I'm going to tell you a little something about adoption.
1. It is not a dirty word. It should never be associated with shame, or secrets.
2. It is a gift and a blessing and a new beginning --- to the parents, and family. You know, like a new baby? Adopted kids don't owe anyone anything anymore than any other kid. They're children. With parents. It's life.
3. It is normal. It is so normal. It is one of the oldest practices of social creatures of any species. It is as old as procreation. It is natural and human and a transcendent act of love. It is the most beautiful epitome of humanity at its best.
4. 12 years ago, my kid brother was a concept in a phone call. An approximately 8 week old baby had been found in a dangerous place. He was very ill and malnourished. He needed an experienced, gentle, patient, compassionate foster home with medically complex certified parents, and well-behaved other placements and bio children, for the weekend. My mom said yes.
5. He was scary small and little and had been through hell. All I knew is that I was 9 and I loved him. Instantly.
6. He stayed and stayed and stayed. We fought to keep him every day and were more and more terrified with every extra inch of love we felt for him because he could be taken at any second. If applications who were first in line weren't so scared of his history, we could have lost him. Adoption through foster care is complicated and rare, especially for babies.
7. He was 8 months old when we were promised he'd stay. 11 months old - Dec 2005 - when we signed the paperwork with a judge's stamp. We celebrate adoption day like a birthday.
8. He is 12. Pediatricians and investigators chose a special day in January for his birthday. We love him. My God, do we love him.
9. I often forget he's adopted until we talk about birthdays and adoption anniversary. It's not a bad topic, it is an open and casual one. It's so normal you forget, like knowing your dad was Class of '89 or your mom was raised Catholic for a time or your other brother is a Virgo and liked to wear Power Rangers costumes as a toddler. It is a memory. He is so much more as a person than one memory.
10. Ask me about my adopted brother. I will tell you he is funny. He loves animals and Minecraft and games amd nature and Youtube. He has a lizard named Lizzarri Pennington. He goes to a special school for gentle, sensitive children filled with farm animals and gardens and meditation tree-houses in a place called Bethlehem. He is my brother. I have two brothers, a dog, a cat, and share the lizard... kind of. I love them. I love him.
11. He is part of me, wired into my core, with a fabric just as powerful and true as my biological brother. There's no hesitation. It's not different. It doesn't exist in the back of my head, it's not awkward, and it's not otherness.
12. My adopted is my brother. I am his sister. My biological is my brother. I am his sister. This is who we are. The fact that there are people in my extended family who don't consider that true disgusts me. I will always choose him. No blood bond to an aunt or a great grandmother means a fraction to me of my relationship with my brothers. It doesn't come close.
13. I am the only one allowed to bother or fight them in any way okay bye
14. I am invested in them and commited to them and will be a part of their lives always. Their success and happiness and wellbeing are parts of mine. As long as we are alive, none of us will be alone or abandoned or neglected or forgotten. We are independent and imperfect, we have different interests and separate lives, but we are connected forever.
15. I will never think twice about making sacrifices for them. My brothers, my parents, they are my family and family is everything. We have been through things no one will ever understand. They will always come first.
16. I am a human being who is full of love and passion for a great many things. I love many people and sometimes feel my capacity to love the entire world is still intact, against all odds. They are why.
17. I am often told people are amazed or surprised at any one piece of my story - part, because I can count on one hand the people who know and understand it all. I love hard and I have been through a lot and I am resilient and relentless and imperfect and brave (terrified) and passionate. I mess up. A lot. I keep going. I am always afraid. I keep going. That didn't happen because I casually happened to be born chill. No. I was given the beautiful gift of being surrounded by a fearless, passionate, pure, unconditional, accepting, relentless love, for my entire life. Despite all the pain and suffering and heartbreak and fear. If I can show my brother that? "That would be enough."
18. My friends always receive the best of me. My family IS the best of me.
19. Adoption is beautiful.