An Open Letter to My Adopted Sibling

An Open Letter to My Adopted Sibling

Just because we aren't blood, doesn't mean we aren't siblings.

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To my adopted sibling,

Words can't describe how thankful I am to have you in my life. In a way, I'm being selfish for saying this, and it has to be bittersweet for you. Your birth parents didn't have the means to take care of you, which gave us the opportunity to give you everything you deserve. It's moments like this in life that make me believe in miracles because if you weren't brought to our family, my life would be completely different.

I wouldn't be able to hug you as tight as I can when I say goodbye to you. I wouldn't be able to brag about you to all of my friends about you doing so well in school. I wouldn't be able to try to hold back tears when I watch you shine like a star on the basketball court. I wouldn't be able to look at you with such pride and thank God every day for somehow blessing us with you.

I know that one day you may grow up and resent your birth parents, but please don't. They were young, but they were mature. They were mature enough to realize that another family could give you a better life. That they couldn't give you everything that you deserve. Don't ever think they didn't love you. They loved you so much that they did the hardest thing they will ever face, and choose your happiness over theirs.

Everything happens for a reason, and I know you were meant to be my brother. Sometimes blood isn't always thicker than water, because you are my brother no matter what the DNA tests say. We don't need the same genes to be considered family, because we already have everything we need. Love, friendship and a bond that can't be broken.

Adoption is such a powerful thing, and because of you, I would love to eventually adopt a child of my own someday to make them feel as loved as you are because everyone deserves that.

So, I don't think I'll ever be able to truly put into words how truly grateful I am to call you my brother, but I can tell you that I do and always will love you endlessly.

Love,

Your Sister

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6 Huge Ways Your Life Changes After Escaping A Small Town

"Don't let small-town life make your life small."

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I've read a few articles on small towns and some statistics show that 20-30% of Americans live in small towns and 80% of the nation's population lived in one of the 350 combined metropolitan statistical areas.

After growing up in a small town myself, I think it can sometimes be difficult to be the person you want to be while trying to please all of your small-town fans. This is the first time in my life I've moved away from my small town with the intention to stay away for a very long time.

Why would I do something so silly?

Over the past two years, I realized how my hometown was stopping me from growing and accomplishing my dreams. Hanging out with friends generally became a gossip session because we were together so often and had nothing more to talk about. Neighbors knew where I was or who I was with. There was always some type of pressure to please everyone. There has always been someone to compare my life to or to be like.

Finally, I realized how detrimental this mentality was to my success.

After a series of events this year, I finally gathered the courage to pick up my life and move somewhere where I was a “no one." Somewhere where I could start fresh and never have to worry about pleasing someone down the street. I can vouch that this has been the biggest change in my life and the best possible move I could have made.

So what things actually change?

1. You find out who your true friends are.

This one will shock you. Remember that person you used to go to dinner with or spent countless nights finding a party or get together to go to with? That person magically fades away. The convenience of you being down the road is no longer an option and that person has now found a new acquaintance who has replaced you. Your genuine friends will continue to invite you to be a part of whatever and most will plan to spend time with you or come see you.

2. You no longer have a close-minded perception of everything.

I remember going to a grocery store and hearing the small town gossip from aisle to aisle. I remember how one-sided most issues were and if you weren't on board, your opinion was irrelevant. Now I can go to the store and not know a single person and have an opinion about anything I want and not have to worry about being shunned.

3. You suddenly turn into a mystery.

This one is great. People will start wondering where you went or what you've been up to. When I call my parents, I always get a good laugh from the conversations they've had with others who wonder what I'm up to. My favorite quote that relates to this is, “The less you reveal, the more people can wonder."

SEE ALSO: 8 Tiny Lies Every Young Adult Woman Has Told Their Best Friend

4.You are suddenly a nobody in your new community, and it's great.

I have a bad habit of trying to avoid people I know, so when I go into stores or do anything in public, I love being a nobody. I love being able to do all of my grocery shopping without being interrupted or asked about school.

5. You appreciate the small hometown things more.

I'm not going to lie, I cringe thinking about making a trip home, but that pizza place I had four times a week and those margaritas that my friends and I would gulp down when celebrating everything from a birthday to making it through a rough day at work suddenly become luxury items. You enjoy those country cruises and those salty fries so much more when you're away.

