As an adoptive parent, blood relations do not define family. My situation is unique in that my son is adopted and has two biological siblings who were adopted by two different families. We consider those families our extended family..
Family are the people with whom we choose to spend our time making memories, who we will support unconditionally through thick and thin. This may include step-parents, step-siblings, old friends, in addition to those related by blood.
I am divorced and remarried, so my immediate family is myself and my husband, my son, Logan, who is eight years old, and two step-daughters, who are nine and seven. My parents are nearby, so I have my parents and my aunts, uncles, cousins that I also consider my family. These people are always there for me.
It is also interesting having step-children. The blended family dynamic is not often discussed and I never knew about the challenges of a blended family until I found myself in that situation. It has been challenging but also rewarding.
When my son was three, my ex-husband and I separated and began the divorce process. Our marriage had been unhappy for years and we tried a significant amount of marriage therapy, but in the end we had differences that were insurmountable. However, the one issue where we always saw eye to eye was putting the best interests of our son first. We knew this meant putting our differences aside to parent as a team even after the divorce.
The divorce process is never pleasant, and there were of course some difficult times during the divorce and the transition to shared custody of our son. However, we knew that his happiness depended on us insulating him from the conflict between the two of us. We both learned to put on a happy face for the sake of our son, and eventually the faked happiness turned into genuine happiness as we both moved on with creating a new and happier life for ourselves.
My ex-husband and I are now both remarried, and our son loves his new step-parents and step-sisters We are both actively involved parents and give each other flexibility so that we can do everything possible to foster a positive relationship between our son and his other parent. Our son is extremely well adjusted and happy because of this, and I enjoy a full life with a career I love, travel, a new family, and pursuit of hobbies without the stress and sadness of an unhappy relationship. Divorce can be a blessing for all involved!
I love to travel. My last big trip was to Machu Picchu in Peru, and my husband and I are getting certified to scuba dive for an upcoming trip to Bonaire. A few months later we head to Paris and Bordeaux. We also like to camp and hike and do that frequently. I grew up camping and have been camping all over the country with my parentsOur last camping trip was in the North Georgia Mountains. We had no cell phone coverage and were completely off the grid. It was a great family trip because we spent our time playing with the children in a stream, visiting a farm with animals, playing board games, and interacting as a family. We enjoyed good old fashioned family time, making s’mores and trout fishing.
Camping helps me realize the importance of slowing down, unplugging, and connecting with nature and family. As a family law attorney, camping helps shape my belief of the importance of family and relationships. I realize that having close bonds does not have to be complicated or expensive. Simple, inexpensive experiences help a family be cohesive. I bring that knowledge into my practice when talking to parents about what life looks like after a divorce. Typically, a client’s standard of living changes after divorce because one household is split into two. Because I am divorced and because of my background and beliefs about what is really important, I can help my clients understand that while they may have less money after divorce, they can have a higher quality of life.
Atlanta Divorce Law Group