Says who?

 I quite often read something on a blog and think love that! Or yes! Or chuckle out loud. Then I have to decide whether to bother commenting just to say, "love that", and then I forget where I read it after, so I've decided to start collecting little gems. Sometimes great things get lost in the shuffle of a great discussion.

If you see something below you've written and care to claim it and/or expand upon it, please do.

If you see something you like, let the author know why.

"Family is not about genetics.  Family is about love.  Family is about growing together.  Family is about commitment and navigating through life together.  Family has nothing to do with DNA.  DNA is just how people are produced.  DNA does not produce families.  DNA produces people.  People make families.  Love makes families."

"Acceptance of what I have versus what I dream of is a welcome change to my weary heart and soul."

"Being an adoptee is NOT a deficit! It’s simply a part of who we are. Owning up to this identity comes with challenges and baggage, but who doesn’t have challenges and baggage?"

"Sarcasm doesn’t always translate well through the written word, so be careful when you use it".

"Exaggeration and sarcasm were used in making my point, but no actual parents were injured in the making of this post." 

"That is why I personally can not be totally against adoption, against foster care, think that kin-ship care is the only acceptable solution, and so fourth, because there so many variables involved in each situation".

"The solution has to fit the problem and real individuals involved, not theoretical formulas of the "right" answer for all."

"Biological, kinship, and adoptive families can all be equally detestable or admirable. As far as I can tell we're all just humans. That makes us capable of amazing things, both great and terrible."

"Bottom line: Be honest, ask for what you need, and if it isn't possible, WALK. I feel more liberated already."

"First of all, it’s 2011, so I’m changing the font. Fuck yeah."


  1. This is a great idea Campbell! I'm always remembering something great I've read, then don't remember exactly what is was or where I read it.

  2. I totally disagree with that first one. I think people often mistake attachment for love, and they're absolutely not the same. Attachment is exactly that: being attached to each other somehow. Love is as the Bible says: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." A lot of families have none of that... but they have attachment. Love makes saints. Attachment makes families.

    In my opinion.

  3. Hmm Mongoose. I reread the first one (which I love by the way, obviously) and don't see it being all that much different than what you're saying. Maybe it's the word love?

    I think the point is that genetics/DNA does not a family make. You totally disagree with that?

  4. We have to say that DNA doesn't make a family because if it did, the Adoptive Family, by definition, could not be a family. But I disagree as to go so far as to say biology never makes a family at all. Why should it be one or the other?

  5. "DNA is just how people are produced. DNA does not produce families."

    Devil's Advocate - what about the term "family" when used in emotionally abusive families (or physical ones)?

    DNA is "just" how people are produced. Absolutely.

    This is being very technical, however, and not taking emotional sentiments as a base foundation for the process of reproduction itself.

    "DNA produces people. People make families. Love makes families."

    It always seems in adoption arguments that it's not about blood - it's about love.

    Don't misunderstand me - love IS what makes a family. But it is not the only thing. Many people are born into families who aren't sentimentally families at all, but just happen to be connected through DNA. They are still considered the "nuclear" family because of biology, regardless if love is there (and NOT that I would agree on the importance of keeping a family together who does NOT give a shit about each other).

    It just seems almost like one of those "Well, family isn't about DNA, and since adoption can't be [directed] created by DNA, let's discount it!" arguments. :\

    I don't know, maybe abusive mothers out there really do hate their children and wish they had aborted and never gotten pregnant. But they weren't always abusive. Being abusive doesn't make one a real mother, but it sure as hell doesn't stand to define the person in his/her entirety, either - which is often the stance taken in the nature vs. nurture adoption debates.

  6. I'm pretty sure the author of that comment knows all too well that DNA alone is not enough to make someone family.

    I don't mean this to be rude but maybe those of us that have the privilege of having a family, or two, or three, don't really get what it's like to have none at all.

    "Many people are born into families who aren't sentimentally families at all, but just happen to be connected through DNA."

    I think this is kind of the point. We are all connected to someone through DNA, but we are not all connected to someone who we think of sentimentally/lovingly or are "attached" to as parents, or family.

    Of course family is technically made by DNA, but DNA doesn't guarantee a family dynamic.

    The first comment wasn't made in reference to adoption.

  7. DNA doesn't guarantee family in the most meaningful sense of the word. Families that are chronically abusive have ceased to be families--the people may be related but the roles have been abdicated.

