SL Letter of the Day: Show This Woman Some Love

Comments

1
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'

I don't believe in god, but you're doing her work. Keep at it.
2
Right fucking on. My thoughts are with you, VABG. Just being who you are is being what your nephew needs. Thanks for writing Dan.
3
You are a good person, and you will pick yourself up.
4
I am so sorry your family has been poisoned by hate. YOU are the one walking with Christ by helping your nephew. Sadly, they may never change but you may have very well saved you nephew's life, and that's worth so much more than their approval.
5
You're not the one broken... your family -- the biological one, I mean -- is broken. I just cannot imagine throwing out two people like that.

I can't add much more to what Dan said, because he said it. I am so glad that your nephew has you. It is frightening how many kids wind up on the streets because there is no one. But I also think in some sense you are or will be lucky to have him in your life as well. I think the two of you will help each other more than you know.

Give yourself time and write back to us with how the both of you are doing.

/wipes my own face, too
6
You're a wonderful person, VABG. It amazes me that such an ignorant family could produce someone as wise as you.
7
Great that you've been able to create a loving family and can now include your lucky nephew in it. I know it's hard to do, but try not to give your bio family enough of your concern to allow them to hurt you -- they clearly don't deserve it.
8
You are incredible, lady. The kind of compassion it takes to swoop in and rescue your poor nephew in that situation... I'm not sure I could do it. And what you've done in the past ten years means something. Hell, it means everything.

So, now what with this young man? He's gotta go to school, he needs clothes, he needs health insurance, yeah yeah, and you will get there! But first, he needs love. He need to feel like he is safe. He will probably act out and he needs compassion and structure and all that. He probably needs a counselor. But you can do it. You absolutely can. Good work.
9
I'll give you another one from their own book: "If anyone say, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen." (I John 4:20).

Blood does not make a family. Loving and caring do. Continue to love and to care for your nephew and for yourself. No one promises that it will be easy, but it is right and good.

10
Amen. I am in awe of you, VABG, for being who you are. The irony is that your life demonstrates so much of the goodness that religious people are supposed to practice. You are a blessing to your nephew in opening your home to him and you have become a better person through your difficulties, not a hateful, judgemental one. All the best to you and your (true) family.
11
I'm totally gobsmacked - but filled with pride and emotion knowing that this incredible woman has courageously taken her nephew under her wing.

Not just 'love' - but GALACTIC SUPERNOVA LOVE!
12
Mad love for you, VABG. Dan is right: thank fucking god your nephew has you.
13
You are the "It Gets Better" in your nephew's life. You can't choose your bio family, but you have chosen a diverse amazing family of your own that can help you raise this poor kid to be as tolerant and compassionate as your bio family is hateful and misguided.

If it helps, I see nothing wrong with loving him with spite against what you and he went through before your sister so generously passed him along. Hate your family with all the love you can muster for him.
14
I work with kids every day, and see often how much their parents actions affect them, even the kids who try to put on a brave or indifferent face. But I've also seen how much their lives can be changed by having even one adult or role model that loves them unconditionally and is always there for them. You're that person for your nephew, and his life will be so much the better for having you in it. I'm so sorry for what you've had to go through, but so thankful that there's people like you there for your nephew.
15
The family you were born into has let themselves be ruled by hate and fear. But you have created/are creating a family of your own that is ruled by love and acceptance. You had to deal with the transition to adulthood (and outhood) on your own (and my God you sound so brave and smart - packing up your life like that and simply moving on), but your nephew can now have that same transition with loving support.

Of course you're grieving the loss of connection with your family. As a loving person, you can't help but feel the pain of that break. Letting your nephew see a bit of that struggle may not be a bad thing. Being strong isn't about feeling no regret or emotion. It's about feeling those things but picking up and doing the right thing anyway.

You are stronger than you know VABG, even though it hurts so much right now. My thoughts (and yes, my prayers) will be with you.
16
Wait, Christ is a fictive character. Hate as an entity is fictive. Your family isn't "poisoned by hate" and neither of you are doing "Gods work".

You're being a intelligent, kind and responsable human adult. They are not. What excuses do they have for deliberetly harming a child? That probably isn't relevant at this point, they have shown their incapacity to behave the way adults should by doing it - whatever excuses they may say to themselves are irrelevant.

Your doing a kick ass job. Your being what we should all strive to be the second we become adults: intelligent, kind and responsable.
Your behavior makes ME feel picked up it makes me feel better. Theres a tiny island of pathetic idiots hating you and him for what you are and your bravery not to hide it and a whole damn world of people cheering you on.
17
Words cannot express what an incredible loving, generous person you are. Because of you your nephew is going to learn love, compassion, and understanding. And all of it will be unconditional. He is incredibly lucky to have an aunt like you. You should be proud of yourself and proud of him for coming out knowing how the family had treated you in the past. I am holding back tears but at the same time smiling knowing there are such wonderful people out there in the world who will make such a difference in the lives of others.
18
I cannot say it passionately enough, VABG you are a fantastic, beautiful, loving example for us all. Not just because you've taken in your nephew, but because you've risen above your poisonous background and made the world a better place by being out, proud, and honest. I'm not a believer, but *you* are leading a life far closer to the Jesus ideal than your sanctimonious and hypocritical birth family.

