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Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in Families We Choose's LiveJournal:

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006
10:40 am
Hello everyone,

I realize this community's been pretty inactive. That'd be my fault, as I've gotten a bit a way from this over the years. I'm interested in kickstarting it.

Today's Thanksgiving in the United States. Those of you celebrating, what are you doing?

I'm choosing to spend the holiday with one of my best friends and a few acquaintances here in Chicago and spending a good deal of it writing my thesis.

When I started this community, it was largely because I had been effectively discarded by my parents, not welcome at holidays due to my status as a trans person. Since then, my siblings have worked to see that I'm included and my parents and I are working on rebuilding our relationship. This year, it's not so much my not being welcome so much as it is the result of me making choices to spend thanksgiving with my chosen family and my thesis and christmas with my family of origin.

Speaking of chosen family, I've decided to formalize this with my roommate and I have her set up as my "second domiciled adult" on insurance. This makes it possible for her to change jobs and have health insurance. It's also kind of nice, because it recognizes what we share which is a mutually supportive relationship (even though it's in no way romantic or sexual). She's one of my best friends and I like sharing my life with her in the way we do...so big ups to chosen family!
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005
8:45 pm
Families we choose - a thought at Thanksgiving
I know this community has been inactive, but that's actually part of the reason why I am posting here. It's a quiet corner for my thoughts, not totally hidden (if I wanted totally hidden, I'd use a private journal entry, or even *shudder* hard-copy), but out of the main flow of traffic. :-)

Today, I was given permission to stop by a friend's house to give a birthday present to his eight-year-old grandson, and to share a bite of birthday cake. It seems like such a simple thing, and yet I am so overwhelmed, again, by the generosity of their acceptance of me. So I am trying to figure out exactly why it moves me so deeply.

I've been accused of being "normal" by friends with more severe depression, eating disorders, PTSD etc., but I know that I'm not. Fundamentally, each one of us knows that we are flawed. We all feel defective to ourselves, no matter what someone else may think of us. For as long as I can remember, I have perceived myself as someone "bad" and "dangerous," even though the external events of my life don't match that perception. When I grow to love a close and happy family, I immediately perceive myself as the homewrecker, the one who is doomed either to destroy that happiness, or destroy myself in the process of trying to take something for myself that will never be mine (a la Fatal Attraction). So, the time finally comes when I am permitted to rewrite the story. I am finally allowed to make it different, to make it come out right.

Here's the scenario. I fell head-over-heels for a man who is attractive to me on so many levels that the sexual/romantic is really the least of them. It is so much more than that - it is his uncompromising moral integrity, his deep faith, his fierce devotion to his family, all of the things that make it absolutely certain that this is a home I will never wreck, because he will never let me.

My image of myself is of the person standing outside the window of a family home, watching husband, wife and children as they relax and laugh together, staring through the glass and knowing that I can never be part of a family like that, that I can never earn it or deserve it. (Why my own family doesn't fit my dream is a long story, and I am not going to get into it at this moment.) I can be the person standing outside, looking in, even when what I am looking at is a family of choice rather than a conventional family. In April of 1981, I spent about two hours pacing around outside the home of a friend, looking in the window, seeing that several other friends were in there, enjoying each other's company. I knew in my mind that they wouldn't throw me out or laugh at me, but I was so afraid that they would anyway. I wanted desperately to go in, but I "knew" that I did not deserve it. I walked up and down the block, circled around the house, even stood on the porch, straining to listen, to hear the conversation inside, but I could not allow myself to knock on that door.

That evening has become a metaphor for much of my life. I stayed on the outside, even when my rational mind told me that no one would attack me for daring to come in. I was still too afraid.

And then I met someone who let me in.

After a year and a half, no, almost two years of friendship, it is still a fresh miracle to me every single time he allows me into his home, every time that he allows me to hug his wife and to smile at his daughter and his grandchildren. It is still an amazing, staggering miracle to me that he is not too afraid of me to accept my friendship. I still see myself as a disaster waiting to happen, a bomb waiting to explode, but he doesn't see me that way. He sees me as a sister in Christ, part of the Body, and he accepts me.

For a few minutes today, I could feel like part of his family.

That is so awesome.

Thank you.

Current Mood: grateful
Tuesday, November 16th, 2004
1:40 pm
hellooooo silent community!

well. I'm from the Chicagoland area, and I just came across this community while searching through interests. wondering if anyone's keeping up with this community at all. you have a lovely profile page. My name is Jodie, and I'm currently a college student-artist-activist-type. Sociology major. if you're interested in anything else, just ask. I'm actually currently looking into intentional communities in Chicago--I desire to join one once I graduate. that's all. nice to meet you, too. cheers.

Current Mood: curious
Thursday, July 15th, 2004
5:39 pm
Charity for Chicago Family

I am a fellow LJer who just wants to let you know about this charity - I'm not going to be here spamming you to death with this stuff - I found this journal on a search of those with an interest in Chicago and the Chicago area. Please feel free to c/p this post if you can email it out to others who may be interested. :)


Nursing Mothers Worldwide Raise Money to Help with Family Tragedy

CHICAGO – June 3, 2004 – In the spring of 2004, the members of Breastfeeding.com and NursingMom.net, websites dedicated to nursing mothers who share breastfeeding information and parenting advice, decided to organize a cookbook as a charitable fundraiser.

