By Brandy Black
I spend most of my days featuring your beautiful families and the stories behind them: your first meetings, your weddings, your process in becoming parents, your moments at home. I get letters from people around the country and all over the world, thanking me for the opportunity to celebrate our community, and for giving them a place where they are not alone. When I created this site five years ago, I hoped to gather like-minds, to include all families -gay, straight, black, white, and everyone in between. But I had no idea of the gift that I would be given. Seeing the love shared is overwhelming and inspiring.
Over this holiday season, I feel particularly grateful to the community that comes back each day to celebrate another baby’s birth, another battle won, another state-recognition of marriage equality, another adopted child, another day in the life of a family.
I am thankful to the sponsors of our site who not only enable us to keep The Next Family alive, but who also celebrate all families when, sadly, not everyone does. I can’t accurately express the joy I feel upon seeing images of gay and mixed race parents featuring family products. You make me proud to be working with each of you.
I am incredibly grateful to all of the contributors of The Next Family who pour their hearts out on the screen for all the world to see, and who do so with very little reward while juggling kids, spouses, work, grandparents, in-laws, school, and busy days. The editors, writers, marketing people, assistants, interns: you are truly making a difference. I see it everyday and I am lucky to have each of you in my life to help make this magic happen.
And I am so thankful to my wife for standing by my side in this labor of love and for telling our story with me.
The Next Family is about redefining and revolutionizing the meaning of family, a place where each of you makes family what you want it to be. And now I have an extended family that includes you. And so I thank you–all of you–for standing your ground, being your unique self, sharing your story, and inspiring me day after day.
I leave you with a few quotes from our readers:
“As the grown daughter of two women, I’m so glad I’m not alone! Most people I meet ask what it’s like to have two moms. I usually respond by asking what it’s like to have a mom and dad. I don’t get how it can be any different. I’m so glad I found y’all, I’m so glad I’m not the odd one out any more!”
“Hi…I wanted to share a picture of my two mom family. We have been together for almost 6 years. I love your site thank you for sharing pictures of two mom and two dad families.”
“It brings tears to my eyes to see families like mine reflected here.”
“Participating in The Next Family campaign was especially exciting because we were recognized for what makes our family unique.”
Photo Credit: Jennifer Roper Photography