Redefining Family

IVF failed. Heart broken. 10k down the drain.
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IVF failed. Heart broken. 10k down the drain.

That was my status update in November 2014.

Not only did IVF not work, but there were no fertilized eggs for a next attempt. Why? Poor egg quality.

It was a devastating thing to hear, but then something amazing happened.

My sister called me and said, “I just want you to know I went to the doctor and if you want my eggs, you can have them. You don’t have to and it’s okay if you don’t, I just want you to know that I will give them to you if you want them.” (okay paraphrasing a bit but you get the idea).

That was probably one of the most generous and thoughtful things someone has ever done for me. Even as I write this, it brings tears to my eyes.

What made it particularly amazing is that I never had to ask. She provided me (us) with an option should we want it. No strings attached. No pressure. No problem either way.

In the end, our little miracle baby decided he had other plans (ha, this is totally his M.O. …always on his own agenda!).

But the offer my sister made led me to really reflect on how we define family and what family really means.

So often the definition of family is focused on blood lines. Because I have red hair, I’m asked on a regular basis “where are you from,” like I’m a unicorn or an alien. It strikes me as such an odd question. I always respond with “Columbus, OH” because that’s where I was born.

I don’t really care where my blood ancestors are from. And I wonder why we have such a strong curiosity about blood lines ― does it really matter?

Sure, genetics are interesting, but is it the key to defining family?

I don’t think so.

And with so many different ways for babies, children and families to come together these days, I think it’s about time we started redefining family.

I was raised with the value that love lines are stronger than blood lines, and I believe strongly in that truth.

I see what a disservice it is to people when we place more value on blood lines than love lines: we discredit their relationships, their place in a family, and their place in the world.

The truth is lots of people are walking around this earth feeling totally disconnected from their blood lines, and lots of people are walking around this earth feeling fully connected to their love lines.

Family is love. Genetics are cool, but they aren’t love.

I remember as a kid doing a project in biology and having to trace back our blood lines. I remember feeling different and out of place because I didn’t have that info to track. I remember hating it.

Anytime someone finds out that I’m adopted, the response is always “I didn’t know that about you.” Well, no kidding, because why would you?! I’m guessing the list of random things you don’t know about me is rather long…some others - I learned how to read in Dutch before English and I hate the texture of bananas.

Just curious if those last two strike you as a big deal??? Because to me, they are just as relevant as being adopted.

When I look around my world at the people that I am closest to, I share love lines with all of them and blood lines with exactly one.

I don’t have an adoptive mom, or dad or sister. I have a mom, a dad and a sister.

I don’t have an adoptive family. I have a family.

I don’t care about my genetic lines, so why do you?

I have no interest, no desire, no curiosity. I’m okay with it, you should be too.

Honestly, I’m tired of it being such a big deal to everyone else. Let’s mind our own families. Let’s worry a little bit less about how we’re all connected and a little bit more about being connected.

If genetics are your jam – rock on. They’re not mine, and they might not be for a lot of people. It’s time for that to be okay.

As a society we owe it to ourselves, to our families and to our communities to shift the focus. To give equal value to relationships regardless of genetic connection. To free ourselves from confining labels.

On a daily basis I witness the strength of love lines. I bet you do too.

Now is the time that we redefine family to be more about love lines and less about blood lines. Family is family, regardless of how that family came to be.

Emily Capuria is on a mission to inspire as many people as possible to take some serious right now action in order to turn their dreams into reality and finally find true, genuine happiness. Download her FREE guide on how to get the clarity and confidence you need to create a life you love here.