When L was born, his brother had already been in care for two years and had been living in his pre-adoptive placement for a year. L was placed in a foster home because his brother's family didn't feel comfortable taking L as a straight foster placement. At that point, L's goal was reunification. When his goal was changed to adoption, he was offered to P's family again. They'd been on the road to TPR for two years at that point and were looking at another two years before they could finalize with P. I posted here about how that situation changed drastically, but no one had a crystal ball. We were told it would be 2-3 years before we could finalize. P's family just couldn't deal emotionally with starting at the beginning with L and I don't blame them at all. There were many ups and downs that happened before we entered the picture. There were also the financial considerations of having two kids in daycare and adding another three years of daycare costs. So L's adoption worker started looking for an adoptive home for L and somehow, through some miracle I don't understand, she found us.
We had our second visit with P and his family today. P is old enough to remember L from supervised visits that the two would have together with their biological dad. I don't think there's the concept of "brother." Really, how could there be? They never lived together and saw each other once a month at most. L seems to be familiar with P, but I don't think there's a true memory there. More a sense of, "I think I may know you from somewhere so I'm not totally freaked out by you." They're two years apart, and so are in very different places developmentally. They are both only children who don't particularly like to share their toys so it can make for some testy interactions. There was pushing, toy wrestling, and hitting with toy parts today. Maybe in some sense they do realize they're siblings after all! Actually, siblings or not I think it's all completely normal, given their ages and their age difference.
On the other hand, DH and I, and I think P's parents, enjoy the visits, probably much more than the boys do. It's fascinating to compare notes. How does he sleep? What does he eat? What's biology? What's environment? Also, they are the only people who know what it's like to be adopting a child with this exact family background. And it is a background with a lot of trauma and abuse. Since P is older, they'll be breaking the ground of talking about adoption and birth family before we do so I hope we'll be able to learn from them.
I'm not sure what the ultimate outcome of this relationship will be. Will the boys ever truly feel like brothers? They'll know they're brothers, but how does that work when you don't live together or share any living parents? Will they feel comfortable talking to each other about their background, their feelings about adoption? Will they be close friends? Will they feel burdened by the relationship--thinking they're supposed to feel one way but in reality feeling quite differently? There's no way of answering any of those questions now. I just know it's important to keep the door open to any possibility of a relationship the boys might have so that's what we're doing.
We're going to get together with them again next week. We've been invited by them to attend a family party because I guess, in some sense, we're family now.