'Family is not defined by blood, it is built and maintained through love.'
My grandad Ray was technically my mum's stepdad; my brother and I knew no different and grew up calling him 'grandad' because that's exactly who he was. We (my mum, brother and I) moved in with my grandparents when I was five so we were extremely close with both my nan and grandad; they were everything to us. I don't recall ever meeting my mum's biological father and I never lost any sleep over it as I had my grandad.
When I was twelve my mum met Tony, my Pops, my stepdad - *eye rolls* I eye roll because he's not my stepdad, he's my dad. If I had the choice to pick a father I'd pick him every single time. My mum's ex husband, the sperm donor, came in and out of lives when my brother and I were younger, and then we didn't see/hear anything from him for 10+ years - you can read the letter I wrote to him here. So why would I want that when I have my Pops?
Darren and I didn't miss out, we had two extraordinary men in our lives that chose to stick around and raise us. I wouldn't change our family dynamic for anything.
Also, my nephew, Kaine, the light of my life isn't related to me, Darren or my mum by blood. Does that mean we love him any less? Does that mean he loves us any less? No. I'm his aunty, Daz is his uncle and my mum is his nanny. I only ever refer to him as my nephew because that's exactly what he is.
So, where am I going with this post? Basically, being a blood relative means fuck all. If you're of the opinion that 'blood is thicker than water' or 'you're only a family if you share blood', you're a dick. It's such an archaic, ridiculous way of looking at things and it needs to stop. We live in the twenty-first century, get your head out of your arse and stop telling people they shouldn't care/love/see/look after someone that isn't a blood relative.
Sharing genes with someone doesn't define how much they mean to you - and quite frankly, the majority of 'family' members I do share genes with I can't stand. I'm also using the term 'family' very loosely; as far as I'm concerned there's only four that mean anything to me. And shock, horror, two of them I don't share blood with.
I also don't believe that you have more of a connection with someone if you're biologically related to them. If there's a bond, a relationship and love, then nothing else matters. There's nothing more insulting than someone reducing a relationship you have with someone who isn't biologically related to you to a, 'but they're not blood' or 'but they're not your real family.' Real family, seriously? Oh, excuse me whilst I punch you in the face.
There's nothing more real than the relationship my mum has with Kaine; the love he has for her and vice versa. There's nothing more real than the respect I have for my Pops, and the assurance I have that he'll always be there for me. There was nothing more real than the friendship my brother had with our grandad, and the bond they shared. If that's not real, I don't know what is. But because we don't share blood, it means nothing? I don't think so, sweetheart. It means absolutely everything.
The only difference between my relationship with my Pops and someone who has a relationship with their biological dad is blood. He's no less my dad, I'm no less his daughter.
'Family isn't whose blood you carry, it's who you love and who loves you back.'