All in the Family

I try to do this on Thursday each week.  It doesn’t always work, more so as time goes on.  I’ve missed more weeks this year than in the previous 16 combined.  My hours and days overflow, other priorities push their shoulders into the crowd, as they should.  I hate missing deadlines, even self-imposed, especially weeks full of portentous events.

On the 18th, Adrienne, Lejla and I officially adopted each other at the courthouse downtown.  (If you are connected to my family via social networks this is not news to you.)  I’ve written only occasionally and obliquely about Lejla (that’s pronounced LAY-la) but now that she’s a) adopted and b) 18 (that happened the day after the adoption), she’s just going to have to deal with it.  She gives me plenty to deal with too, so it ain’t all one-sided.

Our Alsatian-Bosnian-Croat-German-Irish-Mexican family of three people who share no blood relation whatsoever would have been an oddity in the neighborhood in which I grew up or in many parts of modern America, but this is 21st century Vermont. 

There are all kinds of families here, for good or ill, and some things are clear: two parents are better than one, regardless of gender.  Extended family is great, but like nuclear family, intention and action count more than blood relations.  With so many blood relations so far away, we build family via community.  Twenty-five members of our family of friends crowded the courtroom to watch the legal seal be affixed to a family that has existed in fact for some time.

We belong to the community of foster and adoptive families in Vermont; for whom my esteem and affection are nearly beyond limit. We are daughters, sons, mothers and fathers.  We are old and young, women and men, lesbian, gay and straight.  Through our children and our parents our Vermont roots run deep while we also unite every quarter of the globe.  We don’t all share the same sports, political or religious beliefs, but we share the values of family and community, affection and responsibility. We don’t clock out at the end of the day; our commitments are made for lifetimes.

Don’t get carried away, a teenaged girl is a pain in the ass in ways few others can match, I’ve found.  This whole family process has made me love Adrienne in ways I might have hoped never to experience.  It’s mysterious how something like family manages to be an inconvenient hassle so much of the time, but simultaneously so fulfilling.

Actually fulfilling is the wrong word; it’s more elemental.  Necessary.  Family, however I find it, is necessary.

© Mark Floegel, 2013

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