Families of all types are represented at Fairmont

Families of all types are represented at Fairmont

All six children in the Havener family are adopted, including sophomore Emma (third from left) and freshmen Jackson and Daniel (on either end of the sofa). The family is gathered in their family room.

Everyone has a family. Whether it’s big, small, crazy or calm, no two families are alike. There are only children, twins, triplets, even quadruplets; there are big families and small families; some have one parent, some have two; there are biological children or adopted children. The list goes on and on.

Walking down the halls of Fairmont, it is hard, if not impossible, to guess who has which type of family. Sophomore Emma Havener has one of the more unique families, though. She has five siblings, but that isn’t the most shocking thing about her family. The Havener kids are all adopted. “A lot of people are shocked just by the fact that I have five other siblings,” said Havener. “But when I tell them we are all adopted, their faces are priceless.”

Havener isn’t the only student at Fairmont with adopted siblings, however. Fairmont senior Cameron Thomas is one of 11 kids in his family. Seven of his siblings are adopted, but Thomas is one of the four kids in the family that are not. “My house always has something going on,” said Thomas. “There are kids running around everywhere.”

Whether it’s soccer, basketball, baseball or swimming, Thomas’ family is all over the place. “Even though it is chaotic, I like that there is always someone to talk to,” he said.

Junior Tom West has seven brothers and sisters as well, but unlike Havener, West’s siblings are all biological siblings. “There is always someone who wants to listen,” said West. “I don’t get to see all of my siblings every day, but when we are all together, it is a blast.”

West enjoys the support he gets from all his siblings and both of his parents. “My parents do a great job of making us all feel like we have their support,” the junior said. “They come to our games and give us advice to help us become the people they want us to be.”

In contrast to these large families, some students at Fairmont have no siblings. “Sometimes I enjoy being an only child because I am allowed to have people over whenever I want,” said junior Damian Hughes. “But it can get pretty boring and quiet, too.”

Hughes wishes he had siblings to teach life lessons to. “I want a little brother who I can teach how to play sports and hang out with,” said Hughes. “But I do enjoy having a room to myself and my parents’ attention.”

Some families aren’t unique in the sense of how many kids are in the family, but in how many parents are present in the child’s life.

EJ Sanford, a Fairmont junior, lives with only his mother. “My dad has never been a huge part in my life,” said Sanford. He feels very close with his mom and considers her his biggest role model. “My whole life she has been there for me and has raised me herself. I have a lot of respect for her and look up to her because of that.”

Divorced parents are becoming more common in families, and as a result, more students are growing up in multiple homes.

Since the age of six, sophomore Megan DeBanto has grown up in two different houses. “I’ve gotten used to it now, but it was difficult to have to keep track of what I left at which house,” said DeBanto. “I like having two separate Christmas celebrations and birthdays, but I do miss having everyone together,” said DeBanto. “My parents only live about 10 minutes away from each other so it is not too stressful, and I get to see both of them a lot.”

Not everyone is lucky enough to have their divorced parents live so close to each other, however. Sophomore Rachel Keathley’s mother lives in Kettering, but her father lives all the way in Waco, Texas. “I wish I got to see my dad more often,” said Keathley. “I think most people take for granted being able to see both of their parents every single day.”

Keathley travels to Waco to spend time with her dad and half-brother and stepmom every summer. “I cherish the time I get to spend with them when I go down there,” said Keathley. “Since I see them so rarely, I really try to spend all day with them to make up for lost time.”

No matter if a family is small or large, blood-related or adopted, a single unit or divided, a family will always be a family.

“I may fight with my siblings and we may get under each other’s skin,” said Havener. “But no matter what, I would do anything for my family and I will always be there for them.”