by Emma Fischer| features editor
This month, six years ago, we adopted two of my three siblings. I have heard many people saying that they will adopt when they are older, but adopting takes more than paperwork. It takes a lot of money, time and tears.
I knew since I was younger that I wanted a brother and stuck with just a younger sister, I wanted the opposite.
The first little boy we fostered was only for a weekend. His name will not be used for safety purposes. I became quite attached and when he had to leave, it was heartbreaking. He was only a baby, but he still caused me to attach. That was only a tip of the heartbreak I would feel…
Another little boy, the second one, came to us. He wasn’t at the end of his case, but he wasn’t at the beginning either. He stayed for much longer. Day after day, he became attached to us and us to him. We had a Christmas, a Halloween, a Thanksgiving, and a Valentines with him. I still remember his chubby cheeks and the dimples when he smiled, his bright laugh and the way he’d like when I’d push him around in a plastic playbox on the tile floor. Even my distant family fell in love with him.
But after five months, after Valentine’s, we received a call.
He was going back.
His father had filled and done all of the paperwork to take custody. This boy, who I thought of as a little brother, was being taken away to his biological family. He wasn’t going to stay with us.
When CSP came to pick him up, I hugged him so tight I questioned if he could breathe. I sure couldn’t. Tears ran down my cheeks, my chest was heavy with bricks, my hands were clammy, my shoulders shook. I don’t think he understood where he was going. I just remember his smile when he got in the car, how he waved and I had to look away.
I’ve never seen him since. To this day, I miss my foster brother.
My sister, mother, father and I were all broken. I don’t even recall a time where we’ve cried that much, where I’ve eaten the least, where my heart had broken.
We didn’t foster for a while, afraid and unwilling for our hearts to break again.
But one day, my parents asked my sister and I if we were ready to foster to adopt again and we said yes.
We received a call not long after. I remember that night with such clarity. We were debating whether to go to kung fu or not, but ended up building the two twin beds for my two now soon to be adopted siblings.
When they came, the only thing they showed up with were the clothes on their bodies. They were both very scared and confused at first, but that shell melted away within a few hours. I remember my parents speaking with the women who brought them, but biological sister talking and making the younger sister laugh on the couch and me, chasing my foster brother around the couch while he scooted on a play car. When I’d get to close, he’d whip around, shoot out his hand and yell ‘stop!’ with a laugh and giggle.
When the women stood up to leave, my foster siblings followed, until my parents reached out.
“You want to stay with us for a while?” I’m not sure who said that, but the look of joy on my brother and sister’s face was too bright to explain in words.
The next day, we took them shopping for clothes, since the pants my brother had were too big for him and he had no other change of clothes. I remember my brother staring at his bed for the first time; ‘this is just mine?’. Or when he was handed a jacket, ‘this is my jacket?’ He had never had his own before.
His speech was delayed, but we helped. My youngest sister was delayed as well, but caught up much faster because she was younger. Slowly but surely, they caught up to their grade level. They tried more foods and found things they loved to eat.
My brother didn’t smile as much. I thought, at the time, he was conscious of his silver cap at the front of his mouth. I smiled at him once and said, ‘it’s okay. I have some too.’ I opened my mouth and showed him the silver caps I have on my six-year molars.
It was rare to not see a smile on his face after that. He fell in love with strawberries, fruit, chicken, fish and anything thrown at him to eat. He wasn’t afraid to ask questions about what things were. He trusted us, so did his sister. It was obvious she was smart. She picked up things incredibly fast and even now, she’s ahead on reading.
They were towards the end of their case.
It was guaranteed that we would keep my brother, but my youngest sister, might be sent back to her father if he filled out all of the paperwork. It would have been a nightmare for the siblings to be seperated. I couldn’t even imagine the heartbreak I would have felt.
When we slowly came to the day of adoption, we changed their names. My sister and I came up with them.
Katelyn, my biological sister, came up with Alexander.
I came up with Sophia.
The week of before Alex’s first day of kindergarten he walked straight up to his teacher and said, ‘my name is Alex,’ not the name before, but Alex. He threw away his past and started over, with us.
That day, when I heard what he had said, I cried.
Before adoption day, Sophia’s biological father relinquished custody. She was ours.
On November 2, 2012, Alex and Sophia officially became my brother and sister. They picked out a quilt which they still have. We stood up and I held their hands.
Adoptions is not just filling out paperwork and they hand you a child. Even with all of the tears and heartbreak, I never wish that it had gone any different.