Student of the Week

"Brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet."  ~Vietnamese Proverb

I wonder how deep the wound goes. 

Will it scar over for him? Will it always hurt? Will he always question it? Will he always feel the need to keep the real details to himself for not doing so might make mom cry?

My son.

My darling, amazing, caring, funny, freckle faced ten year old boy.

I wonder how often he thinks of his missing sister.

Does he want more contact? Does he want to write her? Does he wonder why she wont meet him? Wont meet me? Does he blame me? 

Does he lose sleep at night?

Clearly, again, he thinks of her constantly.

This honey eyed young tween is Student of the Week in the fourth grade. As such, he is given a pre-printed poster sized document that has various quadrants to complete.  The quadrants ask him about his favorite foods, sports, activities. They ask him about his family. There is space for a mini autobiography. There is a large space in the middle for a photo.

I knew nothing about this Student of the Week status until he appeared in front of me this evening holding up a picture of his missing sister.

"Mom, can I use this picture of [sisters original name followed quickly by her amended]?" he asks.

I look, a bit startled, but utter "Sure, of course. What is it for?" I inquire.

"I am Student of the Week and need to do a bio. See?" he holds up the poster for me.

"Oh, thats great. Very cool. Sure. Go ahead" I say as I secretly wonder what is on the poster.

He walks away and I crouch at the coffee table.

Under My Family he has listed me, my ex husband, his brother, himself, our cat, and his sister. I note that his sister is written in  really light pencil where all the rest are normal colored.

"Why is [sisters name] lighter?" I ask. I suspect I know the answer.

"Well, she is here but she is not. So I couldn’t write her like us" he responds rather of matter of factly.

I choke a bit. My eyes swell with tears.

"Ah, very detailed you are." I respond.

"Stop talking Yoda mom.." my son says.

I continue reading the poster and realize that the photo piece is supposed to be a photo of himself. Why has he chosen to feature his sister in the spot he is supposed to be in?  The question becomes too difficult to even ask at first.

"This spot is for your picture, honey" I say.

He gets embarrassed, withdrawn and looks away.

"Yeah, can’t I put sister there?" He has angst on his face.

"Of course you can sweetie. Its your project and you are Student of the Week" I respond.

I wonder if my daughter has any idea how much her brother loves her and he has never even met her.  I wonder if she will ever  do him the honor of meeting her.

I wonder, even more so, why no one told me that surrendering my daughter would cause not only pain to her but to all my subsequent children.

4 Thoughts.

  1. It’s just so sad. It’s another thing to be added to the long list of outright lies and lies of omission. So much collateral damage.

  2. This is a huge issue that has remained largely unexamined. At one point, a book was on the cusp of publication about this (my youngest was invited to write a piece for it), and I am uncertain of what has halted its publication. She struggled for years in the wake of losing contact and, only in the last year, has she more fully integrated the loss and accepted it on some level.

  3. Yesterday at lunch we were talking about my youngest, Punkin’s, family. His birthday is coming up – he is turning three. I was telling them about his birth and his first parents. He didn’t seem to know what I was talking about (he kept changing the subject). But his five year old brother was into it. Punkin has two biological brothers we have never met. Buddy wants to know if he has any other siblings and I had to tell him I don’t know. He would be the oldest and I haven’t heard anything from his first mother ever. He so wants a sister. I hope we do get contact with their other parents and they get to know all their siblings.
    This is so hard, and so heartbreaking. Your post here has me in tears. Blessings.

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