"I wonder what you were doing the day that I was born." That's how Katelyn Miller began a recent letter to her stepfather, posted to the the Love What Matters Facebook page. Unlike those whose parents have been together since they were born, Miller's stepfather didn't even know her mother existed as she was in the hospital about to have the child who would become his daughter.
Miller wrote the letter to thank him for coming into her life nine years later, and loving her and supporting her even though he had no biological obligation. It speaks to the power of blended and chosen families.
"You are not my biological father, I do not carry your last name (yet) and I do not look like you in the slightest," she continued. "Any man can make a child, and stick his name on the birth certificate. Your love is in fact, a choice."
She writes about wishing her biological father was there for her more as a child, but how her stepdad always made her feel better.
"I know that I have worried more about my biological father in the past, but even after he broke my heart time and time again, you were there to pick up my broken pieces," Miller wrote. "Every hug you squeezed those pieces even tighter together."
Miller's mother and stepfather met by chance, when she and her mother and brother were on a trip driving half way across the United States from where they lived at the time, she wrote. Her mom gave her stepfather her number through a series of hand symbols "across a hot, sweaty warehouse."
They eventually married, and her stepdad dedicated himself to Miller and her brother.
"You were there for everything, my first prom, my basketball games, my art shows, and my graduation," she wrote. "You and mom both were always in the front row ... Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for the woman I have become."
"You don't get thanked enough. I know that work kills you, but you do what you have to for us kids. You never give up, you stick it out every day no matter how difficult life gets," she wrote.
Many people can probably relate to Miller's letter, given their own stepparents who have become family.
"You are truly an incredible human being, and when people ask me who my dad is, I'm proud to say your name," she wrote.
Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.
Read these stories next: