Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.
The small ghost sat between my grandparents all the days of their lives. In those rare times when his name would come up in conversation during my childhood, I would imagine him that way. Invisible, but there. Unseen, but deeply felt.
My grandparents lived long lives as bookends to the tragedy of losing their only son. Each of their surviving daughters would eventually produce grandchildren, many of whom would eventually become parents themselves. Some would do this through birth, some through marriage, and others through the miracle of adoption.
It’s a numbers game, this continuing of a family. It is Family Math 101. Subtract, add, multiply, and try hard, really hard, not to divide. Live and love. And tell the stories of the ones who’ve gone ahead. Sometimes, they are sad stories like the small ghost boy. In any family, there are those stories. But so many happy ones, too.
The blood of my grandparents does not run through the veins of my children, but they know the stories as well as their long legged, fair-skinned cousins do. These are family stories, after all. And they are a family. A clan. A tribe. Long after I become just a story, that will still be true.
And I am their mother, the teller of the stories. Circumstances beyond all our control brought us together and we’ve been filling in each others’ blank spaces ever since. Ours is a new branch on an ancient family tree.
We belong to each other. Adoption did that.
November is National Adoption Month. For more information on Minnesota’s Waiting Children, please go to: