What Makes a Family: Teachable Tuesday

How do you define FAMILY?
Who you grew up with?
Who you share genetics with?

This is a question you will want to really ponder before starting this new activity.

For us, LOVE makes a family. Not genetics. Not holiday facebook photos of “togetherness.” Not shared history.  LOVE.

We discuss adoption with our daughters nearly every single day.

We do this for two reasons:
1) Because we plan to adopt in the future and
2) Because adoption is at the heart of the Gospel message. 

I created this activity to help provide a tangible component to a very important message.

What You Will Need:

If you haven’t noticed by now, I am ALL about using (and reusing) supplies that are already in your home!

What to Do


  • Write “What makes a FAMILY?” on one sheet of foam.
  • Cut out heart shapes.
    NOTE: I have sensory seeking littles. Meaning, their attention spans are very short if they are not engaging in sensory play. I cut out small hearts for them to “fidget” with, and larger hearts to write each message on.
  • Set up contact paper on a wall or open space.
  • IMG_0988
  • Smaller hearts for “fidgeting” 
  • I then took one large heart at a time and wrote out different ways that we define “What makes a FAMILY. ” I discussed each concept with my daughters and then handed them the heart to stick on the contact paper.
    Examples of what we used: Christ, love, grace, trust, we listen, we forgive, and laughter.
  • Review all the words you listed, and discuss words you did NOT list and WHY.
    For us, we chose to leave out the word “genetics.” I talked to them about how we believe shared DNA, skin-tone, interests, etc. are not how God defines family in the Bible.
  • Romans 8:14-17

  • 14 For all those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption,by whom we cry out, “AbbaFather!” 16 The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, 17 and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

How to Add to this Activity

If you have children that are a bit older, here are some ways you can deepen this activity.

  1. Share Bible verses about adoption and allow your children to ask questions. Don’t know the answer? No problem, most of us don’t! Look it up together and allow your search to inspire further questions.
  2. Here are a few good places to start:
    10 Bible Verses on Adoption
    What does the Bible say about adoption?
    Focus on the Family
  3. Use real-life examples. Do you know adoptive families? Do you have people in your life that you love dearly and consider family? Do you have biological family that doesn’t act like family? Talk about all of these real life examples *at a level appropriate to your child’s age* and do not shy away from their questions.
  4. Look for a foster or adoptive family you can support.  Not all of us are called to adopt, but that shouldn’t keep us from supporting families that are. Cook a meal with your kids and bring it over. Gather clothes, toys, or gift cards for them. Serve them as a family!

Keep the Conversation Going

Talk about what makes a family with your children often. Discuss adoption, what healthy families are and are NOT, and most importantly…share the Gospel.