When I was about 11 I came home from school one day and my mom told me to have a seat at the kitchen table. Immediately all the bad things I had done recently started running through my head based on her tone and I thought I was in big trouble.
Nothing could’ve prepared me for what happened instead. Without any warning or prep, my mom sat down and started the conversation with “You have another sister”.
Ummm yeah duh, I have TWO other sisters. I’m a middle child is what I’m thought. But then she continued… “Besides R and N you have another sister who’s now about 9 years old.” Ahhhh say what? Now I’m lost. Your saying you’re not pregnant, and I have a sister who’s 9? Meaning in between my little sister N and I there’s another one? I’m beyond confused.
So my mom continued describing something like this…
When my mom was pregnant with me, my biological father had an affair and so shortly after I was born my parents got divorced (this part I knew) My mom was a single mom with two small children (R is 2.5 years older than myself) and during that time got pregnant while “dating” a guy. The guy didn’t want the baby, and my mom couldn’t bring herself to abort the child, but also knew she couldn’t give her an amazing quality of life since she was already struggling with R and I, so she put the baby up for adoption.
After that time she reconnected with the man who I now call dad (actual step-dad) whom she knew from high school, got married to him and had N, the girl I thought was my only little sister. I know it’s long and winded… but it’s a weird story and so it needs all those words or else your just like WTF? Which is how I felt at the table that day.
Anyways, apparently my new sister was at the age where she was asking about her birth mom and so her adoptive parents had been back in contact with mom, and now we were now going to be heading to the next province to be meeting her this summer.
Wow. That’s a lot to take in for a 11 year old. (and probably you as a reader sorry if I didn’t explain it well) But also admittedly pretty cool. Every kid’s always wanted to have, and then meet, their long-lost sibling, albeit normally at some summer camp or some other made for tv thing… but still, this was happening. It took a LONG while to absorb. Telling my friends was weird. I felt like I had to constantly stand up for my mom on the adoption issue, even though it was her choice, I still felt like people were judging her. I also felt weird but lucky, that in a way she had picked me. Twisted, I know. But I’m only 18 months older than my new sister K and so it totally could’ve been me in that situation right?
The time came for us to drive to meet her, and it felt even more surreal. We drove to the same city we’d go every summer to visit my grandparents when I was younger and just knowing she’d been there all along was kinda mind-blowing for lack of a better word.
My mom was SUPER nervous to say the least. And rightly so. She was going to meet a human she had given away. A child who called someone else mom. A person who wanted answers.
The initial few minutes were filled with your regular hellos and awkward hugs and then K’s adoptive mom pulled out stacks upon stacks of binders filled with pictures of K. Which we then sat and “browsed” through for almost an hour. Each picture had a story and a memory to go with it, which at 11 years old I didn’t really care about and just wanted to go play with the stacks of toys piled EVERYWHERE in the house.
K had had a full life thus far. Her adoptive parents had been unable to have children and so had given K anything her heart desired as their only child. They lived a very different lifestyle compared to how I was raised. Mine being you work for what you get, K’s being, you get whatever you want because you’re our little miracle child.
I’ll be honest, at first I was jealous, and thoughts like “this could’ve been me” floated through my head periodically. But those times have passed. I realize the struggle K must’ve gone through, thoughts of abandonment and possibly feeling unwanted. But at the time I was 11, and only saw material things and the sheer volume of them… and I wanted that.
K and I bonded the most out of us 4 sisters, since we were closest in age. We spent most of that visit in her pool, and playing with toys I had only dreamed of having. When it was time for us to leave, it was weird, but we exchanged emails and agreed to write and call often.
The calls were fairly rare, and the emails occasional. What do you say to your ‘new’ sister? But then a few months later, my parents announced that we were going to Disneyland!!!! What!!! Yes!!!! It would be my first time! Oh, and then they said that K was coming too… they wanted us all to have a chance to grow closer. Ummm ok? Whatever, kinda weird but I’m just excited to finally be going to Disneyland.
So, all 4 of us sisters and my parents set out to Disneyland. K had been before, multiple times, but for R, N, and myself, it was our first time, so we enjoyed it. We did the Universal Studio visit too, the whole nine yards. Of course K had so much more spending money compliments of her parents, and was constantly wanting to shop instead of ANYTHING else since she’d already done the rides “a million times each”, which was annoying, but we accommodated her and by the end of the trip, we had successfully not killed each other. Pretty good for knowing each other less than a year, and having to spend a family vacation together.
Throughout the next few summers, K would come visit us occasionally and I would go there sometimes, since we had connected the most. Yet over time, it became apparent that K was no longer interested in being a part of our lives, and it was awkward to be part of hers. Which is completely understandable.
She had her own family and friends in her own city and really didn’t need us. She had a whole different set of beliefs and lifestyle and she felt we didn’t mesh well together. So slowly over time, emails went unanswered, calls unreturned, and whatever bond there initially was, was stretched to the point of breaking.
The last I heard of my sister, she was on an extended trip she recently took to Indonesia this winter doing yoga on the beach and visiting ancient temples. She’s having fun and has found her inner peace.
Maybe growing up with her adoptive parents was the good for her soul. Because I know my “inner peace” is still eluding me.
-Sister Sledge/We Are Family-