HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR FAMILY?
We are a rainbow. My wife and I are a progressively liberal lesbian company defiantly living in the middle of East Cobb. We have been together for 12 years and met on the internet. We finally married in Washington DC over the summer. We currently have 2 children at home. One is 15 and my daughter from a previous marriage but considers my wife just as much her parent as her biological father. The other is our 5 year old grandson who we have had custody of his entire life (My oldest daughter was 16 when she found out she was pregnant). The rest of our family has moved out already. We have a 22 year old daughter who no longer lives at home. We also have a niece (23 years old) and nephew (26 years old) who we consider like our children as their parents are either passed away or not currently active in their lives. Both of them are married and we have accepted their husband and wife with loving and open arms. We have a great nephew who is 6. On a normal day, I am either at work or school (I have three jobs plus take classes at KSU) and my wife stays home and takes care of the children. She also helps take care of her mother who is 85 by taking her to doctors appointments or just spending time with her. Life however is not easy. Our 15 year old has sever bipolar disorder and is in intensive treatment for self-harm. However, she is a wonderful and caring child who loves to deeply and too much for her own good. My grandson is the light of my world. He is in Kindergarten and enjoys super heroes and legos. We are the Typical Modern American family. A melting pot held together by love and faith.
DOES FAITH PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR FAMILY? IF YES OR NO, PLEASE EXPLAIN.
Faith is a huge part of our family. We are members of Virginia Highlands. My wife was raised with strict religious teachings and I was raised with none. We try to find a balance. Let our children find their own way but give them opportunities to be exposed to a variety of beliefs.
ARE THERE ANY CHALLENGES THAT YOUR FAMILY FACES THAT YOU FEEL ARE DISTINCT FROM OTHER FAMILIES?
We are not a nuclear family. One example was when my wife and I were married over the summer, I had to go to court to legally change my name. I often have to carry around things like power of attorney and legal papers to get things done that a typical wife or husband would have no problem with. Since my wife is actually the stay at home mom but not the biological mom or grandparent, she often falls into situations that other families would not face. Secondly, my 15 year old has severe bipolar disorder. She told us she was being severely bullied at school when we found out she had been self-harming. She has over 400 scars on her body, people often stare at her and automatically judge. They do not know that at one point this was the only way she kept the voices in her head quiet. They do not know that she has to go to therapy 4 times a week and take anti-psychotic drugs. I have actually had someone ask me if I think she did it because her parents were gay. I kindly told them "no, she did it because she lacks the proper neurotransmitter receptors in the brain and it changes her perception. In fact she inherited from her father who is straight. But thank you for your concern." Finally, raising our grandson. When my oldest daughter was pregnant at 15 and gave birth at 16, my wife and I never blinked an eye. We went out that day shopping for baby supplies. Although my daughter wants to be a mother she is not ready yet. At this point though we all know it would be more hurtful for him to go with her because he has been with us for so long. So, he is our sunshine. However, being new parents in our 40's has been difficult. Finally, I have Crohn's disease, an auto-immune disease in your intestines. I have already had cancer once, and sometimes I get very ill, as the breadwinner in the family this is very scary sometimes. But when I get sick, my family helps me get through it. We do the best we can and we never go a day without telling each other how much we love one another.
WHAT BRINGS GREAT JOY TO YOUR FAMILY?
As a family we enjoy doing a variety of things. We eat dinner together every night and family breakfast on the weekends. This is a time of reflection for our family. Perryn (5 year old) leads grace and we all hold hands with each other. No electronics are allowed and we all talk about our day. When I took a night class this last semester, I was often struck with guilt at missing these dinners.
We like to hike. Although I am extremely overweight (Crohn's medication is notorious for this side effect) we like to hike. The kids do not mind going slow for me. They explore the trails and often pick up leaves or rocks to keep (which always get left in my car). We bought a tent for the spring and are hoping to try camping next year.
We enjoy game night. We have around 40 board games. Some of our favorite games are dominoes, a Scooby Doo version of clue, a lego game, Life and Sorry just to name a few. Over the weekend my nephew was teaching my daughter to play chess.
Going thrifting. We love spending time at the thrift store hunting for treasure. Shyla (15 year old) likes over-sized men's sweaters and vintage clothing, my wife loves books, Perryn likes to look for hats and loves scarfs. He also loves digging through the toys. I like antiques and often find nice furniture for our hordes of adopted kids no longer living at home. We will often go to lunch then spend a few hours helping each other dig for treasures.
WHAT IS A WORD, QUOTE, PASSAGE, VERSE OR SAYING THAT DESCRIBES YOUR RELATIONSHIP?