I cried earlier today over cuts to funded shelter beds for homeless teens (many of them LGBT) being proposed in NYC. While your story also got me crying, these tears are over one less young person left with no home.

Let your friends and we Strangers embrace and buoy you up. You've saved yourself and your nephew, good job all around.
19
My thoughts were the same as Dan's...fuck your family, and thank God your nephew has you to show him that not everyone in this world is a hateful piece of shit.

One thing you should do is talk to a family law attorney. You may be entitled to child support from your sister. It would not be enough but a little bit of sweet sweet revenge for her to have to shell out money for the "filth" she rejected.
20
First of all, know that it is your family that is being poisoned by their hate. You are not being poisoned by it; it doesn't touch you. (I understand it still makes you sad, but it is not on you. It is not inside you. It doesn't change who you are, as a person.)

Second, it's pretty astonishing that your sister "gave" you your nephew, knowing that doing so would mean he gets to continue being gay (and learn and grow and accept himself as gay). Other options would have included literally attempting to beat it out of him for the next 3++ years, or sending him to "gay re-education camp", or just plain putting him out on the street.

Honestly, that's nothing short of a miracle. So, you, as your nephew's sole family now, can do what your family didn't do for you: show him so much love and acceptance he's drowning in it.
21
I'm a mom. I can't begin to imagine what in the world it would take for me to turn my back on my kid. On my own flesh. Nothing. Nothing could. You aren't the broken one. They are. Their hatred has poisoned their hearts and made them forget the most cardinal impulses they have, and the loving message of Jesus. I don't know how people can read what Jesus said and come out with this kind of hate... but they manage. It's a perversion. They are perverse.

And to echo Dan, yeah... thank God and Science and the Sun, Moon, and Stars for you. You and the family you have built are saving that boys life.
22
I'm sitting here, with tears in my eyes after reading your letter, looking at my own two children and knowing there is NOTHING that would make me turn my back on them. I just cannot understand that. I'm so sorry that happened to you and to your nephew. Neither of you deserved it. At all. You are a wonderful person and your nephew is truly lucky to have you in his life. You're both going to be fine. All the best to both of you!
23
I've never understood why "Christians" fester with such hatred. I thought you were supposed to love everyone, not cast stones.

I hope you and your nephew can turn to each other in a dark time, and that your love will grow and help you through this. I'm so sorry.
24
The amount of courage it took for you to walk into that nest of hornets shows with certainty that you are not broken. Quite the opposite. It's normal to regress to your youth when dealing with your parents, regardless of your age or your relationship with them. Your present fear and pain are valid. No need to judge yourself. You are a badass.
25
That letter- wow tears running down ny face You are what their religion is supposed to teach them you are kind, compassionate, have a huge heart, with so much love. They are the problem, the cancer- not you. You saved your nephew. You're beautiful and have all of the traits that they should admire. Thank god for you. Keep showing your nephew what true love is by being you. Much love and good vibes your way!
26
The family you were born into has let themselves be ruled by hate and fear. But you have created/are creating a family of your own that is ruled by love and acceptance. You had to deal with the transition to adulthood (and outhood) on your own (and my God you sound so brave and smart - packing up your life like that and simply moving on), but your nephew can now have that same transition with loving support.

Of course you're grieving the loss of connection with your family. As a loving person, you can't help but feel the pain of that break. Letting your nephew see a bit of that struggle may not be a bad thing. Being strong isn't about feeling no regret or emotion. It's about feeling those things but picking up and doing the right thing anyway.

You are stronger than you know VABG, even though it hurts so much right now. My thoughts (and yes, my prayers) will be with you.
27
On a brief practical note--it might be worth talking to a lawyer and determining if you have any right to child support from your fuckwit of a sister. You didn't mention your financial situation, and obviously the emotional trauma is a big deal, but depending on your situation child support might make the next three years or so a lot easier.

Best of luck, and thank you for being a decent human being.
28
try to keep the communication lines open - even though their hate is repugnant & it hurts - for your nephew's sake. maybe with one of his siblings he was close to - a sister?

eventually one, or more, of your family may feel remorse & attempt amends.

you are the one walking in jesus' footsteps. they're walking in paul's.
29
Just because someone can physically produce children doesn't mean they're fit to be a parent. Your parents, sadly, are sick, twisted people who have produced at least one more sick twisted person (your sister).

But you have obviously already found that you can create other a family worthy of you, regardless of biology, and you are there to do the same for your nephew. I am sad to know that people like your parents hurt so many, but it gives me hope when people like you prove that the world doesn't have to be that way.
30
It makes complete sense to me that this is affecting you so much. You loved your family and probably still do, despite their hateful treatment of you, because they're your family and you have deep shared histories. It's only natural to love them and be affected by what they think.

On some level your sister must trust and respect you and, despite her words, loves her son, or she wouldn't have reached out to you to arrange a safe landing for her son. Or maybe she thinks she lobbed you a stink bomb while finding a legal way to abandon a minor. Regardless of her intentions, in actuality you and your nephew have just been handed a huge gift: each other.
31
Your family sounds about the least Christian family I can imagine. I am so sorry this burden has fallen on you. Wishing you the best.
32
It is often easier for us to bear abuse ourselves than to see it inflicted upon others. That is where you are now. All the anger, fear, pain, resentment, it is coming down on you tenfold - but that is not how your nephew is experiencing it.

