We adopted 2 couples into our family to be aunts and uncles to Minerva.
One has been my good friend since high school. Tracy and Todd were our matron and man of honor when Mark and I got married. Honestly, our wedding would have been a mess without them organizing and cooking. We got married in a huge mountain meadow and we all horse camped for the duration. They don’t have kids and thus have the energy and creativity remaining to be fun and interesting on those days when I just want to curl up in a ball and sleep.
Terry is also a friend from school. We were adults-in-college together and became friends. We have a lot of life-parallels that I’ve never known with anyone else. She and her husband are fun, funky and kind and they love herding dogs.
I put candle lanterns all over the dam and bridge behind our house and just after dusk Mark, our 3 children and I all went across to the far side and the potential aunts and uncles waited on the bridge. Minerva led us all across the dam to the bridge where she told them what she had to offer them: songs, paintings, and when they’re old she’ll read to them in the nursing home. (This statement received a little titter). Then one member of each of our friend’s family told Minerva what they had to offer her in her already abundantly familied life.
Terry offered reading, sitting, food and a shoulder in such a beautifully eloquent and loving way that I got all teary eyed.. Todd offered the same but with the conditions that Minerva must always honor Mark and I; do her best in school; and that she give to/help those in need. Terry and Sidney nodded their heads as Todd spoke and added that to their own list.
Then Minerva led us off the bridge surrounded by her new aunts and uncles and we all came inside and toasted our new family. Then we ate garlic encrusted venison with fruit compote; ratatouille on romaine lettuce leaves; salmon spread; feta and olive dip; and other small bites.
It was fun. It was also a life changing event for all of us, I believe. Minerva was so unbelievably excited to have these wonderful friends accept her into their families and make them, officially, a part of ours.
This all started as a desire for godparents but since we are not traditionally religious, asking our likewise not-religious friends to take on our child’s religious upbringing would have been ridiculous. Having them as family means they can influence her, love her and that she can love them and enjoy their company without a whole lot of confusion about what we’re all supposed to be doing. This is about companionship, strong and positive adult role models and, because they’re all enough like my family to be hungry all of the time, it’s about food…for our bodies, our hearts and our souls.