As always My Story is from my point of view. You can read my disclaimer here.
My little brother has a long story. I hope one with a happy ending for him. But I know it has been a long and bumpy road for him.
As I wrote, my parents began taking in foster kids before my first memories come into focus. It was just one kid or two at first. My parents were committed to caring for these “orphans” these kids in need.
But they also wanted to add one more kid to our family, to our nuclear, core family of 4. My parents had always planned on adopting one more child. It was not in reaction to the needs of our foster kids but part of their desire to help with the world crowding problem that was popular to discuss in the 70s while having a family of three. At one point my parents were talking about adopting one of the older foster boys who lived with us but that did not work out. Then when I was 4 we found out there was a baby needing a family and my parents jumped at the chance to add this little boy to our clan.
They adopted my little brother when he was 10 months old. He was given up at birth and had been living with a foster family that loved him until I was almost 5 when he came home to our family. Knowing what I know now about his mother and his prenatal care, it is not a surprise that he had some serious challenges. He had problems with his ears as a child. Suffered a few seizures from high fevers as a toddler. But it was not until he was a preschooler that his ADD, his lack of impulse control and inability to stay on task for any length of time became a challenge for him.
None of this mattered to us, to our family. He was one of us. He was my brother. It made complete sense to me that we were a family, my parents, my older brother and my new little brother, that we were permanent and that the foster kids were temporary. It turns out my little brother being adopted was confusing to some of the foster kids later on, especially when my parents did not adopt any other kids but that is another story. It is his story to tell.
I wish things had turned out better in the end. I wish my parents had learned from what happened and never allowed him to be put in that situation again. I wish my parents had protected him better. I wish they had focused on his needs and not fallen back into the comfort of being foster parents, a job they felt confident in and a job that gave them a sense of doing good and serving God. I wonder what would have happened if they had chosen my brother over their job?
I wish things had not gone so sour as he turned into a teenager and then an adult. I wish he had seen us as his family and not as he called us, his “adoptive family”. I wish he had been able to find his way younger and not gone into his 20s with so much baggage and poor decision making. I wish things had been better for him, for us, for our whole family.
But choices were made. Pain built up. Life kept going. And now we are no longer a family of five. We are now five separate families, trying to figure out what our history means for each of us.