Upon learning that a Breastfeeding.com member, Amy Lucas of Cahokia, Illinois, was tragically killed in a car accident on May 3, 2004, the members decided to donate the majority of the proceeds to the Amy Lucas Family Trust to assist in the support of her husband and five children. The Trust, managed by the Abundant Love Church in Cahokia, Illinois, will receive 80% of project profits; the remaining 20% will be donated to La Leche League International, a breastfeeding advocacy group Mrs. Lucas supported.

The cookbook, titled “Making More Than Milk: Food for the Whole Family” contains 500 recipes, helpful parenting tips and advice for nursing mothers, all contributed by members of the international Breastfeeding.com community.

The professionally published, hardcover book will cost $12.00, plus shipping. All orders must be pre-paid. Orders may be placed on-line, payment will be accepted via PayPal or by money order or personal check. Orders must be placed by July 31, 2004. Cookbooks will be delivered in September.

To order a cookbook, go to www.nursingmom.net

Our delicious cookbook contains over 500 recipes contributed by nearly 200 different members of our message board community. Recipes from all around the world are represented, many heirlooms that have been in families for generations. All recipes have been coded to denote allergens and special diets. The book includes food for every course of the meal from appetizer to dessert. Recipes range from very simple to very complex, from quick and kid-friendly to worthy of placement on a five star restaurant menu.

Looking for a simple, easy dinner that’s sure to be a hit with the kids? Try our favorite and famous CHICKEN TACOS recipe. This dish was requested so often by our members, it became the inspiration for the cookbook.

You might try the oft-requested ARTICHOKE LINGUINE recipe when putting together a quick, light meal with which to elegantly entertain guests.

You enjoy a culinary challenge? You salivate at the thought of a five course, romantic candlelit dinner for two? Take a peek at Eileen’s recipe for STUFFED SEA BASS OVER FIELD GREENS.

No matter what your level of skill or interest in cooking, you are sure to find hundreds of recipes that will delight you and your family for years to come when you add “Making More Than Milk: Food For the Whole Family” to your cookbook collection! Don’t delay, order today.

- Christine Orland, Editor


[ July 15, 2004, 05:26 PM: Message edited by: creme.de christine ]

Order Your Charity Cookbooks Here!
Thursday, June 17th, 2004
8:38 am
Trying to find a place to live
Hi. I am a twenty-something TS/TG gal, a teacher, writer, working, highly educated, decent, moral, very quiet, seeking a 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom living arrangement on a quiet street in a quiet neighborhood. Right now I can only afford $150-250 per weekAre you a homeowner seeking some extra money? Do you know someone who is? Right now, I can only afford $200 per month, but I know that this will improve soon. Among other things, you would gain a great library and someone willing to do light weekly chores. Please help ... I am in a difficult situation.

Monday, May 17th, 2004
12:48 am
Interesting article on family law and family definitions
I have come across an interesting Boston Globe article that seeks out further definitions of "family":


Do check it out! Although she doesn't mention "polyamory" specifically (and by putting it in quotes I mean it as some of my LJ friends mean it), the writer notes that U.S. laws have done a poor job of recognizing lots of other alternative family arrangements -- for example, the lesbian couple who wants to have their child's biological father recognized as part of the family, or a group of older widows who want to live together "Golden Girls"-style and support each other. Yes, there is some contract law, but it's not often acknowledged as family.

Please feel free to read and comment!

(x-posted from my own journal)
Tuesday, May 11th, 2004
7:53 pm
Your Definitions, Please?
I thought I'd get a discussion rolling by asking people a question.

So... today's question is: How do you define "immediate family," and who is in your immediate family?

One could define "immediate family" as one or more people who are a person's parents, siblings, spouse or children, whether or not they still live under the same roof. In other words, people any one of whom might be considered "next of kin" under the law.

Thus, a never-married single person who lives alone still has "immediate family" if that person still has one or both parents living, or who has a sister or a brother somewhere.

In its 1978 book Ourselves and Our Children: A Book By and For Parents (sadly, now out of print), the Boston Women's Health Book Collective defines "family" as "at least two generations of adults and children living together." So that could include a stepparent, or grandparents raising their grandchildren.

Another author quoted in Ourselves and Our Children, Mary Howell, says that the "basic defining characteristics of family are joint occupation of a household, with sharing of time and space; an exchange of unpaid services between family members; a commitment to stay together over time; and bonds of ritual, tradition and family history."

Who is my immediate family? Since my parents died, nobody at all. Hence this incredible empty void in my life, and my fascination with the topic of "family."

So, how do you define family?

Current Mood: curious
Monday, April 26th, 2004
4:46 pm
Hello out there...
I've just joined ... what a quiet community! But the title and topic both intrigue me.

Is anyone interested in using this community for a discussion of how we chose our families, or how we might go about defining what "family" means in the 21st century?

Looking for good discussions here!

Current Mood: hopeful
Wednesday, November 26th, 2003
1:39 pm
chosenfamily- testing 1 2 3

I just joined this group.... how are y'all doing with the holidays?
Friday, October 31st, 2003
9:09 am
This community is designed to be a space for discussion and creation of "Families We Choose".

It is most important for people to be cognisant that every person is a person of value worthy of dignity and respect..and also to realize that sometimes chosen families take different shapes and sizes. Some of us have been discarded or disowned by our families of origin, others cannot be themselves with their families of origin, still others simply cannot make it home to see their families of origin. Either way, whether by choice or by necessity, we are people in need of community and in need of our own chosen family.

Its focus may originally be in the Chicagoland area and creating holiday gatherings among chosen families, but it may eventually branch out to other cities and locations.
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