Rely on your friends and your community - and know that you are loved and supported.
33
One of my first thoughts when I heard our President finally accepted gays by accepting same-sex marriage was this: Jesus would be so proud of him. And I say that to you, Jesus is proud you are living an honest life, a good life and are kind enough to take your nephew in when his so-called Christian family discarded him. I doubt Jesus hates your family, but I am sure they make him very very sad. Anyone who reads the Bible with a clear mind sees what a kick-ass dude Jesus really is. Obviously, your family is too soaked in hate to see that. Don't let them soak you in their hate. It is human nature to want their approval, but you have to turn your back on them now. Your nephew is still a kid and he needs you. Be strong. Live well.
34
VBAC: I'm so honoured to live in a world where people like you exist. You are already strong and have already made it through something that would crush others. You'll be able to pick up yourself and your nephew and guide him into becoming a kickass gay man. I'm hoping you two are in a big city in Virginia. If you need funds or practical support, send a note, because Dan's flying monkeys love to help people who are helping people.

Be well. Stay strong. If there is a one true God, they're on your side.
35
Your letter made me want to cry. I cannot imagine being so thoroughly rejected by my biological family and my heart hurts for you and for your nephew.

But please, please, please do your best to believe that you're not the one who is broken. That you haven't done anything to make your family hate you. And that there is nothing wrong with you. Do this both for yourself and for your nephew. He needs to see that his aunt feels she is worthy of love and respect so that he can look at himself and think the same. He's in a far more vulnerable position than you are and he needs you. He needs your love, your kindness and the family you built for yourself. (What does it say that after being rejected by your family you managed for go out and make one of your own? It says that you are worthy. Worth of others love and respect, kindness and compassion.)

My heart hurts for you and for him and the loss you're both feeling. But I have faith that you will give your nephew what his parents could not: unconditional love and support. I am glad that he has some family who see that he is worthy of it. And instead of dwelling on the family that sees you as lesser cling to the family that needs you, the family that wants you and the family that loves you. Let your nephew's presence in your life heal some of the pain of being separated from everyone you're biologically connected to and in turn sooth his pain with your love and your made family.

My best to you. May the days ahead be brighter for you and your nephew.
36
Hi, I was guided here by a random person on the Internet.

For every wrong committed against you, you do nothing but do right. There are no other words I can say for someone and wonderful as you, VABG.
37
I think you are fucking amazing and as much as you must hurt, you should know that this is a world that is changing and that you are accepted and loved by so many people that you will never meet. Ernest Hemingway said that we are strongest in the broken places, and never more so than in your case. I pity your family, but not you. You get my admiration.
38
I wish I had the courage you have, VABG. I come from a similar background, and I take the easy way out. I live far from my family, I occasionally give them stories of people I've dated with carefully selected pronouns, and I wait for the oldest ones to pass on, knowing that they are the ones who will have the hardest time accepting me. I am a coward in this regard.

You, however, are inspiring. You left tears running down my face too.

In the time since you chose to come out and step away from the lies and hate, you have made a life for yourself where you can share the joy that is in you. That, in itself, is an amazing thing, but to take that and then to bring in your nephew from that same hateful situation you left... that is a completely different level of inspiration.

I hope, one day, to be as brave as you. Your nephew is lucky to have you, even if he doesn't act like it at first. Even if he rebels, even if he fights, and even if he says hurtful things. He is incredibly lucky to have you.
39
The sentence preceding the Weinberg quote is extremely great: "Religion is an insult to human dignity." Weinberg's other quotes on atheism are equally as great.

VABG: keep on keepin' on. If your family is so blinded by hate, then they don't deserve you in their lives. Living well is the best revenge.
40
Family means more that just sharing DNA with people. It's the people that will be there in the middle of the night when you need them. It's the people that build you up and push you to me better. Who loves you on the bad days.Show and teach you nephew that. You are amazing, take the good from what you've learned and share it. You are not broken. You are perfect. Be everything to you nephew that you ever needed.
41
You are the best, dear, and they are the worst. But remember that evil like that doesn't come from outside but from inside -- the same place love comes from. They are poisoned inside, and they've poisoned you -- but you got out. You went back in to get that boy, like someone goes back into a burning house to rescue his or her child. That was incredibly strong and incredibly brave. YOU ARE A HERO. And you will live in love, and they will continue to live in hate. You'll be better off than they ever will.
42
A family that large probably has more than a couple of gays in it. Furthermore, more than a few of the straight ones probably know that what your sister did was wrong, but are too scared to speak out.
43
I'm sure I'm not the only one crying here. Congratulations: you've saved a life.

I can't help thinking that, by throwing her son away, your sister has given you back some small part, maybe the best part, of your lost biological family to cherish. Maybe, as a subunit in the larger family you have made for yourself, you and your nephew will somehow heal each other. 
44
Therapy. This is so much to carry, and it's more for two people to bear. VABG, find an LGBT-friendly therapist who can help you cut this pain down to size.

That it hurts is reasonable. That you hate them for their hatred and pettiness is also the only reasonable way to react to this. Unjust and stupid situations require that response. Getting good therapy can help you be in charge of the pain instead of the other way around. It can also help you parent this teenager who's now in your life and for whom you are lighting the way. Getting a handle on this yourself will help him do the same.