    I think this question resonates depending on who and where you are in all this and what your experiences have been.

  8. You wrote some of those I remember!

    Oh my definition of family is anyone you should not french kiss.

  9. I don't think the point of the quote is only that DNA isn't what makes families. It's definitely most insistent that love is what makes families, and I think that's not at all true.

    I don't even think it's true that "DNA doesn't make families." It absolutely does, otherwise why would adoptees consider their biological relatives to be family? They haven't "grown together" or "navigated through life together." Biological relationships are very meaningful. If biological descent didn't matter to us, why would we look into the lives of our ancestors? One of my ancestors won fame on the Second Crusade. If I was adopted, would it matter to me in anyway that my mother's ancestor won fame on crusade? I doubt it. That ancestor is only of any interest to me because we're related by blood.

    Attachment relationships are also very meaningful, otherwise how would marriage work? This does not detract from the validity of blood in forming families; it's just another process by which families form. To claim that either one or the other is not what makes family flies in the face of the obvious.

    But as for the emphasis on "love" in that first quote, I certainly maintain that they got it all wrong. Of all the things that "create families", I would say "love" is the least of it. Either attachment or DNA are necessary; there is no "family" without one or the other. Love? I'm sure billions of family have no "love". But they all have either DNA or attachment; most of them have both.

  10. I only wrote one Marilynn :P

    The first quote about family resonates with me. Not everyone needs to feel the same.

  11. More devil's advocacy - if love isn't enough to create the bonds of family how does one justify marriage?

    Campbell, this is awesome. I hope this becomes a running list. And the last one is my favorite.

  12. Addendum - it's worth noting that English has, among widely spoken languages, a terrible dirth of synonyms for the sake of clarity and specificity. When we speak of love as attachment many other languages have a specific word for that connotation. The same is true for physical love, the tempestuous love of youthful passion, love that grows through years of relationship, love of friendship, et cetera. If we're to begin arguing over syntax it is important to remember that we're using one of the least precise languages on the planet.

  13. Haha Iam, thanks. The last one made me laugh out loud when I got to it after reading much New Year "stuff".

    Very good point on the English language.

  14. "Of course family is technically made by DNA, but DNA doesn't guarantee a family dynamic."

    I agree with this. Majorly.

    I'd also like to point out that friends who are one's "chosen" family are not under the same familial obligation as blood collections.

    (Eg. My best friend is "like" my sister. But I'm not obligated to consider her as "family" - she just is. Still, she's not as "important" in the hierarchy meaning of family - adoptive & blood connections come first, regardless of whether I "consider" her to be family.)

  15. "I don't think the point of the quote is only that DNA isn't what makes families. It's definitely most insistent that love is what makes families, and I think that's not at all true."

    Honestly, it's not that I disagree with the above quotes that Campbell displayed - it's that I only ever see this "DNA doesn't make families!" in the context of *adoption*.

    Like it has to be either-or because one type of family requires DNA to even exist as biologically-connected human beings, and the other type of family requires legalities as the base foundation to *become* a family.

  16. In searching for what Mei Ling was quoting, I ended up reading the following and I would just like to comment.

    "...otherwise why would adoptees consider their biological relatives to be family?" Personally, the only biological relative I have that "feels" like family to me is my son. I am not saying that won't change but after 47 years every other single person that feel to me like family are people I do not share DNA with.

    "If I was adopted, would it matter to me in anyway that my mother's ancestor won fame on crusade? I doubt it." You may be right in this. If you were adopted, it may not matter to you, but it may to me. I've just been thinking of several of my family members that I feel proud of and some, not so proud of. People I think are nuts, people I think are amazing and to be blunt, I won't have my family marginalized on my own blog and how you've worded things is now making it feel that way.

  17. "blood collections" was obviously supposed to be "blood connections."

    ... it's been a long day. >.>

  18. Well I know none of your family or the relations between any of them so I can't very well marginalize any of them; if that's how it sounds like to you it was certainly not my intention and I'm sorry for the misunderstanding. If you're attached to non-blood relatives and not attached to blood relatives, that's perfectly within the realm of what I was saying: that blood and/OR attachment makes families. But that still doesn't detract from the validity of DNA as a bond between people; just because it's not true in every single case doesn't mean it's not true at all.


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