What defines family? Except for physical similarities, bloodlines don’t always completely do it. I’m writing a book for which I have researched the “nature vs nurture” theories, albeit in terms of criminal behavior, which is not the topic I am addressing today. The bottom line of what I learned, though, is that nurture is more important in determining the person one becomes than nature. Of course, we can’t disregard genetic influences, as they are undeniably part of who we are, but what goes on within and outside the walls of a family dwelling are paramount in building a child’s character and establishing who they are ultimately to become.
This is even evident among animals. Take pit bulls for example. They are maligned as being a dangerous breed of animal, and it’s true that they can be more easily trained to be protective or aggressive than other breeds, but given the proper supportive environment, they can be loving and loyal family members.
Adopted children are every bit as much a part of a family as biological children. Half-siblings can love each other just as much as those with mutual parents. Even step siblings, with no biological roots, can find that bond. Think about this: Married couples don’t have common blood, at least we hope not, but their bond is as strong as it comes, sometimes even greater than with their own parents. They are family.
Families can have common blood running through everyone’s veins, they may have partially common blood or no common blood at all. A family is not just about shared DNA; it’s about shared experiences, overcoming disagreements, battling trials together, sharing laughter and good times, supporting each other through painful times, and being familiar with, and accepting of, the good, the bad, and the ugly in all of us. No, a family doesn’t necessarily have to be all about blood. A family is about love.