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One Big Happy Family: One Year Later

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In editing the book One Big Happy Family: 18 Writers Talk About Open Adoption, Mixed Marriage, Polyamory, Househusbandry, Single Motherhood, and Other Realities of Truly Modern Love, I wanted to open a window into the lives of new-tradition families, evaluate their mindsets, and depict that just because a family appears "untraditional" does not mean it is inauthentic, or without love and happiness. I wanted to give legitimacy to all of the decisions being made today, to say yes, you can take a risk and make a happy family, too. Different does not have to mean tragic; it can simply mean real, authentic and sui generis.

Since the book's hardcover publication last year, some advancements have been made in the legalization of gay marriage, with bills passed in DC, New Hampshire, Maine, and Iowa. Couples continue to debate the roles of mothers and fathers in and out of the household, and the rates of adoption increase. Rates of infertility have increased as well, and popular reality shows document the trials and tribulations of large families.

Now, in celebration of the book's paperback release I have asked a number of the writers from One Big Happy Family, to reflect upon how things have changed (or remained the same) in their own lives since they wrote their essays over a year ago. Further, I've also asked various writers I admire to discuss their wild, messy, loving, non-traditional families as well. As you'll see in the forthcoming blog posts from writers like Richard Goodman, Staceyann Chin, Danielle LaPorte, Brooke Berman, and others, each of these families have decided to create a new modality rather than conform or adapt to one that already exists.

The American family will continue to both change and stay the same. The nuclear model works well for many, and I predict we'll see more tweaking of that model -- the gay version, the intercultural version, etc. As politics change, and the definition of family continues to evolve, I hope that readers will use these stories to gain insight into their own lives, and the little bit of crazy that is normal in all families.