6. You start to find yourself.

I left this one for last because it's by far the most important thing that's happened to me. I got stuck thinking I needed to be married by 22 and have a family by the time I was 27. I no longer think this. I finally have a bucket list that involves so much more than beating my best friend in a keg stand at the annual town bonfire. I have found who I am through solely relying on me and the things that make me happy.

SEE ALSO: 8 Things You Realize After High School


Don't get me wrong, I love my hometown. It's made me who I am today, but even if it's only for six months, escape your small town. Get away and experience the world. Don't wait until it's too late. It's great out here!

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The Universe Knew I Needed A Little Brother To Make Me Who I Was Meant To Be

Who knew my biggest annoyance would also be my biggest teacher?

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Everyone has a love/hate relationship with their siblings. And if you say that you don't, you're either crazy or you're lying. Growing up, sometimes I asked myself, "Why aren't I an only child?"

My littlest brother has been bugging me since I was 4. He was born, and at the time I'm sure I thought it was the greatest thing to ever happen to me. Then he started talking. And walking. And figuring out how to push my buttons in ways that no human being ever could. (Don't worry little bro, I'll say nicer things about you later, just keep reading.)

My brother and I fought more than any pair of siblings I'd ever met in my childhood. My friends had little brothers but none of them ever seemed as fed up with theirs as I was with mine. There were times when he didn't even have to speak and I'd be furious with him. Everything set us off. As kids, we used to fight each other (physically), even though I was probably triple his weight. I remember a time when he knocked out one of my teeth, and in return, I hit him so hard he had bruises.

Do we sound certifiably insane yet? No? Just wait, it gets better.

We continued this kind of fighting until I was well into my teens. By that time he was growing, and soon he and I were an even match in terms of strength and height. This made our "wrestling" as my mom liked to call it, all the more crazy.

Once it got so heated during a car ride that we both started yelling ways we would kill the other if we had the chance. (This is the part that makes us really sound crazy.) We went back and forth for what felt like an eternity, but the funny part is that by the time we reached our destination, we were laughing so hard we had tears. We were complimenting the other's creativity and trying so hard to outdo each other coming up with the funniest ways to die.

The point of this is not to make everyone think that all we ever did was scream at each other. He's one of my favorite people on Earth, and a lot of my best childhood memories took place with him next to me.

What really helped was when I went off to college. It caught me by surprise how much I missed him. I checked in with him more than I expected, which probably annoyed him, and I found that I missed being in his company. I even missed our fights.

Now that I'm entering adulthood and he's living out his long-awaited teenage years, our fighting is less frequent and less intense.

I reflect back on my childhood growing up with my little brother, and I realized that if I hadn't had him by my side, I wouldn't be the person I am today and I'd lack a lot of the qualities that I love about myself. Part of the reason I'm tough and independent is that I had to be, growing up with him. Fighting with him taught me that I had to be able to hold my own in the world. He taught me the importance of family.

I'm extremely protective of the people I love, because of him. Growing up my little brother relied on me for a lot, whether he liked it or not. Watching out for him was an inherent part of who I was, it still is. But he also taught me that it's okay to lean on other people because I relied on him a lot too.

The older I got, the more I found myself defending him, trying to help others understand why he did some of the things he did. Maybe it's a sibling thing, or maybe it's all the years we spent harassing each other, but I've always been able to know what he means when he can't quite find the words.

I'm a good arguer. I know how to be patient. I'm good at resolving issues between myself and other people. Because those are all skills I had to develop to survive life growing up with him.

I wouldn't change my relationship with my little brother for anything in the world.

He's one of the best people I know. He is someone who may annoy me to no end but also inspires me every single day. The list of things I admire about him is just as long, if not longer, than the list of ways he annoys me. He thinks in ways no one else does, and he's a constant source of entertainment. He has street smarts I wish I had, and a perspective on life that few others can see. He's funny, creative, stubborn, and everything I'd ever want in a sibling.

I used to wonder why I had a little brother. Why I wasn't able to have the only-child life I thought I wanted. I know now, that the universe knew what it was doing all along. The universe knew I would need a constant pain-in-the-butt, in the form of a blue-eyed, blonde-haired psycho, to push me to be who I was meant to me. To show me all the things I needed to be to have the life I was meant to have. The universe brought my brother and me together in the same life, in the same family, because without him I'd be a very, very different human being.

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