A mom's sweet photo of her daughter and her 'Bonus Mommy' is giving people hope.

You know that oft-cited "stat" about how half of marriages end in divorce, and it's only getting worse?

Well here's the good news: It's not totally true! Divorce rates are actually falling among younger generations in the United States for a number of reasons, including people waiting a little longer until they're sure they want to tie the knot.

Now here's the bad news: The divorce rate is still somewhere between a half and a third, which means — when kids are involved — there are still an awful lot of "blended families" out there.


We tend to think of a divorce as an emotional process filled with rage and resentment, but it's not always that simple. Most parents would agree that they want to do whatever is best for their children. And in a lot of cases when divorce is involved, that means continuing to work together with their ex-partner, even once the marriage itself is over.

Easy? Definitely not. Impossible? Not necessarily.

Mom Hayley Booth recently shared her own blended family story on Facebook and introduced the name she uses for her ex's new wife, Dakota: She's her daughter's "bonus mommy."

Often times I have people ask me how my ex, his wife, my husband and I co-parent so flawlessly. My answer is always...

Posted by Hayley Booth on Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Booth's photo, which shows the two women walking their daughter down the hall on her first day of school, makes it clear that the exes and new partners in this family get along.

But how do they do it?

"My answer is always the same — We just love our daughter," she writes. "Seriously, it's just that simple."

During Booth's divorce, "It was hard to see past [the anger]," she explains in a Facebook message.

With time and communication, however, came healing.

"Believe it or not, we talked through our problems. We did what adults are supposed to do," she says. "[I realized Dakota] wasn't trying to replace me at all. She was just trying to love my little girl the best she could. And that helped me see past all of it."

Most research shows that divorce doesn't necessarily mean poor long-term outcomes for kids, but that doesn't mean it doesn't take hard work and a lot of love from everyone involved to make that a reality.

The whole blended family. Photo by Stardust Studio, used with permission.

Booth says thousands of parents have written to her since her story went viral, some applauding her for sharing, others desperate for advice on how to make their own complicated arrangement work. She admits that it can't always work, that sometimes there might be too much pain to overcome.

She hopes her story and her friendship with her daughter's Bonus Mommy can help some people in their own lives.

"I really hope it's reaching the right people," she says.

On February 19, 2020, a group of outdoor adventurists took a 25-day rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. During the trip, they had no cell service and no contact with the outside world. When they ended they ended their journey on March 14, the man who pulled them ashore asked if they had been in touch with anyone else. When the rafters said no, the man sighed, then launched into an explanation of how the globe had been gripped by the coronavirus pandemic and everything had come to a screeching halt.

The rafters listened with bewilderment as they were told about toilet paper shortages and the NBA season being canceled and everyone being asked to stay at home. One of the river guides, who had done these kinds of off-grid excursions multiple times, said that they'd often joke about coming back to a completely different world—it had just never actually happened before.

The rafters' story was shared in the New York Times last spring, but they're not the only ones to have had such an experience.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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