You don’t really have a choice when it comes to family. Come hell or high water, Thanksgiving and weddings, you’re pretty much stuck with what fate and genetics gave you.
Or are you?
A new website called ChooseAFamily.com lets you, well, choose a new family. It’s like a dating site, except instead of searching for a romantic spark, you’re searching for the grandma, brother or mentor you never had (or possibly a replacement for a naturally-given relative who just doesn’t fit.)
Kim Parshley, the woman who created the site, says she got the idea after losing both parents and growing up without a large, tight-knit family. She "believes no one should spend Thanksgiving dinner eating alone,” according to her bio on the site. “There is a way to reach across the sky and find the family member you always wanted or needed.”
But why stop at just one substitute sibling or parent? The site encourages you to explore a “customizable family tree” by expanding your search to more than one relative.
The site isn’t just for those mourning the loss of a loved one, or feeling a void from a relative who never existed. “Many people are dissatisfied with the hand they were dealt when it comes to family members,” the site reads. For instance, “instead of relying on a less-than-ideal match with one’s birth father, now, people can find a new ‘father’ who has their same goals, some political and religious leanings, and maybe even the same taste in music …”
Currently, there are twelve categories available for browsing, including all the traditional family roles as well as mentors and friends. Though there are many motivations one could have for building their own family tree, one testimonial sums up the site’s goal in one sentence:
“Friends are OK,” it reads. “But sometimes family is better.”