You have the right to a good life, and you have a right to leave these hurtful people behind you. You owe them nothing, even if they do come around. I repeat: you owe them nothing.

And we all - every last one of us in the community - love and honor you for exactly who you are: a human being, just like the rest of us, who's flawed and perfect at once.
45
I am so completely angry at your birth family right now, and doubly so at your cretinous sister.

Child support? Talk to a lawyer. Your nephew has been abandoned by his parents. See if you can get a court order that they at least have to pay for his support. Fuck them.
46
Nothing can change the fact that you, and your nephew (and, God help us, your parents and family and all the other bigots out there, religious and otherwise) have always been and always will be beloved Children of God.

It's a touchy point, I know, but if you haven't yet it could help to find a faith community that is supportive of you and your nephew. The classic Metropolitan Community Church comes from a Pentecostal tradition, so could feel familiar.
47
I'm going to try, and sorry if this comes out weird:

There are a lot of horrible things they could have done, like tossing him out with no one. Your sister called you because, somewhere deep down there, she believes you are a good and decent person and a good role model. And somewhere deep down there, she wants her son to have a good and decent person who is a good role model guiding him. Both these emotions are buried under an incredible shitload of crap. But she wouldn't have called if they weren't there.

All you can do is move forward. Do the best job you can to help your nephew move forward. And be aware that more nieces and nephews might eventually try to contact you and open some communication, but they probably have to be old enough to be out of their parents' homes first. Just like you waited until the day you were independent.
48
Wow. What a crazy, horribly toxic family you have managed to escape, VABG. Congratulations on being the amazing person you are despite what you have had to endure.
I think it would be best for you NOT to just "buck up" and hide the hurt that your bio-family has caused. Be transparent with how they have hurt you both, be vulnerable and open about the pain you both feel, and then be resolute in your absolute belief and assurance that you will both heal with each other's help and support. Let him see how deeply you have been hurt so he knows it's not just him, and then teach him/help him to heal the wounds. You can do it!
49
Deep down, you probably know this to be true, but what you have made for yourself over the last 10 years is So Far from nothing. You've made a family (with love and caring, as @9 said), you've chosen LIFE for yourself!, and most importantly, as a result, you've made a safe place for your nephew to land. So, I guess as far as picking yourself up, take comfort in that, VABG. Take comfort in your ability to have rescued him. They are so unequivocally, morally in the wrong, that eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later), when the sting of that awful horrible confrontation wears off, it will feel natural to no longer allow them the power to belittle the beautiful things you have built.
50
I'm so sorry. I lost a friend who hid his sexuality in order to stay with church & scouting- contracted HIV in a movie house- life long scout buddies dropped him like a hot potato when dying- as did most of church. My brother came out after that- very grateful he chose to do this. His partner is not so lucky and they never visit his family together. Other relative fled my family for most of 2 decades. Returned only to be killed in accident shortly there after- I only got to see him once. I was so excited from him to be back and in my life. He was so interesting and kind and I had grown up without him. Your nephew is lucky to have you- very lucky. Find help, seek to make a bigger circle around both of you, work for a related cause- can be very therapeutic to remind yourself of why authenticity is so important along with educating others. Do totally awesome things with your nephew and make lots of happy memories together regardless of God church and being Gay.
51
Listen to me, you awesome lady: This is a good thing. This is good for you, this is good for your nephew. Your hateful, hateful family has done both of you a favor. They've removed your nephew from a deeply harmful situation. They've given you another family member you will love and who will love you back. In their ignorance and evil, they've accidentally done something good. It is not going to be easy. It's going to be hard to have to support a kid. And it's going to be hard for him to adjust to his new life with you. But as long as there's love--and your letter is filled with love, despite the shitty circumstances--both of you will find yourselves with a life that was better than what came before it. This is (in a thoroughly non-Biblical sense) a blessing. It may not feel that way right now, but trust me, it will. I echo what Dan said. Thank God for you and thank God for others like you. It's people like you who make the world worth living in.
52
You are not broken.

You are amazing.

Your family did a horrible, hateful, stupid thing by casting you away like that. Don't think to yourself that you are undeserving of them. *Know* that they are undeserving of you, and know that you and your nephew are better off without their hatred and bigotry. There are a lot of awesome people in this world who can show you true love and acceptance, and there's no reason to waste your time with the people who won't, regardless of the similarity of their DNA to yours.

It may also help to know that there are other people out there who have escaped from the oppression and hatred of their religious families. For instance, Nate Phelps, son of notorious hater and douchebag Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church, after escaping from his family (read http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nate-phelp…) has gone on to do great work as an LGBT advocate against religious oppression - http://natephelps.com/

I hope that my note and the many others that I'm sure will show up as well will give you the boost you need at the moment. And I hope that once you and your nephew are living your amazing lives surrounded by the true family you've made, you can repay the favor to someone else who needs a little encouragement to be true to themselves, ignore the misguided hatred around them, and to live the amazing life they deserve.
53
VABG, you are so brave! You are fighting the good fight, and I am so happy and grateful to live in a world where people like you exist.

