Family Is Spelled L-O-V-E

Rachel Hauck

Hubby and me with Carrie.

If you’ve sen around the porch any length of time, you know my husband and I don’t have children. Of our own.

But after 20 years in youth ministry, we have a few of OPK — Other People’s Kids.

We’re even Oma and Opa to 5 little cuties!

It’s not the same as being a bio or adoptive parent. Our “kids” have parents. And they love them!

Nevertheless, we have formed a special relationship with several young women who are like daughters to us.

This summer my husband walked one of them down the aisle.

At Christmas, our girl Carrie came. She is becoming a regular at holidays.

She spent Christmas day with us and the day after with her Mom and Step-Dad.

At Thanksgiving, she was here for a few days with her sister, Cassie. Another one of our girls.

This time they stayed with their Mom and visited us at the end of their trip.

Part of our job as TOP – The Other Parents – is to roll with it. Be flexible.

At the end of the day, we are not really their parents.

We’ve no obligation to them. They’ve none to us.

But we chose to be together simply because we love each other.

Last time Carrie called to say she was coming to town and asked to stay with us I said, “Okay, that’s the last time you have to ask. Next time, just tell us you’re coming home.”

Rachel Hauck

Hubster, Carrie and Cassie!

We love when she comes. The house is warmer and brighter.

Same with Cassie. Well, with any of our kids!

Family is really what we make it to be.

It doesn’t have to be biological. Or legal in any way.

Just real. Loving. With open hearts and arms.

We met our girls when they were young teens so we’ve been involved in most of their lives.

Watched them grown into mature, amazing, Jesus loving women.

We’re proud of them.

They bring their friends “home” for vacation.

We have a son of the house too. We’re not far enough apart in age to really be his parents but we were mentors. And now, at 40, he mentors us.

I call him son, brother, friend, and father.

And he’s black. But he’s every bit a part of us as if we shared the same melanin.

He calls. “We’re coming in town to visit [his wife's] family. Can we stay with y’all.” (We’ve  known his wife since she was a pre teen.)

“Dude, you don’t have to ask. When do you arrive?”

Rachel Hauck


Other sons live in far away and we don’t see them much. But when they are here? They are sons.

Sometimes we met new people and we immediately know: “Ours!”

We met a young woman last October and adopted her. She was just here for a visit last weekend and we loved her all the more.

“Too late now,” we said. “You’re our kid.”

She’s got siblings. A mom and dad. But now she has us too!

At the end of the day, I still don’t know who will take care of Hubster and me when we’re old.

I mean, Yes, the Lord! He’s promised in His Word to take care of us in our gray hairs.

So, I don’t have children of my own but –

Oh hey, did I ell you about my nearly 8-year-old niece who Facetimes me just to talk?

Yeah, I’m blessed.

Family. It’s everywhere. Because family is anyone you fit in your heart.


Rachel Hauck, Once Upon A Prince, royal wedding seriesBest-selling, award-winning author Rachel Hauck loves a great story.

She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship for their annual conference. She was named ACFW 2013 Mentor of the Year.

She lives in Florida, where she is also a worship leader, with her husband and mini schnauzer.

Her novel, The Wedding Dress, was named Romantic Times Inspirational Novel of the Year and is an Amazon #1 Best Seller.

Her novel, Once Upon A Prince, earned starred reviews from Booklist and Publisher’s Weekly, and hit #1 on Amazon in Christian romance.

Her next release, Princess Ever After, releases February 4th. Pre-oder now! Buying options on web site: www.rachelhauck.comRachel Hauck


  1. admin says

    “Family. It’s everywhere. Because family is anyone you fit in your heart.” TRUTH! Anyone you welcome into your world is blessed indeed. Love ya!~

  2. Lisa Wingate says

    “Family is really what we make it to be. It doesn’t have to be biological. Or legal in any way. Just real. Loving. With open hearts and arms.”

    This is so true, Rachel. Many biological families would save themselves some heartache, I think, if they’d be more easygoing and flexible with each other too.

    Thanks for sharing your “family of the heart.” With us. As a parent, I treasure those adults who have become TOPs to my kids, too!

  3. Melanie Backus says

    Rachel, I love that you have a “family of the heart.” You, my dear, love deeply and unconditionally and no one could want more than that. I think anyone in your life, young or old, is very blessed to be loved by you. You and your hubster are very special. God needed two people to find each other, commit themselves to each other for a lifetime , and share their love with people who needed it at different times in their lives. God picked your husband and you, Rachel. It makes me smile to think about it. Thank you for sharing one of the beautiful parts of your life.

  4. says

    Beautiful post, Rachel. I don’t have a sister, but my best friend couldn’t be any closer to my heart if we were bonded through blood. This post resonated deeply with me. Thank you for sharing!

  5. says

    Ms. Hauck,

    I completely concur that family is where you lay your heart and are blessed to make a connection to someone who can form a heart-tied bond with you in return! Family by every definition of the word is love wrapped around warmth of spirit. If we remain open to give of ourselves to others, whether in need, friendship, or serendipitous joy; we will find love returning back to us tenfold! For someone who loved and lost her family (save her parents!) prior to hitting her mid-twenties, I have spent the past decade seeking out new definitions of not only family, but of place, hearth, and home. Its not that I cannot walk alone in life, nor my parents, but there is a sense of interconnectedness whilst we walk earth. No one wants to walk their path alone without people to celebrate the joys and embrace the sorrows. We each want to interact and be with others who share in our adventures, no matter where they take us. I know my parents and I are thirsty for community, where neighbours and strangers start to stitch into your life like the missing thread of your family’s tapestry not yet spun.

    A beautiful post by a woman who has already found what we are in seek of! :) Blessings to you and your family!

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