When most people think of family, they think of their immediate blood relatives. I do too, to a certain extent. I also think of all of the people who comprise our “intentional” family. I think the concept of intentional family can best be described as the family you get to choose. The people God places in your life that become your immediate support network. Our whole family loves us. All the firefighters, Fireman Jim’s family, the U Penn basketball team, Fireman Kevin’s family, a multitude of friends, and of course our immediate blood relatives.
However, without the wide base of support from all of these groups of people we would never have survived the last 14 months. It seems as though at just the right moment God dropped a new person into our lives to fill in a gap, where a need had not been met. Relationships that are deep have grown out of the last years hardship. Bonds have been foraged with people that we never expected. We are treated like family by people we never knew 14 months ago. They have helped us to the extent that we have not had to limp along on this journey, but have thrived.
From the depths of my heart, I want to express how moved I have been by Peoples love for our son and our family. It has shifted my perspective quite a bit. I never felt welcomed by my extended family, nor do I have any relationship with most of them. I always saw it as a void in my life. It produced a longing and a desire to replace them. I sought out a new “family” with desperation. I made my own family with my husband to try to fill some of the void. But, I never could quite get a hold of what I was looking for. I felt a deep sense of rejection and worthlessness. It was not easy to live in my world.
What changed this despair into joy are all the people you see in the photos above. God dropping each one into our lives to fill the void of traditional extended family. My perspective is one that includes these people in my definition of what comprises a healthy family. There is plenty of love to go around, plenty of ears to listen, plenty of smiles, plenty of acts of selfless love exchanged, and a sense of belonging. We know where our home is, and it is not just in one place. But, rather in the company of people we know are invested in our lives. There not going anywhere. That is what my family looks like. God had a plan for us.
With Love, Faith