I can't imagine the inner strength it must have taken to walk away from your family in the first place. To make a happy life for yourself, to be there for your nephew, to solider on in spite of that hurt -- well, damn, it's just impressive and it sets the bar that much higher for the rest of us.

I am rooting for you! I am rooting for your nephew! I hope that you are able to lean on the family you made for yourself, to ask for their help, to let them support you and listen to you and give you a boost right now. If you need more support, don't be afraid to ask - seek out a doctor, a lawyer (custody issues?), a good bartender, and let them help you too!

Know that you have a crowd of people out in the world who think you are an ass-kicker, a world-beater, and based on just the tiniest bit we know about you, we know that you are going to get take on this tough time and that it will get better.

54
@45 While you're at it, make sure you terminate their parental rights and get guardianship.
55
I'm sending you and your nephew positive energy. Think of waves of golden light washing over you and bringing you strength. What has been done in the name of God over the history of mankind is entirely crazy and inhumane. Religion has brutalized and terrorized humans e.g., the inquisition, witch burnings etc.
You are better off with your own created family, they are life-giving - your biological family is life-draining. I'm so happy that you wrote to Dan. Thank God that you were there for your nephew. Many people are thinking of you. Never give up, things will get better. When you see light know that it is for you.
56
You're an awesome lady. Sorry I can't say it as eloquently as all these other awesome people.
57
@45 and 54 I was just thinking along the same lines: court order. Just because VABG's sister is full of hatred and ignorance doesn't let her off the hook for his material support.
58
Oh, VABG. Oh, girl. There's a quote from the movie 'Jeffrey' along the lines of: 'God is the very best in of all of us.' And sometimes that all comes down to one person. It would be vain to think that about yourself, but I'm telling you from the outside: you're the very best of us right now. You were there for your nephew.

What would his life have been like without you there? To swoop in and help him during the lonely nightmare his life had become? If you're down on your life of the last 10 years -- if you think it was for nothing, which I doubt -- if it was for NO OTHER REASON than to be there when your nephew might have had nowhere else to turn -- is that not enough?

So after you're done patting yourself on the back once for every share of Facebook stock, take of a few happy memories of your family -- and toss the rest. They know where where find you. They can't be helped right now. Fill you and your nephew's life with people who will love you as the fearless, wonderful, compassionate warrior princess you are. You've earned my unconditional gratitude and respect.
59
I don't know where you and your real, loving family live, but if it's in Central Texas, and you need help, I'm here for you VABG. You and your nephew.
60
You are a hero, and not broken - you're family is. You are whole, and incredibly strong to have survived what you have, and still have such a big heart and soul. Lots of love.
61
"I am so sorry your family has been poisoned by hate."

Eh, no.

Her family was poisoned by religion aka institutionalized superstition aka faith.

And entirely predictably at that. Let's diagnose the problems first if we want to treat them.

62
I've never commented on this or any blog that I read but something about this day and this letter is compelling me to do so. While I'm not super 'religious' anymore my faith is still a crucial part of who I am. It helped form me and my views on the world (for better or for worse). I am a 24 year old straight man who grew up in the church and grew up believing, like so many, that homosexuality was wrong. I was never bigoted but simply didn't approve (as if I had a right to judge anyone). It took meeting my (gay) best friend in college to recognize the humanity in every person and see that we're all God's children. One of the biggest parts of my faith has been believing that God has a plan for each of us. I don't necessarily think that explains all human suffering or that it justifies any tragedies but it can be helpful to remember that.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, "'For I know the plans I have for you.' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Growing up amidst some pretty difficult situations (loss of a parent, rampant family addiction, etc.), understanding that even in pain there is a plan for you, designed by a God that loves, helped me. While I can't begin to imagine the pain you felt 10 years ago and are reliving now, I imagine your nephew is in quite a bit of pain as well. It may not have been God's plan for your family to treat you cruelly and shun you, but it does seem like He might be using you now when they've decided to do it again to your nephew. 10 years ago, you somehow found a way to keep living your life and soldiered on. Now it's time to help show your nephew how to do the same.

It's impossible to predict what life has in store for us but if you can manage to focus your energies on minimizing the pain your nephew is feeling (and maybe also seek some professional counseling to help come to terms with your own feelings), you'll both emerge stronger.

Sorry for what turned out to be MUCH longer than I anticipated but I hope it helps, even if just a bit and I hope you and your new family can once again find a way to carry on.
63
One more echo of what Dan said: Thank God for you, and that your nephew has you, and your family of choice, in his life. How wonderful that he has a GREAT PERSON LIKE YOU to turn to. Words fail me when I think of how dreadfully you and your nephew have been treated. Please, please know that you are loved and that you make a difference. You already have made a tremendous difference in this young man's life. And in the way that other people make a difference in our own lives, he will make a difference in yours. I speak as a stepmother who has been amazed at the difference my [step]kids have made in my life -- and I wouldn't trade them for the world. I wish you only the best. I'm so glad you wrote to Dan, and that he gave us the chance to write to you.
64
What most everyone said above.

Sorry. Usually I keep out of these if I can't come up with my own semi-unique perspective, or if I'm late to the party (in this case, both are true). But dammit, you need to see the number of people who love you and support you right now. I can't tell you more than that. It's just important that I'm part of this crowd right now.

