Shy has 4 full biological brothers. She is the youngest of the five. Shy has seen the two younger brothers a few times each in the last year, but the two oldest ones she has not seen since the beginning of December of last year. We have tried to get them together, but last we knew those two did not have final adoptions by the foster parents, and the foster parents just never seem interested in getting those two together with the three younger kids. We are going up to Maine for Thanksgiving and we are going to give it another try. We are in hopes that we can get all 5 of them together.
But there is a 6th.
We had never heard Shy really talk about him before. He is a half-brother to the other 5. He has the same mother. He was the first one taken from the home and was taken a full year ahead of the other 5. That means that Shy was only one year old when he left the home. When the Termination of Parental Rights occurred with the half-brother, there was one final "good-bye" visit ordered by the judge for all the siblings. Shy attended that visit. She was around 28 months old at that time.
I can't remember hearing anything about this half-brother at all since that time, and she hasn't seen him but that one time in the last 5 years. She is only 6 years old, so we wouldn't expect to hear anything about him.
Yet the other day, when Shy and I were alone in the car she started asking about her Brothers. I talked about her one adopted brother Barry, and her 4 b iological brothers. Then she asked; "Wasn't there another brother?"
I asked her what she meant and she said she thought there was another brother from her old mommy. I simply said that there was, but she hadn't seen him in a long time, and he had a different father. Needless to say, I was quite astonished by her question, but looking back on it, I probably should not have been.
This past June we went to a "Forever Families" camp in Pennsylvania. It was a great time and all three of us, as well as everyone else there enjoyed it immensely. Tehre was plenty of fun to be had, but there was also plenty of learning to be had. One of the things I learned was that you never know what is going to happen next. Sometimes kids are very open about their adoption. Some times kids are very closed about their adoption. Sometimes they want to talk about their biological family, and sometimes they don't. Sometimes they will ask about things that take you by surprise, and sometimes they will ask you the same questions over and over just to see if they get the same answer.
It is for reasons like that, that parenting an adopted child is different from parenting a biological child. Not better, not worse. Not more fulfilling, not less. Not more loving, not less. Just different. And the differences never cease to amaze me.
I can't wait for Forever Families weekend in 2012. I look forward to learning more, and seeing the friends we met there last year. I know Shy can't wait to go back either.