While we keep in touch closely with Silas's biological mother, we rarely talk by phone . So it was a surprise to Brian when the phone rang during the middle of a weekday. It was a call from her and Silas's biological father. The connection wasn't good and Brian had a ten-month-old screaming in the background. What had they just said? Can you please repeat that? "We are pregnant again."
Whoa. I don't know how Bri made it through that call. I barely held it together when he called me to relay this shocking news. Were they asking...? In a flash, I knew that if they were, we would absolutely take any sibling of Silas's into our family. No matter what we had planned. Why? Because this was his sibling and we will love them with our whole heart.
But that wasn't it. They just wanted us to know that they were having another baby and this time they planned to raise the child. Did I mention that Silas was only one? This meant that he would have a sibling who would be just over a year younger than him, but they wouldn't be raised together. For me, this was one of the most painful times in our open adoption. I hurt for everyone involved.
My first instinct was to protect Silas from the hurt of knowing that just a short time after his birth, his biological parents had another child that they chose to raise. We have committed to telling Silas his life story early, often and honestly. How would we tell this chapter of the story? Why her and not me? How can I shield my son from this pain? I can't. It is his story and it isn't my right to edit it.
I hurt for his biological parents. Hearing Taylor tell me how much it hurt to have put Silas up for adoption was wrenching. She couldn't do it again. I hurt for his bio father who did not seem to us to be fully engaged. It turns out he wasn't and to our knowledge he was not involved in the remainder of the pregnancy or birth.
But this isn't just our story. It is also Hudson's. What words do I use to explain to a six year old that his baby brother has a sister, but he does not? That she lives with a another family. Who is she to Hudson? My biggest hurdles with open adoption are around the language we use to describe all the relationships involved.
I hurt for Brian. His biological father walked away before he was born and later in life had two daughters that he raised. Brian didn't know about them until he was in his thirties. What would this bring up for him? His adult relationships with his half sisters actually turned out to be very helpful touchstones for us when talking to Hudson. We were able to use these examples of how the word sister (or sibling, or brother) can encompass many different types of relationships.
Of course, not just a day later, Hudson asked me why his cousin doesn't have a dad. He is six. Call me chicken, but I'm not ready to talk to him about how my sister wanted a child and made that happen with the miracle of modern science. Because then I'd be having the sex talk and holy crap am I not ready for that.
I'll ask for advice on those two subjects later. For now, if you have words of wisdom on how to talk to both Silas and Hudson about his (their?) sister, I could sure use the help.