Tuesday, May 27, 2014

It's Complicated

I'm the oldest of three. I have two younger sisters. But I used to be the youngest of four with three older brothers.

I'm the middle of three. I have two sisters. I used to be the youngest with two sisters, but they were a different two sisters. And I had a brother too.

I was an only child once, but now I have two older sisters.

My sister and I are thirteen months apart. I was an only child for two and a half years. I was eleven when she came.


How do you answer questions about siblings truthfully without telling strangers about the whole crazy mess that older child adoption brings?

It's complicated.

When I first started down this adoption path I learned something about myself. I learned that I liked things that come in tidy packages. I liked things that are neat and clean and have definite edges and boundaries.

I didn't like messes. I didn't like gray areas. I didn't like complicated. And I didn't like blurry lines.

Funny how all these years later my life is full of messy, complicated, gray, blurry lines.

I mean how hard is it to answer a simple question?  "Do you have any brothers or sisters?"

Around here it's hard. Really hard. Emotionally hard.

But we're okay with it, because we've learned that hard is something we can handle.

So the story of our family doesn't roll off the tongue with ease. So it's full of complicated story lines that can make people uncomfortable and wish they'd never met us. So our timelines are a little off and somedays we forget the names of people we should probably remember.

So what?

I've learned that most people don't have a seamless tale to tell anyway. I don't. Why did I always think I did?

Everybody has things in their past that are hard to explain or embarrassing to admit. Sometimes it's things we brought on ourselves. Other times it's things we had no control over.

Either way pasts are sticky.

What makes my story worse than yours? What makes mine better?


I'm still a sinner saved by grace. Nothing more.

In the beginning I viewed my girls' pasts as dark and hard and something to overcome.

But now I see them differently. I see them as part of their story. It doesn't have to be the best part. It doesn't have to be big part. Just a part.

Just like my past is a part of me.

It doesn't have to define who I am or what today will look like.

How many brothers and sisters do you have?

Sometimes she'll say two sisters, other times she'll say more. It depends on her audience.

And that's okay, because complicated doesn't have to be a bad thing.

Neither does messy or blurry or gray....


Alethea said...

The "how many siblings" question can be so complicated in many situations. I never realized this until I met my husband. He sometimes says he has 1 brother, because his mother has one more child. Or sometimes he says he has 2 brothers and 3 sisters, because his dad had another son and three daughters. Though technically his dad only had two daughters, because the other daughter is another man's kid, who he parents. It really is so situational! And my husband is SO much older than all the other kids that he didn't grow up with any of them, so he doesn't have a close sibling relationship.

A House Called Home said...

That is so true for so many families Alethea! It's not only in the adoption world...

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