18 February 1997
What Family Is To Me
Since birth, I have grown up with a different concept of family than most people
do. Instead of being born into my biological family, I was adopted into my given family. I
have known I was adopted, for as long as I can remember because my parents made sure
to tell me so, at the earliest age that I could understand. By adopting me and my sister
into the family, my parents showed that family means love, respect and sacrifice. My
adoption gave me a family to belong to and be loved by.
Love is the first part in any family. I can be defined in more ways than one.
Family love is the strongest type because it is unconditional. This unconditional love
means that no matter what happens my family will still love me. They have shown this
love for twenty years now. And after all the things I have done wrong, or done badly, my
family still shows this unconditional love to me and to each other.
The second part in a family is respect and trust. Trust is something that can take
years to build, but can be broken very easily. By breaking trust with a family member one
is also breaking respect of the family. The two ideas go hand in hand. My parents
respected me enough to tell me that I was adopted, instead of lying to me and having me
find out later in life that I wasn't their biological son. This respect that my parents gave
me, in turn gave me their trust. And I gave them the respect and trust that was given to
Without sacrifice, a family cannot be. The sacrifices that family members make for
each other show the willingness to be an unselfish part of a family. Sacrifices also display
the love, respect and trust in a family. I know that even though some of the time it may
not seem that my parents would sacrifice anything for me, I realize that they would do
anything for and everything for me and that I would do the same for them. At times it's
the smallest sacrifices that make the biggest difference in a family.
Families do not have to be biological. Here in Altoona, I have a chosen family of
friends who I consider to be just as close as a family. Among my chosen family, one can
find love, respect and trust, and sacrifice for one another. As a chosen family we still
work the same way that a given family does, by having a sense of belonging and a sense of
love toward each other.
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