This post comes from Emilie Palmer, a volunteer leader for the organization COLAGE, in celebration of National Adoption Month. COLAGE unites people with LGBTQ parents andsupports them as they nurture and empower each other to be skilled, self-confident, and just leaders in our collective communities.

My mom has been my number one hero since the eighth month of my life when she adopted me from China. At the time, my mom was with her ex-partner, Mimi, and with the two of them and the one me, we became a family.

Being adopted has taught me that a family cannot be defined in a one-size fits all model.

My definition of family has morphed from being a child of a man and a woman in China, to being a sister to all the other kids in the orphanage, to being a daughter to two amazing and loving moms. With all the families I’ve had the privilege of being a part of, I am grateful for all, and recognize them all differently and have learned a great deal about it what it means to be a family.

Family can be defined by biology and blood, like the family I have back in China. It can be defined by circumstance and those closest to you can be a chosen family, like the other children in the orphanage. And it can be defined with love, commitment, and the will to create a family, like what my parents did. Above all, l am proud of each of the families I belonged to, I am thankful for the family I am most currently living in today. I believe that no matter how each family is created or defined, all families are unique, strong, and worthy of existing. I am the person I am today because of my hero, because she adopted me and gave me a perspective about family that I might have never understood if I were still in China today.

Stay tuned to the HRC blog for more throughout National Adoption Month and visit for more resources.

Filed under: Adoption, Parenting

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