not equal FAMILY.
Being the mom of a blended family (what we like to call "it's a small world"), it used to make me mad to hear "so he is your husband's and she is yours?". um, no. THEY are OURS!
now I just laugh.
because those people that are only being nosey and trying to figure out which child came from which parent will reveal their ignorance if given enough silence and that now provides me with entertainment. I don't feed into the "but you don't look old enough to have a 21 year old" or the "I can't decide who she looks most like".
I just smile now, and watch them agonize over the thoughts flip-flopping in their heads. well, with the ones who "know better" than to ask the rude questions. the others are an entirely different story
All that matters is that Al and her daughter, along with the tribe of people that know and love them knows. That's it. The rest can take a flying leap.
What a lovely post.
I remember beginning the preliminary adoption papers right before my first pregnancy. We were going to adopt from Thailand and the literature from the adoption agency was pointing out that other people would have a problem with a white family having an Asian child and how would we deal with that.
And I remember thinking "WTF? I would tell them to fuck off and deal with it and if they couldn't to go away. Who cares?!?"
I am sitting here in tears. Very well said.
Kin is precious to me because of the blood bond that ties us together. But I cherish, absolutely cherish, the people in my life who love me because they choose to, not because I was born to them. Chosen family is not just good to have--it's absolutely essential.
I miss Al. And Ya is a lucky girl to have such a wonderful mom (just like your twinkies are lucky to have you!)
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