The buck stops with me, genetically. Although I have many brothers and sisters, they are all adopted or step-siblings. My closest genetic relatives are: my mother, her half-brother, and my three cousins, who are, yes, technically related to me, but fairly distantly from a genetic standpoint.
I grew up in a family where “blood” was not considered particularly important. My mother’s three brothers (two step, one half) were my uncles. They gave me sweaters for Christmas, taught me to dribble a soccer ball, and took embarrassing pictures of me with ice cream on my face. The brothers and sisters I grew up with were adopted. They snuck into my bedroom at night to ask me questions about soy farming, they distracted the cashier while I stole Mancala pebbles from the dollar store, they made me fried eggs and toast on Saturday mornings. My family, even my nuclear family (what with step-parents, et al), has always comprised mostly people who share no DNA with me.
I’ve always known I wanted children, and as soon as we adopted my first sister, I’ve known I wanted to adopt. If my deep, primal love for my siblings is any indication (and it is), when I adopt my children, I will love them fiercely and we will be as close a family as is possible to find.
But something strange is happening to me as I approach my mid-twenties–I’m starting to think about the fact that I’m making a decision to end a genetic line.