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Defining Family

Defining Family
by Audrey Bazyk, Birthmother, Adoptee

When you Google the definition of family it will tell you that it is “a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.” Although this definition applies to some of the aspects of what a family is, I will argue that this isn’t an all-encompassing definition of what family means to all the people in our lives.

The most beautiful thing about the word family is that it has an ever-changing meaning for all of us. It’s the people who raise us, friends, and even unanticipated events that grow families and nurture our lives. One thing about the word family that seems to always remain, even as our definition of it changes, is that we support and love one another in both good times and bad. And I know everyone’s family is different, but I think some aspect of support and love is what brings people together and forms all the varying definitions of family.

At first glance, my family appears to be very average; like Google’s definition of it. I have a dad, a mom, and a brother. But what you wouldn’t know at that initial look is that I actually have four sets of grandparents, siblings, a bunch of extra cousins, and a birthmom and birthdad. My family is significantly more intricate than average because I am an adoptee and also a birthmom.

Growing up as an adoptee, I have always had an open relationship with my birthmom. We see each other at least once a year and talk on the phone often. And when I unexpectedly found out that I was pregnant, my birthmom and I talked on the phone every week throughout my pregnancy; coaching me and guiding me through the emotional challenges that I was faced with as I planned for the adoption of my daughter.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was in shock. Once that shock simmered, I knew right away that I wanted to have an adoption plan. I knew I wasn’t ready to be a mom and my daughter’s birthfather was not ready to be a dad either.

Although I knew what I wanted right from the beginning, that didn’t mean it was necessarily easy throughout the whole process. I faced many challenges while pregnant; people making judgments of me and my decision, the judgments I made of myself, and the anticipated fear of the transition from being pregnant to becoming a birthmom. With these challenges in mind, I knew that if I didn’t plan everything I could, it would make this journey much more difficult for me. I needed to put everything into place, so I could do what I needed to do: give the best life I could possibly give to my daughter.

The support that a family offers is one that I know very well and I am very lucky to have it. My parents and birthmom were supports to me throughout my pregnancy. We had ups and downs, as all families do, but we supported each other through the whole process. That support and that love was something I knew I could give to my daughter because that is what my birthmom knew I deserved and gave to me through adoption; which I think was the best way she possibly could have. My very large, intricate family, is now filled with love and support that I could never imagine my life without.

The one thing I didn’t consider in all my planning was how much my definition of family was going to change. It seems like I would have understood this in the first place because I knew I wanted an open adoption, but I never imagined it would be as wonderful as it is now. We see each other regularly, have become great friends, and they are a part of my newly defined family.