Belonging

Posted by Kirk. 

We all have an instinct to belong to a family. Some of us are born into one, others join a family by choice, some create family, and some of us have a little bit of each those.  I was raised in Uniontown, Pennsylvania at the foot of the Laurel Highlands mountain range.  I wasn't born there, but it is where I spent the majority of my childhood. Uniontown, population 12,000(ish), is about 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. In the 19th century it was at the center of coal mining production. Even today, it actually has a pretty spectacular skyline for a town of its size.  It's a very blue collar kinda place, although both of my parents work in the helping profession. They have been caregivers and helpers all of their lives.  My Dad, a Presbyterian minister & teacher. My Mom, a registered nurse at the local hospital, which also happens to be the county's biggest employer.  I have an older sister and a younger brother.  While my siblings and I certainly had some rivalry and many harsh exchanges, overall we were glad to have each other.  We bonded with each other through lots of playtime. We created elaborate stories that involved cross-over relationships between action figures and Barbie dolls, or Star Wars and My Little Ponies. We were deeply immersed in the stories that we created. We could play in this world for hours at a time, often disappearing for the entire day.  My parents divorced when I was in 8th grade. This was disruptive in many ways, but my parents worked hard to make sure the three of us felt a sense of love and belonging.  After high school graduation,  I moved to Pittsburgh to pursue a degree in theatre at Point Park University.  I only ever return to Uniontown to visit my family.  

Moving to Pittsburgh was the first time I understood the term "family of choice." I found deep connection and intimacy with a handful of people, who are still very important and active in my life.  These relationships became added ingredients to my ever growing desire to one day create my own family.  I spent many hours dreaming about raising our kids together in an intentional community.

I am 12 years removed from my time in Pittsburgh.  Much has happened in the time between then and now.  I did a lot of traveling, lived in Arizona, relocated to Portland, acquired a Masters degree in Counseling, started a business, got married, and have become an uncle many times over.  

I have so much gratitude for the life that I have had.  I feel like it's all been leading me here, to the next big adventure of parenthood.  I couldn't be more thrilled to have an opportunity to share this life with Anthony and our future child(ren).

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