While I believe in a great many things, one that has affected many aspects of my view on life is my belief that the statement “Blood is thicker than water” is one of the greatest fallacies of all time. I say this with the absolute certainty knowing that a great many people will disagree with me for a thousand different reasons, but my philosophy is unwavering.
I know a lot of people… a lot of awesome people. I have a few close friends, and I can depend on them for basically anything. If I were crying my eyes out over something stupid, I could call any one of them and just talk about what’s bothering me, and they would know exactly how to make me feel better. But while this is a great thing, and don’t get me wrong, I would never doubt for a moment how amazing it is… it is not the reason for my belief.
I was adopted at a very young age. I have always appreciated how special that makes me; that I wasn’t just a happy inconvenience, that my parents chose me; that I was long-awaited; that there were other parents who wanted me, but because of common heritage (I am one quarter Native American, and so is my adoptive mother), they were the lucky ones; and perhaps most importantly, I didn’t have to experience the ills of the system because I was so young. I love that I’m adopted. I’ve always accepted it with the utmost willingness and pride.
Last month, my mom and I went to my cousin’s wedding, which is basically just a glorified family reunion for my mother’s huge, dysfunctional extended family… well, my huge, dysfunctional extended family. Now that I’m older, I find myself realizing at enormous functions such as this one that to my knowledge, I have never actually met anyone who is related to me by blood. It is an odd feeling, this complete detachment from your own personal genetic makeup. But the love I receive from these people, these people who are not obligated to love me by any sort of familial unwritten law, is irreplaceable. I am everyone’s favorite niece (and I’m so modest), and I get all the embarrassing speeches about how much I’ve grown since the last time they’ve seen me. I get the concern of my uncle; the promise that if I ever need anything, he’ll drive all five hundred miles to make sure everything is alright. No matter what is happening in my life, I know that if I ask, I’ll always have someone to help me. That’s family. And it has nothing to do with a common genetic quirk, like Uncle Roy’s nose or a tendency towards high blood pressure. It has nothing to do with the same blood coursing through our veins. It’s just love. And it can come from anyone. This anchors me, and it’s perfect.
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