The Ultimate Gratitude Challenge Day 3: Family

Growing up, "family" has meant a variety of things to me. Being adopted at the age of 6 weeks old automatically put me in the position to know of no other family but my adoptive family's, unless I was to later connect with my biological family. I grew up in my adoptive family without siblings, and was somewhat close with my extended family when I was younger. Due to my experiences, I quickly learned that "family" is not solidified by blood, or even by legal bonds, for that matter. Family can be defined by the special, close-knit relationships that may develop through friendships or those whom you work with.

In so many ways, my work with PFLAG has given me an entirely new family. Members of our nonprofit--especially our board, have always been a strong support system for me. The older individuals became wise parent figures, and the youth became my closest confidants.

The ladies I work with in retail became my sisters, always there for the monumental moments and pitfalls of growing up, sharing a boss, and sharing a common work-related goal. This helped to fill the void of absent siblings, as well as a missing larger family connection.

For me, family is the strongest group of individuals that have always been there when I had some sort of struggle, that never turned their backs when I was suffering. I am forever in debt to my many families for sticking by me through thick and thin, as well as to those who helped me redefine the meaning of "family".

Not everything always comes easy, but we can work to improve our current situation.