The Day My Family Grew This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     Most never think twice about not having a dad. I, however, think about it every day. My biological father is unknown to me, and the first four years of my life were spent with only my mom. Then she met Jerry.

I liked Jerry right away, and he liked spending time with me. We would go fishing, ride around looking for deer, and watch funny movies. He took me everywhere. He had a video camera that he used to record all my special events and on Halloween he helped me carve the spookiest jack-o'-lantern ever. I never had a father figure before, so every day was exciting.

Shortly before that Christmas my mom asked what I wanted for Christmas. I replied, "I want you to marry Jerry so I can have a dad." Sure enough, when summer rolled around, wedding bells rang and I got a late Christmas present.

Jerry wasn't all I got, though. I also got a brother with the deal since he had been married before and had a son. Jace's mom lived an hour away so he lived with us all the time. I was so happy to have a companion and protector. Jace would entertain me by playing catch and taking me out in the rain to hunt for worms. I idolized him as I would have a real big brother.

I was very content with everything, so I was in shock one cold, winter morning when my mom told me we had to go to court so Jerry could adopt me. I had never thought about that. I thought he was automatically my dad after the wedding.

As a child I was very timid and, at the courthouse, I clung to my parents. I don't remember much about that day except the judge softly asking if I wanted Jerry to be my dad. I nodded and then he told me I had to say "Yes." In a scared little voice I muttered, "Yes." Then there was paperwork that seemed to go on forever, but I didn't care because I knew that Jerry was finally my dad for real.

When it was all over, I remember feeling complete knowing I had a new part of my family who loved me as if we had always been together. Now that I'm older I don't remember life before my dad and Jace. We have overcome many obstacles together and love each other unconditionally.

Friends ask how I can go through life without knowing my biological father, but I have no desire to know him. Jerry is my dad in every way that really matters. My family is the best belated Christmas present I ever could have asked for.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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