A young man’s memory of his sister’s adoption
Although I was only three years old I remember the night I first met my new sister quite well. My parents had been gone in Springfield for nearly three days going through the final phases of the adoption process. At the time, obviously I hadn’t even a faint idea how much was involved with adopting a child and what was involved with adopting my baby sister Lily from her birth mother in Springfield, Illinois.
My parents had considered adoption for years and ended up working with Adoption Center of Illinois in Chicago, then known as Family Resource Center. In another post I’ll share what I learned about the history of their decision to adopt. This post relates to how adoption come into my awareness as a young child and about how it has impacted my family.
As a toddler I just didn’t understand what was going on and for all I knew my parents had gone to a “baby store” or maybe even received Lily as a gift from a kind stork. I sat eagerly waiting in the front window of our home in Evanston, Illinois with my wide-eyed nanny Rosalina right by my side. It was way past my bedtime when my family car’s headlights came to view in the driveway. My parents slowly walked inside carefully holding a little bundle. They lowered the bundle into my view and I gazed upon the smallest, and most beautiful wide-eyed baby I had ever seen before. She was Lily, my new baby sister.
From the first time I held her in my arms, all the way through attending high school with her, growing up with Lily has been an experience unlike another other. It’s always been a funny thing to see the look on people’s faces when they find out that Lily is my sister because we don’t look much alike. After all, Lily has a beautiful biracial skin tone while I’m just about as pale as the ghost of Christmas Past. When people become intrigued and start asking questions about how Lily is my sister I am more than happy to explain to them that she was adopted from her birthmother in Springfield when she was just days old.
Our family has an open adoption with Lily’s birth family. This means that our family still stays in contact with Kelly, Lily’s birth mother and her family. I’ve been to visit Lily’s birth family with her twice. These visits have proven to me why communication between birth families and adoptive families can be an amazingly positive thing, and good for everyone. To be able to view the love and happiness Lily’s birthmother has for her is a beautiful thing. Through my parent’s agreement with Lily’s birth mom, Kelly gets to see Lily grow and flourish as she takes on life and Lily gets to stay in contact with her birthmother and that part of her extended family network. A number of years back Kelly gave birth to another baby girl and decided that she was old and financially stable enough to raise her. She sent Lily information about her new half sister, along with a photo. I could tell that Lily was excited, and in fact she immediately hung the photo up of her sister in her room with a collage of other photos.
Adopting Lily into our family has been a beautiful thing. As a family we have faced our challenges and grown together as a complete whole. Lily is, and always will be my one and only sister.