Truthfully, many questions like these come from ignorance (most of the time) and a gentle correction or sharing the correct terminology with folks usually fixes things. But other times, it doesn’t…and it’s just ludicrous!
The most ridiculous question I get asked as an adoptive father (and trust me, there are many) is this one:
Are any of them real brothers and sisters?
Yep, there it is! Are any of them real brothers and sisters. Allow me to answer this in one simple, yet profound way: YES! Yes, they are all real brothers and sisters. Trust me on this one.
They fight to the death with one another all the time. But they also fight for one another all the time. They could beat the living tar out of one another but the moment someone outside of our family picks on one of them, they form the tightest alliance you will ever see amongst brothers and sisters.
Just last year, while visiting one of our older daughters at her apartment, our 5 year old son came running in from playing outside and announced that another little boy in the neighborhood was being mean to him. In a unified movement our other 5 younger children stood up as if to say (with a finger wave and all) “Oh no he didnt!!!!!!”
This kid stood on the sidewalk with a smug look on his face, as if he had just won a prize fight, until he looked up and saw a rainbow of destruction marching his way. He retreated to the confines of his apartment, which was a good thing too. My wife was too many steps behind our children to save him from their wrath! Picture the epic Battle At Kruger for the full effect of that afternoon.
Yes, they are real brothers and sisters!
Not only do they fight with each other, and for each other, but they also have a deep love for one another just like biological brothers and sisters do (maybe even stronger!).
This last week, I sat beside our pool at our vacation house in Florida and watched my three younger boys have the time of their lives with one another. They jumped in the pool, made up games, and laughed the afternoon away. It was brotherly love on full display. My wife and I reflected on that moment last night. As we did, she made the comment, “They’re brothers alright!”
Honestly, I can understand where the question comes from. Most of my children are not biologically related, and, being that they are adopted, and multi-racial, people are trying to ask the question, “Are any of them biologically related?” It just comes out the wrong way. I understand that, and I have patience with folks who ask this, most of the time.
But, think about it this way- I wouldn’t walk up to a married couple, who are not biologically related, and ask them if their marriage was real, would I? The fact that they are not blood relatives does not make their marriage fake. Nor would I ask them if they are real family members just because they are not biologically related. They would look at me oddly if I did. They might even tell me about the real fights they have or explain to me the real depth of their love for one another. All real, all equating to a real marriage, and each being a full-fledged member of the other’s family.
You don’t have to be biologically related to be real brothers and sisters, nor do you have to be biologically related to be actual family. So, stop asking such ridiculous questions of adoptive parents. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but think it through a little before asking.
Or, spend an afternoon with my kids and you will see just how real their sibling-ship is! 🙂
Adoptive parents, what other ridiculous things have you been asked about your family?