entre frères et sœurs

Entre. French for “in between”; not “entrée” like the main course of a meal.

Freres, brothers. Soeurs, sisters. You can puzzle-piece the title of this post.

One of many outcomes of my adoption reunion was siblings. My sibling tribe grew, exploded really, from one sister – with whom I was raised – to seven altogether. We are eight. I am the eldest in all my families.

Birthfather, some of which has been written about here, previously, has at least three other children. I have two younger brothers and a sister via him; the sister is the youngest. There may be other children fruit dangling or fallen from that tree, known and kept or known and given away, I honestly don’t know.

Firstmother, had three additional children, all of whom she kept. (If you’ve done any reading here at all, you’ll know this is a repeating theme with me right now, the “she kept the others” thing. My apologies if it seems I’m beating the same boring and annoying drum. I am, and I’ll get over it.) Two younger brothers and a sister, sister is the youngest.

Identical family patterns, in production only, not in connectivity with co-parents or health of co-parenting relationship(s). They just produced same gendered kids in the same order.

My adoptive parents adopted me then conceived my sister. Eight children, brothers and sisters of mine and me, most of whom will never meet but are related.

Or are they?

Here’s a question: My siblings from unrelated families, related only to me, through biology and through adoption, are they related? That’s the question. How can I be related to my families without the others being related, as well? Even in a small way. Maybe they’re related because of the adopted person? Or is this a second-cousin-twice-removed sort of genealogical device, yet to be named by the adoptionland governors? What would those definitions of relatedness sound like were we to, say, hold a family reunion for all three of my families, the unwanted baby/now adult the wheel’s spoke? What I’m about to write may anger some, may make others cry. You won’t understand unless you’re adopted so please, critics and know-it-alls, keep it to yourself. Somewhere in the middle lives a lot of pain and some often swallowed, untapped anger.

  • You’re my half-family totally unaffected, somewhat disgusted, informally and uncomfortably inclusive (because you “have to”, not because you want to. I can feel the difference, by the way.)
  • You’re the older brother who isn’t the eldest any longer (because I showed up and dethroned you.)
  • You’re the half-sister who had a hard time admitting you weren’t the only daughter; who faked her way through our interactions; who sat me at the “friends from work” table at her wedding…who feigned kindness but tried. Yes, I know you tried. And in the end, I didn’t steal our shared parent. So, relax. I’m not coming back anytime soon. I wasn’t trying to outshine you, I just naturally do.
  • You’re the sister-in-law who couldn’t look me in the eye when we were in the same room. You had no concept of adoption or why I showed up. You never failed to make me feel unwanted and that I should go away.
  • You’re the sister-in-law who shoots me evil eyes glares when no one is looking.
  • You’re the half-brother with whom I share a sense of humor and musical ability. The only sibling happy to hear I happened.
  • You’re the full-Teflon parent who opted to walk away, un-childed.
  • You are the “parent” who bragged about no culpability.
  • I’m the whole girl, quietly removed and not acknowledged.
  • I’m your sister-in-law who greeted you sincerely and ignored your mean dismissive manners, chalking up your rudeness to a language barrier. No, it was you. You were rude. And mean. Cold, really.
  • I’m your full daughter.
  • I’m your full sister.
  • You are my half-sister who called warning me to not be a liar or a cheat or an extortionist; claiming how grow-up and mature you were while you insulted me with suspicious accusations and obscure references to a story I did not write not was telling.

I’m your full daughter, whether you accept me or not.

I am a full person whether or not you choose to contact me or keep stalking my social media pages. I am here when you want to know me rather than be threatened or be angry I’m here. The choice to be born was not mine nor was the decision to give myself away from our family. You want someone to be angry with? Try your parent, the one related to me. Ask them their narrative of what happened, why I wasn’t mentioned, why I was kept a secret, why I wasn’t important enough to keep or raise or seek. Ask them, blame them, get answers from them. I had nothing to do with any of it.

All I did was seek answers, and you dismissive and horrified people are who I found. My tribe, what a stunner.  Circling the family wagons in case I come back to know more about you, about me. God forbid, a visit or conversation. There is a reason I stepped away: I was made to feel unwelcome, every time.  Subtly but it was there.  You had no idea what to do with me.  If you look closely and honestly, you’ll see that.

I am the one who showed you your parents are not perfect – their misdeeds are not my doing.
I am the one who showed up and wanted familiarity, kinship. That threatened you.

I wanted nothing more than to be known.

One thought on “entre frères et sœurs

Add yours

  1. This paints quite a moving, powerful picture of your experience, Jennifer. (I’m catching up on several weeks worth of reading.)

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