Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Family's Fun, Even if You're the Only One Who Wasn't Adopted

Shortly after my parents made the decision to adopt, they asked me if I knew what adoption was. "I know what that is," I said confidently. "Like when I got my Cabbage Patch kid and we brought him home and changed his clothes and I named him Dermot instead of Lionel."

My parents smiled. "Well, sort of. Except we're bringing home two boys, and they will be your new brothers."

I asked what happened to their mother. Mom said their birth mother couldn't take care of them, so she asked for another family to raise her sons instead. I asked if the boys' Mom was sick, and if so, would she come pick up her sons when she felt better? I was told that no, adoption was forever, but the boys could search for their birth mother when they grew up.

I thought about that for a moment, before asking "Mom, am I adopted?" Part of me was intruiged by the idea of a birth family out there, just waiting for me to grow up and find them. "No, Sarah, you grew in my tummy, just like your older brothers and sisters."

I didn't believe her at first. In fact, I was convinced that this notion of two new brothers must be an elaborate lie. They invented it to try and introduce the idea of adoption to me before they told me the truth: that I was adopted, and they had forgotten to tell me until just now.

I pulled out old photo albums. "I must be adopted. No one has the same nose as me!" My parents shook their heads no. "Sorry, kiddo. Not adopted."

"But I have blue eyes and yours are green, Mom, and Dad's are brown." Again, they shook their heads. "Sorry, kiddo, not adopted."

I harumphed about it for a day or so, and moved on. And then my brothers moved in. I was jealous of the attention they got, the fact that there were TWO of them replacing the ONE of me who -- up until their arrival -- had been showered with all the love and attention the youngest in every family is lucky enough to receive.

Years passed. Two siblings by adoption became three, then four, and finally five. In the middle of it all, my parents had one more biological child.

Watching how he made sense of the adoption triangle was even more confusing. One morning Connor (my bio sibling) sat at the kitchen table with Cory, the twins, and my little sister Becky (my siblings through adoption).

I was busy making my lunch in the kitchen, but as usual kept one nosy ear on the kids' conversation.

"When I grow up I'm gonna meet my birth dad. I wonder if he has big feet like me." Cory lifted his foot up on the kitchen table.

"Grosssssssssssssss!" Becky hissed. "Your birth dad will run away if you don't wash you feet first!"

The twins giggled. "We're gonna switch names and see if our mom recognizes us."

All of a sudden Connor started crying. I figured someone had kicked him or sunk their teeth into a fleshy part of a limb. "What's wrong!?" I exclaimed.

He wiped away his tears. "N-nothing." he said. "Except I don't have a birth mooooom!" He ran from the room wailing.

Huh. Didn't see that one coming. The remaining kids collapsed into giggles. "What's Connor's problem?" They laughed amongst themselves.

How nice that they had the joy of growing up in a family where being adopted is the norm, and being a biological offspring puts you in the minority.

Poor Connor. No birth family to look forward to, he's stuck with just our crazy family from here on out. "Cheer up, little bro."

"When you grow up, you can adopt as many kids as you like, and they'll all come with birth families and relatives and stories to keep you busy until you're old like me."

That made him smile at least. "Except I'll *never* be as old as you." Ah, yes. Thank you, little brother.