• Modern Family: 5 Unconventional Parents and their Stories of Love

    Get to know the changing face of today’s family and how love makes it all possible.
  • The family as we know it is changing as quickly as the times. It used to mean that a man and a woman become one and bear children of their own, but these five families show us that though non-traditional, family is what they make it to be.

     

    INTERRACIAL FAMILY

    Amor Maclang, 37
    Married to Brad Geiser, 46, American-Jewish
    Mom to Peggy, 10

    Maclang-Geiser family

    Coming together: We met at a hotel lobby in Quebec, Canada while we were in different business conferences. [Culture shock in the early stages of our marriage] happened more to my husband. I was far more familiar with the ways of Americans than he was with the ways of Filipinos. Happily, he’s a fast learner.

    We both started with nothing and built our life from the ground up, doing everything together, including setting up our own public relations and social marketing company, GeiserMaclang.

    Our family dynamics: I am the more spiritual one in our family. My husband is more domestic and concerned with running the house and keeping everyone disciplined, but we each try our best to be supportive of what the other is doing. We had to learn how to let go of work when we are at home.

    The challenges of an interracial family: It was hard for Brad to accept children sleeping beside their parents, grandparents, etc. In his culture, it is wrong and harmful to a child’s development. Since then, he has modified his stance to “It’s okay once in a while.”

    The joys of my modern family: Gaining perspective. We experience the same things but understand them very differently. I think it has helped us overcome a lot of things.

    I really don’t think we could fit in the mold of a traditional family. But I don’t think anyone else understands me the way he does or would give me that balance of space and support to go after everything I’ve ever wanted. I even think that, sometimes, my parents love him more than they love me!

    My advice to other families in the same situation: It takes real commitment from both sides to make things work and the belief that there is always a solution to any issue.

    I wouldn’t trade my family for anything because... they have made me who I am.

     

    ADOPTED FAMILY

    Chary Mercado, 44
    Married to Lito Mercado, 46
    Mom to Lucas, 13, and Maya, 9

    Chary Mercado and sonOn making the decision: Even before my husband and I got married, we decided it would make more sense for us to adopt kids since my work with homeless children made me aware of how many kids out there need homes. 

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    On raising the kids: We got our children when they were still babies, so we’re the only parents they’ve ever known. The getting-to-know-you phase was the same experience as with any other newborn entering any family. It’s a lot of work, but it has a lot of priceless moments, too. I am prepared to help my kids search for their biological parents much later on in life, but only if they express an interest in searching. For now, I help them understand adoption in a positive way.

    Family dynamics: They’ve known no other mom, and there hasn’t been a single moment that I haven’t felt like their mom. We’re very close, and my kids have never doubted for a second that we love them more than anything. We always tell them that taking them into our family was the best decision we have ever made, and it’s true.

    My fears for my kids are planted by other people who are skeptical about adoption. I am worried that they may meet some ignorant people who’ll say something nasty or unwarranted about their genetic background. That’s why I take adoption advocacy quite seriously.        

    The challenges of adoption: Managing others’ expectations. It’s not like we’re ignorant of the risks involved; we just can’t let those fears stand in the way of doing what we have our heart set on. 

    The joys of my modern family... are the same as the joys of having a child. That would depend on how much time, love, and patience you shower on your child. Most of the time, I do not think we are any different. Once in a while, however, when my kids have to perform in school, or when I am interviewed about their adoptions, I feel a responsibility to show the world there is nothing to fear about it. I want to celebrate my children’s achievements to show the world that adopted kids can shine as long as they are given unconditional love and opportunities to grow. 

    I want to make my kids aware that they have the power to be positive role models for adoption. It’s a bit of a responsibility, but it’s also an opportunity to make a difference in our society.

    My advice to other families in the same situation: For as long as you have love to give and realistic expectations, you can enjoy the pleasures of parenthood, which eclipse all other good experiences I have had so far by a million miles.

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    However, I must admit that adoption is not for everyone. Some people, even those with the kindest hearts or the sweetest of temperaments, cannot make the leap of faith required of adoptive parents. Both parents have to be committed 110 percent to make it work.

    I wouldn’t trade my family for anything because… their welfare and their happiness are the most important thing to me. Nothing else comes close.

     

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