I had printed 150 pictures from things we have done as a family since October. Lots and lots of pictures of the boys playing together, being silly and celebrating the holidays. I had also printed the pictures we've received of Brit over the past few months.
While I was doing that, BF was putting all the rest of the photos in an album.
And during that time, I realized how much our love has grown. Not just the love between the two of us, but the love between all 7 of us.
I love BF's kids. He loves mine. We show all of the children affection and attention, irregardless of who has the biological connection. Honestly, there are many times that if you saw all of us interacting, you might not know who was born to who.
|Brotherly love (the two 12 year olds)|
The first words out of my boys mouths when I pick them up after work each day is "Does BF have the boys tonight?" And if I say no, that it is a mom day for them, they moan and are visibly disappointed. (I usually follow it up with "What am I? Chopped liver?!?!)
But back to my reflections about familial love...
Just because my boys love BF, it does not in any way change their love for their father. They still think their dad walks on water. They are crazy about him.
|Pals - our two youngest|
We have never had to define it. Is is understood. They are allowed to love BF without having split loyalty to their father. BF does not try to be their dad. He clearly understand that role belongs to their father. But he can love them the same, no title required. No 'competition' for first place.
There is plenty of love to go around for all of us. We didn't have to divide what love we had prior to meeting each other, instead we just grew more.
Before adoption changed my life, I would not have reflected much on something as natural as this.
|My sisters and mom|
Since relinquishment, I am learning that not all families operate like this. Apparently there is a sense of clan that some families have the does not allow others in very easily. I have also learned that when it comes to children, some adults find claiming ownership very important. Establishing the child as one of their clan, and ONLY their clan is important.
|Me, my (former step) daughter and her mom. Still family in spite of divorce.|
Since relinquishment, I have also learned that there are ALOT of families who are like mine. They grow their love based on the people who enter their lives.
I now have a new appreciation for those kinds of people. The kind of people who believe that there can never be too much love. And that the love well has no bottom. You can keep dipping in as many times as you wish.
Through all of the heartache adoption has caused me, it has also made me appreciate things so much more than I used to. And I now recognize and appreciate those who let their love grow and love without boundaries.
|Yes, I will eat your pizza in front of your friends at school!|
|Driving the golf cart together - heaven help us|
|Checking out chicks at the mall|
|J does come around when there are presents.|
PS - There is no picture of my oldest son with any of the other boys. It is amazing how once a child turns 18, he is no longer nearly as interested in staying home to play with his little brothers. :)
Here is just a Christmas picture of him for good measure!
PPS - Here are pictures of the children with each of their biological parents, in case you wondered who was born to who. Personally, I think it is hard to tell when we are all together.