When we adopted the boys, we wanted to keep them connected to their biological siblings, as much as possible. And, we have tried. There is an older sister and two older brothers. Only one brother lives locally with his (adopted) family. We tried to get together, but sadly, life gets in the way and it has been awhile.
When Lizzie was born, she was immediately removed from the biological mother's custody. When we were called, two weeks later, we were stunned and totally unprepared, but we also really wanted to give our boys the chance to grow up with their sister and vice versa. Suddenly, biology was everything. The children are all attached to each other. The boys seem to have the same appreciation for Lizzie that we do. Like they understand that we could've lost her. We tried to shield them from it until the danger was over. But, we talked in what was probably a pitiful code all the time because we were terrified. When we agreed to take Lizzie (twist our arm!), we were told that it was a done deal so the drama that came after, we were totally unprepared for.
Since Antwan and Lizzie were home with me during the day and are only 18 months apart, they quickly formed a special bond. Antwan wanted Lizzie to be a part of everything that he was doing. And, she was happy to oblige. He is extremely protective of her. Lizzie gets shy in public and in crowds, but Antwan is comfortable everywhere. So, she leans on him a lot. My favorite example. We were at a Halloween festival. Lizzie was getting a fake tattoo. As the girl was holding it on Lizzie's arm, Lizzie started to get nervous. Antwan was standing nearby. I watched her reach her hand out without looking, like she was trying to touch him for reassurance. He saw it, too, because he stepped closer and put his arm around her. It was a beautiful moment and one that I am so grateful that I witnessed.
Yesterday, I walked into the room and realized Lizzie had an accident. I could smell it and it was obvious it was her. We've been having trouble with this and really, accident is not the right word, she's just not going to the bathroom when she has to "go to the bathroom." It's no fun. So, I took Lizzie's arm to bring her into the bathroom and as soon as I did, Antwan jumped up and said "It's not Lizzie. It's me! I'm poopy. I have to go." and he rushed to the bathroom and sat on the potty. Of course, it wasn't him, it was Lizzie. He loves her. I was amazed at his determination to keep her out of trouble. I suppose it will be less amazing and more frustrating as they get older. But, today, I'm just gonna revel in the love. :)
It would've been heartbreaking if these kids hadn't grown up together. And, it is heartbreaking that they aren't growing up with their older siblings, but that's out of my control. But, it's not heartbreaking that they are not growing up in their biological home. It was unsafe, dangerous, and unloving. Biology is a funny thing. It means nothing and everything. When I'm rushing my children to school, begging Antwan to brush his teeth, listening to William's never-ending songs that he loves to sing on the way to school, or trying desperately to make Lizzie's hair look presentable; it's not biology. When we go to Grandma and Grandpa's and they have a bag of goodies because "there was a sale," it's not biology. When they spend time with Aunt Monica (my sister) who loved them instantly, it's not biology. But, the kids do have a biological connection to each other and people do tend to ask if they are biologically related. I'm proud to say yes. In a way, does that make them my biological children? Yes? No? Who cares? All answers are right, I suppose.
Biology is not the most important thing, although sometimes it is important. But, the love is the most important thing. (Look, I have a theme!) Although, I'll likely never confirm it, but if there was a biological child in the mix, would they love him less than each other? I don't think so. Would they know he wasn't biological? Well, yeah, everyone would. We would still be a family and we would still be very lucky to have each other.