Sibling Processing

My youngest son joins me in the family room and sprawls out on the couch to my left.  I notice he is wearing the new clothes I purchased for him. They look nice.

“You have your new pants on. They look good on you.  Are they comfy?”  I ask.

“Yeah. I like.”

He rolls over into an awkward position with his head resting on the arm rest looking at me.

“You know, Mom, I was just thinking. There are three people in our family I have never met. Two on Dads side and one here”

“Oh? “ I ask wondering what prompted this and where it is going.

“Grandpa Steve and let me guess, Aunt Stephanie?” I suggest.

Grandpa Steve died of brain cancer before my son was born, Aunt Stephanie died young of cystic fibrosis. Son is named after his grandfather and indirectly is aunt. Stefan, Stephanie, Stefan.


“Well, they may be gone but you are sort of like them.  So they are with you.  You are named after Grandpa Steve and even Aunt Stephanie.  Also, Grandpa was a builder like you.  You sort of know them.”

“Yeah, but there is one person here in our family too I don’t know.”

“Your sister?” I ask.

“Yup.  What’s her name again?”

“Well, I named her Amber but her name was changed. She is now called [amended name]”

“Why?  I like the name Amber.  And that is weird she has the same name as my cousin and my step sister.“

“Well, that is what happens when a child is adopted. The new parents change the name.”

“Why do they do that? She had a name.”

I do not respond.

“So she doesn’t have your last name?”

“No. She was adopted so her last name and first name was changed.”

“That is weird. “

I refrain from comment.

“Will I ever get to meet her?”

“I don’t know.”

“That’s weird too. To have a sister and not be able to know her.”

I refrain from comment. I simply have no words.

5 Thoughts.

  1. Suz, wish I had some words of wisdom. I can only say that I hope someday your daughter can be open to your contact. I don’t know her but have been in her shoes and would offer that Diane and my brothers were in my thoughts over the years, even when I could not be open to the contact. I did think of them. I commend your honesty with your son. The reality is you don’t know if he will ever get to meet or know her. My brothers found out about me when they were quite young and had been told many times that they would find me and all would complete again. Those thoughts unfortunately set all of us up for disappointment. Reunion and subsequent relationships are complicated. I hope that your son will continue to communicate with you about his feelings and questions. It is so important. Yes, collateral damage is the perfect term. Sorry.

  2. The impacts of adoption are so far-reaching. Suz, not having had any more children, I haven’t had to deal with this part of it. Just one more layer… HUGS to you and Stef.

  3. OUCH. I can’t even imagine how much that must hurt to hear and to also know that your son is hurting as well. I used to have such different views on adoption; I saw it as a WIN, WIN, WIN. However, ever since , my son was born, I have completely changed my view (along with reading blogs like yours). I cannot believe how naive I was before. Babies and mommies belong together.

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