“I want to meet my sister, and have deep dish pizza, and play in the snow.” These are the words we’ve been hearing from our five-year-old son recently.
“We can eat deep dish pizza here you know. And we could drive 4 hours to the mountains this winter to play in the snow,” we say, to which he replies, “No, we have to have deep dish pizza in Chicago” (apparently he saw a kids video about Chicago’s deep dish pizza,) “and when we go to Chicago we can play in the snow. There are tall buildings there – that’s what Mom says,” he says to his Dad. “And we can meet my sister when we are there.”
“We want these things too honey. We do,” we reply honestly. “We don’t know when we can meet her sweetie.” Inside we both wonder, does his sister even know he exists? Have her adoptive parents ever brought him up to her telling her that she has a brother? We have no clue. We know people have all different levels of comfort about what they want to share and what to not share with their own adoptive children. For us being as open and honest as possible about information that we know about his adoption is how we are choosing to raise our son. The people we surround ourselves with tend to share our viewpoints, or if they don’t agree with us at least they accept our choice as we do other people’s. As adoptive parents we knew that things would come up over time that would be complicated regarding our son’s adoption. Adoptions are messy and hard sometimes amongst the beauty and love that they contain.
The weird thing is that we hardly ever talked to our son about his sister in his five years of life. We introduced Catherine, his sister, to him when he was three by showing him a picture of her and briefly stating that she was adopted too, lived in Chicago and that she was his sister. (See “Introducing Catherine”) Since then we’ve only brought her up a handful of times, if that, just to remind him that he does indeed have a sister. So recently when he’s been expressing interest in meeting her it came as a surprise to us. Perhaps seeing all the kids with siblings at school has piqued his interest about his own sibling?
I believe the ‘not knowing’ aspect of this is the hardest part for me and for anyone that has faced any kind of adversity in their life especially for adoptive families who don’t know their child’s history or a birthparent who doesn’t hear a lot of information about their child. Because my husband and I are not in touch with the other adoptive family that is raising his sister, we have no answers for our son about her other than the little bits of information that has been shared with us over the years by his birthmother. We are very fortunate to be in touch with both my son’s birthparents. He knows them, has talked with them and has seen them several times. They are not at all missing pieces in my child’s life, which is beyond wonderful. The missing piece of the puzzle has always been our son’s older sister.
We had tried once to be in touch with Catherine’s adoptive parents years ago but for whatever reason (not known to us) it never happened. We dropped it, until now, when once again we are reaching out to them via our son’s birthmother. Perhaps this time they will be ready to connect with us? Or not? We don’t know.
Our hope is that eventually the two siblings (now ages 5 and 9) will form a relationship with each other. They can meet via Facetime or Skype or perhaps in person some day. How cool I envision that being for them! Our children are incredibly lucky to have a biological sibling when neither of our families alone could give them that.