I believe there are many kinds of family to be assigned, claimed, or given. There is biological family (which you can't choose, but I would have chosen mine anyway). There is church family (a beautiful societal support system). And there is friend-family. This is a shout out to my friend family.
I think friend-families develop when a bunch a people that somehow found each other, and found an interest in each other, start to take on roles traditionally attributed to biological family. Trust, encouragement, loyalty, safety...taking care of one another.
My husband and I are fiercely blessed, living away from all (but one - Double L!) of our biological/in-law family, to have a group that functions this way.
The majority of the people I consider my friend-family are not in this picture, but I felt strangely happy to set up this alternative family photo at a church fall harvest party last weekend (think haystacks, campfires, and pig roast). We hopped right in line with the families of children and grandparents, the only group of adults, and said "cheese" for this exaggerated, ridiculous family photo.
I am very grateful for all you friend-family people in my life! You are darling nuggets, and I'm glad you are in my adventures.
(hey bio-family, I am exorbitantly grateful for you to, of course. I will post about your awesomeness someday too...you deserve your own post :)