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  • Our family has four adults and three children. That's how my daughter described out family when she was a bit younger.

    Her father and I divorced when she was three.

    Our divorce wasn't any more fun than anyone elses, but I think we managed not to hurt each other and ourselves unnecessarily, and maybe managed to talk things through enough forgive, ourselves mainly for failing.

    The new spouses part also wasn't all easy, but we got over the initial weirdness transferring our daughter between the two homes and four parents.

    When I heard they were expecting their first child I cried. I was jealous because that wasn't my baby, even though I was not even planning to have more, and I was jealous on my daughter's behalf, and I did manage to be a bit happy as well. I never had sisters or brothers, my daughter would.

    I met the baby when they were all picking up my daughter, he was just a week old. I didn't know what to do and what anyone would feel, I was again envious and happy and sad.

    Seeing me hesitate, my ex-husband picked up the baby from the carry cot and put him in my arms, and I think that was the turning point. He was the baby brother of my little girl. I knew I would love him too, and I knew his parents would let me do that, even if it would take some effort from all of us.

    My daughter is now turning thirteen, her brothers are seven and two. Our family has evolved into something that feels very natural. To the boys, me and my husband are family just as self-evidently as my daughter. When I go to Finland for work I stay with them at least for a night or two, during holidays longer. They've visited us in Africa when they've had a chance and stayed for some weeks.

    We all adults get along, and can even genuinely say we are friends now, have been so for many years already. I am very happy that my daughter has four loving and very different individuals as parents. And I will always be very grateful for the two half/stepsons or whatever they formally are - odd that there isn't a name for that relationship.

    We have been accused of being cold, overrational and unfeeling since we manage to be friends rather than foes. That might be true, but as sappy as it sounds for me the biggest motivation to make this work has been love. We all love our children, the whole bunch. Not much more to say about that.
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