Blending a Family

November is National Adoption Month, a topic I’ve definitely been pretty aware of for 12 years now.  Blended families are becoming a new kind of norm, with grandparents taking on guardianship or adopting their grandchildren, families living together and changing dynamics of communities.  With so many kinds of blended and extended families today, it is not unusual to see families of all types, and I’m proud to say my family is definitely in the “all types” category.  When my younger sister and I moved away to go to college after high school 13 years ago, my parents began an adoption.  After a lengthy, sometimes frustrated process, they adopted a little girl, not quite two years old, from Guatemala, and since then have adopted two more Guatemalan girls, all the same ages.  Right now, my parents have three fourteen-year-old daughters, a thirty-two-year-old daughter, and me, the oldest at thirty-three.

People sometimes ask my mom if the little girls are her granddaughters, if they’re triplets, if they knew each other in Guatemala, but the answers are all “no.”  My mom doesn’t mind being an older parent, and her heart is admirably enormous for adopting three little children, all with special needs, at an age when many of her peers were eyeing relaxation and retirement.  Would she trade it?  I don’t think so.  She embraces the chaotic craziness of their house, and while I think she would probably like a little of her own time occasionally, as would any mom, I know how she prefers a house full of laughter.

Our family has changed enormously through the additions of my three sisters, but partly because my parents started over with what has essentially become a second family.  My biological sister and I are so much older we could be the younger girls’ aunts, and defining our relationships with them has been a different journey than it would have been if we were all kids.  But we absolutely love our crazy family, and my boys have never known the relative simplicity of my old, unblended one.  They have aunts young enough to be their cousins, and from my littlest sister they’ve learned what Spanish sounds like.  They know that children come into families after all kinds of different journeys, and the only racial difference they’ve noticed so far is that their aunts have darker hair than they do.  It’s an experience that not all children get to have, and I know growing up in a family of different types and different backgrounds will continue to bless my boys’ lives as it has blessed mine.

My mom, adopted sisters, husband, and sons.

My mom, sisters Evelyn, Yoselin, and Flor, my husband, and our sons.

Parts of this were originally published on Greeley Moms.

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