How was it seeing your mom?”

What do you mean, she’s right there.”

No, I mean your real mom.”

That’s when his sister piped in: “You mean, his birth mother?”

He replied: “Same thing.”

No, it’s not the same thing at all. Our mom is his real mom – just like she’s my real mom.”


Later, as she recounted the experience to me, this teenage girl said, “It offended me. It hurt me. At the time, I thought he was mean, but now I realize he just didn’t get it. I don’t understand how people can be so ignorant.”

Not long after that experience, she posted a picture on Instagram and talked about just how real her family is. She shared how grateful she is to her brother’s birth mother. She is well aware that her brother wouldn’t be hers if it weren’t for an unselfish, loving birth mother. And then, in the short paragraph under her Instagram picture, she exposed her heart:

Some of my family has had the pleasure of being able to meet my older brother’s birth mother. I’m so thankful that she made the decision 21 years ago to place him for adoption and that my family was able to become his family forever. Adoption is such an amazing thing. I know a lot of people are going to think, “Oh, so he’s not her ‘real’ brother.” People have asked me if he is and have said straight to my face that he’s not really my brother in the past. That is completely false. He is just as much my sibling as all of my other siblings are. Just because he wasn’t born into my family doesn’t make him any less my brother. He is ours. I’m thankful for eternal families … I’m grateful families are forever.”

The reality of families is not limited by blood. Real families are made up of love, shared experiences, laughter, and trials. They’re made from snuggles, bedtime routines, teaching, and learning. Real families are grown and nurtured by patience, celebrations, tears, and triumphs.