I saw this trailer for the moving documentary, A Family Is A Family Is A Family and it reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend of mine two weeks ago. My friend is in his early 20s and like most young adults, he has already set his maximum age of when he will have kids, how many he wants and the gender he prefers. He also insists on his children being of his blood. I was not immune to this mindset.
The older I became, the more I realized that I didn't want to be like my parents. My mom was 17 and my dad 19 when they had my older brother. It's not important for me to be a young dad. It's more important for me to live my life and have kids when I am emotionally ready and financially stable to provide a good life for them. If I followed in my father's footsteps, at 35, I'd have a 16-year old, a 13-year old and an 11-year old. *shiver* Not only would that have hindered my life goals, but it wouldn't have been fair to my kids. My friend, though a fantastic uncle, is selfishly focusing on his needs and not the needs of his unborn children.
Growing up, it was always important to me to have children born of my blood. Eventually I figured I'd have one child sharing my DNA and I'd adopt others as well because there are so many babies, children and even teenagers who need homes and a family to love and nurture them. After living in Ukraine and volunteering in an orphanage, the importance of procreating has significantly diminished. Why should I bring a new life into this world when there are so many others who already lack homes and families? If I do decide to have children, I will most likely adopt. Luckily I'm an uncle to three amazing nephews and one beautiful niece, so the duty of carrying on the bloodline has been completed.
Regardless, as I said to my friend a couple of weeks ago, a family isn't defined by blood or DNA. A family isn't defined by restrictive conditions. A family is defined by love. A family is a family.
**The documentary A Family Is A Family Is A Family airs Sunday, January 31, 7pm on HBO. From the website:
In A Family Is Family Is A Family, kids offer touching, profound and often funny insights about what being a family means to them. Among those featured are: children with two fathers or two mothers; a girl whose mother and father adopted her in China; three brothers who live with their mother and grandmother; a pair of mothers who are getting married to make one big family; and families with adopted kids and children born through in-vitro fertilization.
Lianne and Katia think a family is a mommy and a daddy. Franklin says a family is "a bunch of people that live together for their life." Kennan and Adam are nearly stumped trying to name all the possible combinations of parents and kids. Becky sums it up best, saying, "It doesn't matter if you have one parent. It doesn't matter if you have two moms. It doesn't matter if you have two dads. Just stick with it. A family is a family."