God, I'm so sorry you had to go through that. I hope you care for your nephew, show him the love he deserves, and that he does the same for you. I hope you two can be enough family for each other. I hope SOMEONE in that dingleberry clan you were able to extricate yourself from will wake up and embrace you two again in the future. (I don't mean to be insulting, but I'm fucking mad right now.)

Shit... even in anger, there's hope. You're a wonderful woman for doing this, even if it was forced upon you. Much love to you.
65
Sending love to you and your nephew, VBAC. You both deserve mountains of it. <3
66
Your nephew lives in a world where he could come out almost 10 years before you could, and he had someone to go to when he did. And you will live to see a time when the bigotry of your family is as reviled as the KKK. You've been able to build a family, and now you have the opportunity to have a member of your blood family join you in it. It will be a hard, long road, but it will also be amazing. Good luck.
67
You are wonderful exactly as you are.
68
I'm with @44 and @45. Seek a counslor and get a lawyer to make sure his parents are paying for child support as well as terminate their parental rights and file for guardianship. Of course when he's 16, he could emancipate himself from his parents due to "abuse".

On a second thought, I don't know what the parental laws are like in VA as they tend to be very homophoebic and might actually not be that beneficial to you.
69
I need to know how to pick myself up. A 15-year-old boy is relying on me.


Perhaps you can pick up one another. Your nephew found the courage to come out to your family, so something tells me he's strong enough for you to lean on a little. Besides, you're amazing. You're a lifesaver and a hero, as far as I'm concerned, and I'm sure he sees you in the same light. The burden of hate has obviously not broken you, though you may feel it has....between the two of you, I'm sure you can lift it.

Side note to Slog commenters: While VABG's letter, and Dan's response, brought me tears, it's really been the incredible outpouring of love, support, empathy, sympathy, and general encouragement that has turned on my waterworks. You give me hope.
70
The opposite of love is not hate but indifference. Perhaps your biological family hates you, but why do you care? You've created a loving, inclusive family that your nephew can thrive in. As far as your biological family goes, well, it is what it is. But as to your own nuclear family, it is what you have made it. Good for you and even better for your nephew!
71
You are so very brave. Subjecting yourself to that awful, awful mess of poison is probably the last thing anyone would want to do, but you did it, and for someone else, whom you probably hardly know. You rescued him, and it's an amazing thing. I'm so grateful that you were part of his family and there to save him. I can't even tell you what a lifeline you are - dealing with a fucked up family in the midst of crazy teenage hormones feels like the end of the world. Dealing with that on top of all the internal chaos of accepting your sexuality, on top of learning to ignore societies' negative messages, it must be truly overwhelming.

DO sue for child support if you can. DO NOT have any contact with them that is not through a lawyer. Establish your rights to him immediately, so he never has to worry about them taking him away, to do and say who knows what to him.
72
You're not broken, sweety, even if it feels that way. You've been badly hurt, but you will heal.

And while your 15 year old nephew is relying on you, know that a loving kid can be a tremendous source of strength and support for you as well. In a strange way, your family has given you an amazing gift.
73
Others have said more eloquent things than I have, but like a few commenters, I just want to add my voice to show you the number of people who are out there who support you and your compassion, your strength, and your chosen family. You are amazing, and he is and will be amazing too. <3
74
Two things --- 1. bravo for you, and 2. please do talk to a lawyer about your (and your nephew's) legal rights and remedies.
75
Your old family doesn't desrve you VABG. I hope that your new son can learn to overcome what can only be a devastating experience. I wish you all the best in creating a new family.
76
Ditto to 54. If your family wants to really mess with you, they could let you get deeply attached and then yank him away from you.

And ditto to 44. Don't carry this alone. Therapy is great. But if that's not your thing, you said you had an amazing chosen family - lean on them.

Call them just to cry if you need to.

Call them to sit with you quietly for 5 minutes and send you strength.

Call them to ask them to tell you, out loud, that THEY are your family, that they will never abandon you, that they love you. Does ritual help you? If so, create a ritual to publicly acknowledge your chosen family, and bind you before whatever spiritual force speaks to you.

Do you still connect with faith at all? Ask your faith community to pray for you.

Reach out, like you did to Dan and to us. You're not alone. You are loved.
77
@69, I agree. The letters made me choke up but the comments here made me cry. @VABG, make sure you read the unregistered comments on this thread. So far every one of them has been filled with love and support for you. You're wonderful and you're doing a wonderful thing for your nephew. Don't ever forget that.
78
Is it hatred, or fear, that your family feels? I doubt that even they know the answer, but it sounds more like fear than hatred. As others have also said - your sister called YOU because you are still family. It took an incredible amount of bravery to do the things you have done - stand up for yourself, stand up for your nephew, keep the door open to your family despite all odds, and for such a long time in hopes of reconciliation.

It's okay if you feel broken by all of this - it's important to acknowledge your feelings, and to continue living life as your authentic self. When people are afraid, they act in ways that are incredibly irrational, and the best thing to do in the face of that is to show that there is no reason for fear, that you come out of love.
79
The opposite of love is not hate but indifference. While your biological family spends emotional energy hating you, you are building a nuclear family of compassion and inclusion. Life is too long to allow hateful people to consume your emotional energy. You must move on, and your nephew is so very lucky to have you.

