By Sukhi Borse |

A family is a group of people who someone can count on in whatever situation and who will love someone unconditionally. It is not defined by blood lines and family pedigrees. A family is a group of people who wholeheartedly want and seek the best for us.

I’m lucky that I have two incredibly dedicated parents who have given their all for me and my brother. I recognize how privileged I am to have two upstanding role models in my life who have shaped me to become the person I am today.

That is not to say that I haven’t had my fair share of grief with my other family members, my relationship with my remaining grandparents is strained due to a constant flow of sexism and criticism from both of them. They did not love me unconditionally and their love came at the cost of my happiness.  

It took me a long time to realize how to define family. At first, I struggled with feeling like I had an obligation to care for people who have never reciprocated that same care. I thought to myself, “they’re my family; I can’t just stop having a relationship with them- that would be wrong.” It isn’t though. After finding a friend who has valued me even when I didn’t find worth in myself, I realized that she is more of a family to me than my grandparents ever have been.

Many of my friends have grown up in broken homes where they lacked the support and care from their mothers and/or fathers. I am aware that this is not a unique situation; this represents a very normal picture of what home life commonly resembles. Because this is such a norm, I think it’s imperative to recognize that families look different and are specialized to every single person’s life. 

Different doesn’t mean bad; it just means not the same as you. Those differences exist because everyone has their own story. It would be ignorant of us to assume that everyone is born into a family that is capable of giving them unconditional love.

We didn’t have a choice to come into this world and for many, the world that they were born into wasn’t one filled with love and care from their parents. W must recognize that many people didn’t receive the love they needed at a very early age and that is a privilege to be in a family where we feel secure and cared for.

We must remember to always be grateful if this is our circumstance; I know I sure am.

If people have created a community for themselves that happens to not be with their birth parents or blood relatives it is their utmost right to do what feels best for them. I know my best friend, who I met here at Baylor, is someone I consider family.  She knows me better than most of my family and she cares for me like some of my family never has.

If I can find that feeling of acceptance, security, and happiness and, above all else, love from people other than their birth family, then I am more than happy to define family by love rather than blood.