How do I navigate the murky waters of family-of-origin stories?

I loveloveloooove my big wonderful blended family, but I get weary of the conclusions people jump to looking at us. That's a whole lot to explain, but sometimes people jump to conclusions that downright offend me — sometimes they feel like micro aggressions. Anyone else out there with wild and wonderful families that have found a way to navigate the murky waters of introductions/family-of-origin stories?

Family photo fun time with an international blended family of six

This set of photos from Maine-based Justine Johnson Photography celebrates a blended family of AWESOME: Manya and Brian live in Kenya with their four kiddos. These two were both divorced when they met, and happily joined her two daughters and his two sons together. When the six of them were altogether visiting grandparents in Maine last summer they decided to round up the gang for photos — and here's what they came away with.

My step-son is worried we won't love him if we have a kid: how can we reassure him?

I'm engaged to marry the love of my life next year. We've been together for four years, and I've been a step-mother to his eleven-year-old for three-and-a-half of those four years. I really love this kid — I often feel like he could be my own child, and we have a special "just us" language we regularly use. My step-son has repeatedly told us that he doesn't want us to have a child of our own. His dad and I do plan to have a child, and since we're older it'll probably be sooner than later.

How can I make sure my step-kids have friends when they visit us in the summer?

I have never wanted bio-kids of my own, but I fell in love with a father and now I have two step-kids who I love to pieces! They live full time with their bio-mom and her family and currently are overseas because of the military, so we keep in touch via phone calls, Skype, packages, and very infrequent visits. We just got the news that they will be moving back to the States (yay!) and our visitation will become more frequent and regular. We have a great relationship, but I want them to really feel like our house is their other home, and I especially want them to have social support and friends in our community who they will be able to return to on summers and school holidays.


How do you handle jealous grandparents?

My husband and I are expecting our first child in September. My parents are divorced and both remarried. My mom has some anxiety issues that she generally handles very well, but can get overly emotional very easily when it comes to me (an only child). She has a jealous streak when it comes to my Step-Mom, which is not helped by the fact that while my Dad and Step-Mom live 10 minutes away, my Mom and Step-Dad are a good five hours away.