What Family Looks Like To Me

What Family Looks Like To Me

There is not one "right" way a family should and can look. Here are 13 different, yet perfectly normal ways.

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When I think of the word family, I think of the words belonging, love, forever, care, safety, acceptance. Some people may describe family as those who you share your blood with, but I think (and know) that family can and does encapsulate a lot more. Specifically, being adopted, I know that you don't have to share the same DNA with your parents or siblings to love them just like in any normal family. Out of curiosity, I turned to the internet to see how others defined family. What I found was 6 "common" family structures: nuclear family, single parent, extended family, stepfamily, childless family, and grandparent family. While these are legitimate categorizations, I believe that there are multiple subcategories within these groups that deserve their own recognition, as well as categories that exist out of the 6 "common" ones. So, what exactly defines a family? Here are 13 different ways a family can look.

1: Adoptive Family:

An adoptive family is typically where one or more of the children are adopted. However, generally speaking, if any family has an adopted family member, this can be also categorized as an adopted family.

There are, however, many different ways an adoptive family can come to be. Here are some examples:

a. Transracial adoption: when the race of the adoptive parents is different than that of the adopted child. This is the family structure I was lucky enough to be adopted into!

b. Domestic adoption: adopting a child from within the same country

c. International adoption: adopting a child from a different country

d. Foster care to adoption: some adoptees initially are foster kids before they're adopted

e. Biological family member adoption: when a family member adopts a child that is not their own within the family due to circumstances

2. Foster family

A family where one or more of the children are foster children (and therefore legally are temporary members of the household.)

3. Sperm/Egg donor family

Where a sperm or egg was donated to a couple (or person) who wished to have a child of their own but could/did not.

4. Nuclear family

The nuclear family consists of a married man and woman and their biologically related children. While this is a perfectly legitimate family structure, there exists some conservative viewpoints that the nuclear family is one of the only ways a family should look.

5. Single parent family

A family where one person is the sole parent and caretaker of his/her child(ren).

6. Divorced/separated family 

In some families with divorced/separated parents, one of the parents may be out of the picture. However, in many situations, a co-custody situation will arise. I have many friends with divorced parents that have a co-custody arrangement, and I know how difficult this lifestyle can be. Many of my friends had to move from house to house every weekend throughout their childhood. In co-custody families, both the divorced parents have legal responsibility for their child(ren). This can mean that the children may alternate between which parent they live with, or live with just one and plan regular visits the other.

7. Conditionally separated family

A conditionally separated family is when one of the family members is separated from the family due to circumstances, but still are an integral, significant member of the family. Some examples of said 'circumstances' may be serving in the military, being incarcerated, hospitalization, or having a job far away.

8. Stepfamily

Where one of the parents are a step-parent. The stepfamily often overlaps with the divorced/separated family lifestyle.

9. Childless family

Families do not necessarily have to have children in order to be deemed a 'family'! There's not one way a childless family has to look (besides that no one in the family has any children, of course.)

10. Blended family

A family that typically merges extended family with immediate family. However, a more general definition would be when 2 or more previous families merge to form one big family.

There also exists 'grandparent families', which I decided to categorize under blended family. This is when the grandparent(s) live with one of their children and his/her family.

11. LGBTQ+ family

A family wherein one or more of the family members are of the LGBTQ+ community. I believe that this family dynamic is a perfectly legitimate, yet different experience, and deserves its own category and recognition.

12. Biracial or multiracial family

A family where the parents are of different heritage(s), and therefore have multi-ethnic children!

13. Immigrant family

Where one or more of the parents have immigrated into the country as an adult; their children may be immigrants as well, or may be citizens (if they were born in the country following their parent(s)'s immigration.

As you can see, there are so many different ways families can look. I know I definitely missed some, and I'm curious to discover more family structures throughout life as I meet more people. So, what does family look like to you?

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.

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My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth.

OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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True Tales Of Growing Up In A BIG Family

Spoiler alert, I get tackled a lot.

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I was born into a fairly large family. I have upwards of twenty-something first cousins, many of who are around the same age as me. It has honestly been both a blessing and a curse to have so many people around me all the time. Some of my favorite memories come from family gatherings where all of my cousins were there. However, since most of my cousins are male, there has also been a lot of physical violence where people get hurt, even if the intentions were innocent. I have so many stories about my family, some of which I won't share here because they are a little bit inappropriate, but others are too good not to share.

The first story I want to share is from this past Easter. Most of my cousins on my Dad's side were at my Papa's house celebrating the holiday. There was so much food we could probably feed a small army. Some of the older cousins decided that we were going to play a game of whiffle ball. All of the cousins who were playing were at least sixteen and some of them were much older. Many of us had or are playing sports in High School or College so this game of whiffle ball got extremely competitive very fast. I ended up being the Umpire/pitcher because I played softball for so long. The game ended with my brothers winning and my other cousins upset that they lost, but it was still one of the memories I will cherish the most even though I definitely threw out my shoulder pitching.

I can remember playing a game of football on Thanksgiving when I was young (maybe five or six). This game, not unlike the whiffle ball game we played at Easter, got super competitive super fast to the point where even I, as a six-year-old, was being pushed and tackled to the ground by much older boys. I honestly can't remember much about that game, maybe I got hit in the head too much, but I do remember having so much fun playing with my cousins.

I've been on a cruise two times in my life, both times with my extended family. One cruise was to Mexico when I was very little. What I remember about that cruise was getting extremely sea sick and that the cleaning staff would make towel monkey on our beds. The cruise was to Alaska when I was a lot older, I think I was fifteen. Since I and my cousins were much older on that cruise, we caused a lot more trouble and were able to get away with it. Every night we would go to the pool and swim. Then, we would go to the buffet and only eat pineapples and mac and cheese. We, also, may have or may not have gone into a bar to sing karaoke. While the cruise was fun, I wouldn't have had such a great time if I wasn't with my family.

While sometimes they can be a pain, having so much family has taught me a lot about communication and playing right. Again, I only have scratched the surface here in regards to the plentiful stories I have, many of which are so much funnier. I love my family so much and I would never trade that in for the world.

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