The Meaning of Family

You may have heard or read this morning’s news report
about a man in China, kidnapped 24 years ago
at the age of two, who has been reunited with his parents.

It was strange to have been apart from them for so long,
and considering I was two when I disappeared,
I realized I wouldn’t know anything about, let alone recognize, these parents.

Perhaps, I worried, we would share nothing at all in common,
including even the Chinese dialect that we speak,
leaving us unable even to make small talk after all this time.

Essentially, I was reunited with strangers who were in my heart,
my mind, only two people who held the title of “parents” for me,
which is what I’d always believed my kidnappers to be as I grew up.

In truth, I feel the strongest of bonds with the mother and father who kidnapped me,
and sadly no real ties to my biological parents, who I know missed me terribly,
and for whom I feel great sorrow over what they must have endured.

The parents who raised me, now I know, are considered criminals,
and when they are convicted and imprisoned,
I will honor the love they gave me by visiting always for all I owe them.

As for my biological parents, I will honor them too as best I can,
I caught in some strange state of unknowing, wondering if it’s possible at all
to share with them the strength of attachment I will always feel for my surrogate parents.

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