I LOVE my family. One of the things I love most about my family is that we are always expanding. Seriously. And it's not just because the baby boom of 2011 (as I call it). We are constantly taking in friends and making them like family.
Growing up whenever any of my sister's friends were going through a hard time at home they moved in with us. Some stayed only a few days, some stayed almost a year. It was a great example to me that someone doesn't have to be BLOOD to be family. It also served as a lesson to me that not everyone has parents (or anybody for that matter) at home who cares about them. Not everyone was as lucky as us, to have a family that while FAR from perfect would NEVER, EVER do intentional harm.
After my sister moved out our family started to grow by marriage. For example whenever my brother got married not only did his wife Crystal and her son become family so did Crystal's family. We celebrate birthdays, holidays, and special occasions with them. Same for all of my brother-in-laws and their families. It has even got to the point where my mom's brother-in-law (from her first marriage... my mom was widowed very young) comes down every year for Christmas.
This is the kind of example I want to set for my son. I want have the type of home where his friends always feel welcome. I want to offer a safe haven for people who do not have any other place to go. I want all of our friends and extended family to always feel welcome and accepted by us. I am incredibly thankful to my parents for setting this example for me.