“The greatest gift our parents ever gave us was each other.”
If you ask Tyler how many brothers and sisters he has he will answer: 8
and he would be right…
4 siblings by birth and 4 by adoption.
Ozzie has 5 siblings,
1 by birth and 4 by adoption,
and for my boys each one of these sibling relationships is important and valued.
For my adopted sons I can honestly say that one of the greatest gifts their birth parents gave them was their biological siblings and our family works hard to maintain and build on those biological sibling bonds.
Which is not to say it is always easy.
It requires effort, planning, and work to make time to arrange visits with 5 siblings living in 5 different adoptive homes up to 2 hours away. Aligning schedules is challenging and some of the adoptive families are more open to sibling visits than others.
I get it. It is disruptive (emotionally) to open the door to the past. After sibling visits there is always “emotional fallout.” But in my opinion, as hard as the fallout of a visit is, the fallout of not making these relationships a priority is even greater.
So after a full, fun-filled holiday break we had one last activity on the calendar: sibling visits for Ozzie and Tyler.
Tyler has been asking for a sleepover with his brothers. I started making calls before Christmas to see if we could arrange to make it happen over Christmas break but Sean, the brother just older than Tyler, was the only one we could get ahold of. Tyler was disappointed to not hear back from Brandon and Michael, but was thrilled that Sean was going to sleep over at his house. He had big plans for their Friday sleepover. They were going to eat pizza (Sean’s favorite food according to Tyler), drink root beer, sleep in the living room, and play video games and football.
On Thursday I took Tyler and Ozzie out shopping for Christmas gifts for their siblings that they could give them at their visits. Tyler bought Sean a football which Sean was thrilled with.
They had a wonderful visit!
Ozzie and Sean playing “Jut Dance.” 🙂
On Saturday I took Ozzie to pick up his sister, Zoey, for a visit. Ozzie also had big plans for his date with Zoey. We started the day of by going to Primanti Brothers restaurant for lunch. Ozzie chose this Pittsburgh landmark because of memories he has of going there with Zoey and his birth parents when he was young. This holiday season has left him feeling nostalgic and reminiscing a lot about his past and this request was important to him,
so this was where we went for lunch.
Ozzie ordered the Pittsburgher, a huge burger topped with the Primanti tradition of coleslaw and fries.
The kids also exchanged Christmas gifts. Ozzie received a remote control car from Zoey and gave her a package of fun socks and a Barbie.
After lunch we hung out at Barnes and Noble and Toys R Us until it was time for our movie. We went to see Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip.
The kids loved it. They were especially thrilled that it ended with the chipmunks being officially and legally adopted by Dave.
“It’s just like us!” they exclaimed as the movie came to an end.
We dropped Zoey off and were home by 7:00pm. By the time we arrived home Toby and Tyler had already dropped off Sean.
Today “normal” life resumes. I think everyone is ready to get back into routines and eager for activities to begin again, but I have found the two week break delightful…just what I needed. The time with family, the added rest, the quiet days watching movies and staying in PJs while playing with new toys around the Christmas tree was so peaceful. I was able to use the more open schedule to tackle projects and chores that have been sitting on my to-do list for a while. Ending our holiday break with sibling visits for the boys was a perfect way to end a beautiful holiday.
I am looking forward to 2016 and all the adventures that await us!