Most of my friends who have younger sisters or brothers are able to remember something about the time of their sibling’s birth. Maybe they remember being at the hospital or meeting their new sibling the day of their birth. I didn’t meet my brother James until almost two days after he was born. Neither did my parents, seeing as at the time of his birth we were 2,173 miles away.
My parents decided to adopt a child when I was six, and at the time, I really didn’t understand the concept of adoption. I remember sitting at the kitchen table when my mom got the call saying that the child was going to be a boy. She was so happy, and all the jealously I’d felt at having to share my life with a baby disappeared as I watched my parent’s happiness increase over the next few weeks.
We got the call on October 20th, 1998 that my brother had been born and flew to Portland, Oregon the next day. When we first met James’ birth parents, Rebecca and Tony, they were the farthest things from parents I’d ever imagined. As college students, they contrasted sharply with my own mother and father, and while I don’t remember much of what was said, I do remember their kindness and my sadness when we had to say goodbye.
A week later we were back in Atlanta and while I was excited to have a brother, things weren’t always easy. When he was younger, James had really bad asthma and I remember the several times when we had to take him to the hospital. It scared me, to see my little brother in the hospital beds, surrounded by needles and wires, but my parents constantly reassured me. I’ll never forget the love that my parents gave both of us in those first few years.
Ten years later, James is a constant, sometimes slightly annoying, but always welcome presence in my life. He has always known that he is adopted and has never viewed my parents as “fake” parents. Their love for him is just as real as the love any parents have for their biological child. They have cared for him the way they would any biological child that they had, and for this I believe that every child, no matter to whom or under what circumstances they were born, should be cared for and loved.
Every child deserves to be loved, whether it is by a biological or adopted parent, by a grandparent or aunt and uncle or even just a trusted guardian. The fact that James is adopted has never made it less “real” for our family as some people have suggested. He is my brother, not my adopted or biological brother, just my brother, and the love I have for him is something that I believe all children of the world should be able to experience.