Friday, November 27, 2009

A Brother From Another Mother

Well, actually brothers from the same biological mother, but raised by different adoptive mothers. That's my son and his older brother, P.  They're full biological siblings being raised in separate homes. One of the reasons we were chosen as the adoptive family for L is because we live near his brother's family and were willing to maintain contact with them.  L's adoption worker, who is also his brother's adoption worker, thought we would be a good match for P's parents and that they would feel comfortable having continuing contact with us. 

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. 


Barb said...

That's so awesome, and I think you're doing everything needed to make it a very promising future for them. :)

My situation is very different, but I eventually bonded with a little girl not blood related to me at all, 7.5 yrs my junior who came into my life in a crazy way (when I was 8) with a father I highly resented and who highly resented me. So of course I resented her. I used to tell people, "she's not my sister," when I was a bratty little shit.

Now I call her my sister with pride and can't imagine life without her.

Lost in Space said...

What an amazing gift, Karen...for not only the boys, but also for you and P's parents.

Me said...

Hey Luv - I didn't comment on this when you first posted it. Probably out of laziness. I have a really complex set of emotions related to this post. But I guess it boils down to: Yay!

I think that as these boys age there is a potential for all kinds of issues. BUT. You rock. And if your little man's brother's parents rock even half as much, you'll all find your way through the storm in an AMAZING fashion.

You've changed your blog pic. I don't remember it when I first read this post. Did you change it then; was I just unobservant?