I think one of the greatest aspects of being in a gay-headed family is one of the things people often deride: our inevitable lack of direct genetic relation. Like many other infertile couples, until science advances, at least one parent will always be genetically unrelated to their child (well, unrelated is misleading as humans share so many genes it's hard to quibble about a tiny percentage of single nucleotide polymorphisms, but some people do and you get the point).
I think nothing more shows the meaning of family, though, than the ability of some to get beyond those Darwinian urges and just love.
Which brings me to the fact that our boys are ethnically Jewish, and neither Rob or I are. We've debated back and forth how far into Jewish culture we should get, if at all. There's the idea that, because they are our children and genetics don't matter to either of us, we should just keep passing on our LDS-Christian-rural Salt Lake culture, green jello and all. There's also the idea that, because their genes carry some cultural baggage in the eyes of the greater public, we should change our culture to show how the child has changed our family, to show some sort of integration and pride to those who'd pick on yet another minority. Heck, when I was in High School, being Jewish was still a bit of a problem in Utah and such bias still hangs around, I'm sure.
So far, though, I've leaned towards just sticking with what we know.
I suppose these decisions are differently made when your child is visually put in a different racial category. Outsiders may continually remind them they are different from their parents and so it makes more sense for parents to take on a new cultural dynamic. While it's clear we're not all genetically related, we look to be in many of the other artificial categories; people tell us our boys almost look like clones of Rob and I. But the twins know how they came to be and they know they are, in significant part, ethnically Jewish, just as their dad is predominantly French and their pop is predominantly German/English. And they aren't shy telling people about such info. We've left no traumatic surprises about our family's history for them to have in the future and that's worked great so far; such facts are just facts to them now, like their eye color.
Recently their school began teaching about Hanukkah, though, along with Christmas and they were bringing home related work. The other day Brian sang us a song about the menorah and we asked if he thought we should light a menorah. At a yes, we researched the meaning behind it and consulted a Jewish friend, to make sure it wasn't any more offensive to Judaism for us to do so as it would be to Christianity for us agnostics to put an angel on our tree.
In the end, this year, we'll be incorporating one more culture into our holidays.
You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a menorah, or, well... you probably would, considering where we live. It wasn't easy, but we found one. This was the best we could find:
I'd like to have had something a bit more simple, but the kids like it.
Anyway, I now hope you all have a Happy Hanukkah!
(We're Chris Buttar's nightmare, aren't we?)