I grew up as an only child.
I think some kids love being only children, but an important part to that is probably the family’s general consensus that one kid is enough. That wasn’t the way it was in our family. The first time I remember my mom being pregnant, I was in the third grade. My brother was delivered too early and although he would be in that grey area of trying to do something today, twenty years ago we just held him for an hour and let him go. And then another pregnancy, but no.
When I was in the fourth grade, my brother was born. He was born to someone else, someone in college who couldn’t keep him for many of the reasons you would think someone who is young and unmarried doesn’t keep a baby. That part of the story is the part you could fill in easily with imagined details and most of them would be right. The part that you might not be able to picture, however, is my part…mostly because I feel like the sibling part of adoption stories gets brushed over.
When my parents first decided to look into adoption, they sat me down to talk it over. I’m sure that absolutely none of the choice was up to me, but it gave me time to mull over the idea that there was going to be some baby that wasn’t in our family and it was going to come and live with us. I had weird, confused visions of orphanages and babies being delivered in baskets to our door and shivering waifs who would have to sleep with me in my bed because where else (in our four bedroom home) could they possibly sleep?
What I wasn’t confused about was how much I wanted a sibling. Brother or sister, it didn’t matter. To put it plainly, it was just lonely rattling around in our great big house with my parents and our rabbit. All of my friends had siblings (most of them multiple since we live in Utah) and I wanted to know what it would be like to have someone else my size at the table. So when the inspections happened and they came to talk to our family and look us all over, I was on my best behavior. I wore new dresses and spoke carefully about doing well in school and performed recital pieces on the piano, which were practiced for hours beforehand. I didn’t know exactly how good of a sister one had to be to get one of those orphanage waifs but I wasn’t going to have the whole thing fall apart because of me.
And then we got the call. So fast, in fact, that it’s probably the fastest adoption I’ve ever heard of. And then we got the other call to say the baby was coming. And we went.
He wasn’t a waif and he wasn’t at the orphanage. He was in the hospital nursery and even though there had to be at least five other babies there, I saw him through the glass as soon as I looked. He was dark, tiny, and had the biggest eyes I had ever seen. He was also the only one who seemed to be looking back at me and I swear to heaven he was trying to lift his head up, which wouldn’t surprise me at all because Randy has always had a weird vein of superhuman strength.
When they let us take him home, I sat in the backseat with him for the hour long drive and made sure he kept breathing. Then we laid him down in his cradle at home and I sat and watched him to make sure he kept breathing. I’d say I spent the first month of his life basically hovering over him to make sure he didn’t need anything. They came to check on him and it was the same thing all over again (new clothes, careful behavior, showing off the clean house) except this time I jumped up whenever he so much as hiccuped so they wouldn’t think we weren’t taking care of him the right way. If they tried to take him back, I was going with him.
We got to keep him.
I’ve heard people say that they don’t even think of their sons/daughters/brothers/sisters as adopted, but I don’t fall into that category. It could be because I was so much older when Randy was born, but I never forget that he’s adopted. It’s not because I don’t feel like he’s my “real” brother. I don’t know if that would be a different feeling but I doubt it would be better. Randy being adopted means he was hard won, so wished for, and came into the house automatically being the best thing in history. And even though he’s a twerp a lot of the time, I probably love him more than any sister ever.
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Today is National Adoption Day and Honey Maid sponsored this post as part of their ongoing commitment to supporting families of all shapes, sizes, and designs. We love Honey Maid products because they’re great about allergy labeling in addition to delicious so we’ve had lots of family moments around their products (graham crackers in particular) so I was so happy to partner with them on this.
Honey Maid has long recognized and celebrated that while the makeup and day-to-day lives of families have evolved, the idea and importance of wholesome family connections remains the same. Like the American family, Honey Maid has continued to evolve across its 90 year heritage. From classic grahams to Teddy Grahams, Honey Maid’s wholesome products are made with whole grains and real honey, without high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors, and are wholesome snacks families can agree on for any occasion.
Thank you, Honey Maid!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.