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AARP The Magazine


The New American Family

Meet 6 clans who embody our country's changing ideas about what kinship is

Single Mom to Stepmom

The rate of single parenthood in the U.S. has increased dramatically since 1970, as Americans marry later in life, or not at all. And divorce among boomers is also common and rising. When these trends collided in a New England home, a new blended family was born.

Modern Factor: "I didn't need to find Mr. Wonderful so I could start a family," says Catherine Anderson, a 46-year-old middle school teacher. "I created a family when I was economically stable and emotionally ready."

Anderson, far right, adopted her son Sam, fourth from right, in 2005 and gave birth to his brother Marcel, second from left, via a sperm donor in 2007.

Then, in 2011, she met her fiancé, David Beseda, second from right. Beseda, 61, is a divorced social worker and the father of five grown children, including, from left, Rachael, 31; Hannah, 25; Luke, 29; and Jason, 30. (Not pictured is Hannah's twin, Emma.) All told, David "has a hundred years of parenting experience," says Anderson. "I really get to capitalize on that."

Next page: Living with grandma. »

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