I started writing this post as a general update, but it morphed on me. Since my mom died in April, I have leaned heavily on my siblings to help me through, especially my sister. I can't imagine life without them. I am the seventh of eight children, and each of of my siblings is a part of me. My life would be incomplete without them. That is why I ache for my children around this time every year. This time three years ago, we were fighting to bring home Nate and Lizzie's baby sister. I don't usually think about it, really. But she was the reason we are on this path now, so I guess it's fitting I post about her, at least once.
If you don't know my views on sibling placement, here it is: SIBLINGS SHOULD BE PLACED TOGETHER WHENEVER POSSIBLE! SEPARATING A CHILD FROM HIS OR HER BROTHERS AND/OR SISTERS SHOULD BE THE ABSOLUTE LAST RESORT! PERIOD!
Yes. It is one of the strongest opinions I hold. Why? Because I was there, you see. I was there when my dad was trying to find his biological family. I heard the pain and disappointment in his voice when he learned his birthmom had passed just months before he managed to track her down. And I cried on the phone with my mom when he finally found his sister. Children should be spared that kind of pain and longing, if possible. Adult adoptees search for siblings more often than they do birthparents. The ties are there. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
When I think of DJ (I refuse to call her the name her adoptive parents gave her), I wonder what kind of difficulties she is having. Is she happy? Does she look at the blonde people in her family and wonder why she's so different? I wonder how her life be different if DCFS had followed their own rules and placed her with her siblings. She wouldn't live in that posh house, in that perfect neighborhood. She'd be wearing Lizzie's hand-me-downs and rolling on the floor with the dogs (something I guarantee she doesn't do now). I'm sure she's living a good life, full of love.
She deserves better.
I'm sure DJ is having a fine life, with the best money can buy. I am sure her parents love her...
but not enough to make sure she stays in touch with her brothers and sister. So, yes. She deserves better. Because I look at Ammon, Nate, and Lizzie and I want to weep because DJ doesn't have them in her life. They. Are. Awesome. She deserves to know them. She deserves Ammon's quiet smiles and Nate's soul-deep laughter. She deserves to run around, dancing singing and laughing with Lizzie.
I know someday she'll come looking for them, just like my dad went looking for his sister. And we'll all welcome her with open arms, and try to sooth away the pain of not having them for all that time. Until then, all I can do is take what I learned from our fight for our children's sister, and move forward. Am I still mad? Sometimes. But I'm also grateful. We learned so much about our birthmom and her family through that whole process. And my kids have a much better starting point for their search than my dad did for his. We don't talk about DJ. Nate is already mad enough that he doesn't live with Ammon. At least he gets to see Ammon, talk to him, love him. When I am mad, I'm mad on his and Lizzie's behalf. Because they deserve to know DJ, too. And that opportunity has been stolen from them. And as their mother, I rage against the injustice of it. But life isn't fair. And, as I've been telling Nate lately, sometimes Heavenly Father asks us to do hard things.
And I know my kids are strong enough to do this.