All the very best!
80
Do not let their hatred and rejection hurt and destroy either you or your nephew. He is so lucky to have you, and you him.
Humans never fail to amaze me by their ability to be vile and loathsome to other humans. You've gotten the worst of it, but have handled your own and your nephew's situation with grace and beauty. Hang on to who you are and what you've made for yourself, be kind to the both of you right now, and know there are millions of us out here who can relate and and are holding you in our thoughts with love, warmth and care.
You are a hero in so many ways.
81
I'm in a situation that is similar to yours, so automatically I felt somewhat of a connection with you. My heart breaks for you and your nephew, but I am SO happy that he has you in his life.

I might not be the right one to give you advice, I am a little lost myself, but I will let you know that you're not alone. If you'd like to talk, id love to talk to you. My email address is on my blog (link in my slog profile.)

Maybe it will help if you don't think of it as your family disowning you and your nephew, but think of it as you and your nephew disowning them. Do you really want people who are so hateful in your life?

You are such an amazing person and I hope that you're able to see that. I agree with Dan, THANK GOD FOR YOU!! Fuck your family. You, VABG, are a hero. Take care.
82
I love your brave story. Your words have power. I hope you keep writing (like Dave Eggers did when his parents died and he raised his younger brother.) Your voice could make a beautiful book.
83
You can't pick your family, and it sounds like you drew a pretty shitty one. But thank goodness you were around for that kid.

Listen, your family doesn't hate you - not really. What I mean by that is that it's not personal. They can't, or really just won't, understand you any further than the fact that you're not like them any more. They're crippled people, all of them, and you can't fix them and you're not responsible for them. They do hate you, in a way, but it's not about you. It's about a complete failure to understand not only you and who you are, but the entirety of the world outside their lunatic religious enclave. You don't fit in with a dangerously unstable belief structure, and so they need to hate you and cast you out or it'll start to crack.

So chin up. It's not you. It's not personal. It's their problem and their blindness and you don't need to make excuses for it or take an ounce of blame for it. You sound awesome, and you've come away from this with a great opportunity to help an innocent kid out of a world of hurt.

In a way, your family are being victimized by their culture, choked and poisoned by destructive ideologies that they're afraid to examine, and if that makes you a little sad, that's appropriate. It doesn't even remotely excuse their conduct, however, so write 'em off, close the book, and live the best life you possibly can with your new, intentional, far better family.

Good luck.
84
It sounds like VBAC is in shock, and that seems like a reasonable reaction. Hopefully, she can move to acceptance and understanding. I think it's a good sign to have written the letter and reached out for help. It's unfair she needs to find a way to accept their hate, but there's no choice but to move on and live her life. Thank god she was there for that 15 year-old. Horrible situation. I don't understand how these people were led to believe this is being religious, loving individuals. It seems more like a hate crime.
85
In so many ways, this letter is stunning. Dear lady writing it - you have some serious strength, bravery, and love. What a force you are and must be. Your nephew is incredibly lucky to have you. You're a testament to what's good in the world. Thank you.
86
Progress is a bitch. Someone in your family had to be the first to come out, and being first is always a great burden. The history of every civil rights movement details how some generations had to step up, consequences be damned, and be strong so that the next generation wouldn't have to be.
I know the broken feeling that you are truly alone that comes with losing your family. It's hard to ever recover, but having close friends can come to replace that. And don't forget, you have this kid now. While you may not have had that much contact with him up until now, he's family, and you'll find that giving someone the love and support you missed can help you heal yourself.
87
VABG: You're a SuperHero. You didn't ask for it, but that's how it is. At least, that's who you are to your nephew. He's your family, the others aren't.

Giving out hate is a negative emotional investment. Love is an investment that returns a million-fold.
89
i don't know if you've left behind your faith entirely -- i would certainly understand if you have.... and even though i'm a christian, i don't know scripture nearly as well as i ought ... but remember the passage where jesus says to turn our backs on even our mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters in order to follow him? let the dead bury the dead, or something like that? (i would look it up but I'm in a rush, sorry). my point is this: whether or not you are a person of faith anymore, YOU are the christian in your family, and the rest of your biological family has been consumed by something hateful that has nothing at all to do with christ. they are the sinners, the possessed, whatever it is you want to call it. and that is awful, and shocking, and something to grieve and mourn for sure. but you are not the broken one, not in the eyes of god (if you believe in god anymore), and not in the eyes of christ (if you are a follower of christ anymore) and not in the eyes of good people of good will anywhere you will meet them. YOU ARE NOT BROKEN. you, in fact, are whole and complete and beautiful and loved by god and celebrated by christ and the world is better place because you are there for your nephew now. help him know that he, too, is not broken, but whole and beautiful, by not only talking that talk, but also by walking that walk.

i am in awe of you, and like dan, i thank god for you. i will keep you and your nephew in my prayers. and while i'm at it, i will keep the rest of your family in my prayers too, so you don't have to. really, it's time to turn your back on them, let them bury their own dead. walk in the light and the way of love as god means for you to.

god bless you. let us know how you're doing, ok?
90
I'm sitting here crying for you and your glorious nephew. I can not even imagine how a mother could turn their back on a child like that. When my daughter came out to me when she was 13 the only thing I cared about was if she was happy. That is all I ever wanted for my children. I hope that you aceive some level of peace over this, and show your nephew the love that exists in your made family.
91
You are being a better example, a better person, a better testament, and a much-needed sense of hope to both your nephew - and yourself. Focus on that. Make that hope your message and your hope and BE your own personal "It Gets Better" video, for his sake and yours.

You know the larger community you have found for yourself will be there, for him and for you. They're your family. Grow into them.
92
Like I wasn't crying enough because the little group of college students I've been mentoring for the past four years graduated today...

I don't know - and you didn't indicate, VABG, but if you are still a believer, know that you are the one behaving like a follower of Christ, not the family who supposedly wears their Christianity on their sleeves. Despite what your father told you, you ARE a child of God, and nothing can or will change that.

If you aren't a believer, thank whatever higher power you believe in, or the universe itself, that you've been able to fashion a family for yourself, because the one you were issued at birth seems pretty awful.

Finally, if you are in the position to do so, find a therapist or a support group, or something wherever you are. Sometimes hashing out all the hurt and anger and bitterness and frustration with another living human being can be a real boon and help.

Finally, I don't know you from Adam, and I don't know if you'll appreciate it, but you and your nephew will be in my prayers. I will pray that you find happiness, peace, and love, in whatever form they may take.
93
I can't add to the praise - it's well deserved, but I would like to second the opinion that you should see a lawyer. I'd hate for the sister to suddenly yank the kid back into that festering hateful mess of a family. And make sure the kid is educated about the ways of the gay world. It can be very dangerous for a kid on his own.
94
I do believe in God. I believe in a god of love and light. I also believe that every hurt your family has caused you will now become the fire that you use to raise your very fortunate nephew.

I do not, however, believe in your birth family. No loving god created such hateful people. However, they are living the hell they created and my experience tells me that your reward is not having to be part of that hell.

I am a lesbian who is raising the last of my three children. He is an exuberant, happy and loving gay boy. So, it is with so much love that I tell you that both of you are in for an amazing ride and, rather than making me sad, this letter has made the sun shine a little brighter, the day a little more glorious. What a great gift each of you have received. What you are doing is a gift beyond price.

Much love,

Jackie
95
You have mourned the loss of your family in the past, and moved on. Sometimes with the grief over loss (which clearly doesn't have to come from death), you have to mourn again, perhaps even cyclically. So mourn the loss of your family again, with your nephew this time. And then move on, again.
96
VABG,

I think the answer to your question can be found in an idea advanced by Eric Hoffer in his book the True Believer. He said that who we hate the most are not the people who have hurt us, but the people that we have hurt, because they make us feel guilty and break through our carefully constructed subjective opinions of our own inherent goodness and worth. Your family are very conservative Christians who try to lead a very godly - i.e. good life. They see themselves as the good people, the righteous people. But they treated you abominably and now they have treated your nephew abominably. Your own father physically and criminally assaulted you. No matter how sincere their religious beliefs, they are human beings and on a gut level they know that the way they treated you and now him is sick and wrong. And they hate you because of the way that knowing that about themselves makes them feel. Because you are an indictment of their own evil.

So, let it go. Don't allow yourself to be doubly hurt - first by their initial rejection, and now by the hatred engendered by their guilt. I know it hurts. But the fault doesn't lie with you; it lies with them.

You are conflicted because they are like werewolves. Much of the time you knew them they seemed human and nice and actually were so. But homosexuality is their full moon - they become vile vicious evil monsters in reaction to it. When things settle down, you may want to talk to your nephew about his siblings and cousins. Even in this family, I bet there are other younger generation people who are questioning their parents' view and actions. They might be worth staying in touch with.
97
I am a white straight guy married with an adopted baby girl..My only hope is for her to be happy, confident and FIERCE! I don't want her to be a passenger in the world but a DRIVER.

Same as our choice in a baby...healthy. We got the most adorable half-black baby girl, and I cannot imagine loving a biological child more than I love her.

We choose our friends, we have no choice when it comes to family....so I say, Live your life by your own rules and let your friends be your family. Because they are there because they love and support you...BY CHOICE...not because of an obligation of blood and dna.

I am glad and honored that people like you exist.. please know that you saved your nephews life...and you are FAR more important than the close minded dipshits who turned their backs on you.

All the love in the world to you!
~C
98
It is very very simple: You are NOT broken. Your nephew is NOT broken.

The rest of your family - that is where the uncertainty lies. Some of them ARE broken. Probably not all, but it's not your requirement to 'fix' anyone. In time, more of them may reach out. Or not. For now, know that you and your nephew are free to be yourselves. Be family for each other if you can. If one day you reach a stable enough, good enough place, maybe you can reach out to the others, and let them rejoin the *welcoming* healthy branch of the family.
99
To play on words, I'd say you don't need to pick yourself up: you're already so high up there that your biological family will never be able to catch up, closer to their professed god than they will ever be.

That, and everything else that everyone here has written.
100
What #44 said. Double.
101
If any members of your family come around, they'll prove themselves. If they don't, they don't deserve you and you're well rid of them. Either way and every day, you and your nephew win.

I've met local kids whose parents have kicked them out for being queer. We as a community need to put a stop to that.