I am the proud mama of four-year-old virtual twins, both adopted from China. And while they were adopted in two separate adoptions, 23 months apart, they are every bit as much of brother and sister as they can be.
This has its benefits. The two of them always have a built-in playmate. As their mother, it is fun to watch them as they build a “fort” in the playroom to hang out in while they watch TV. Or, witness those occasions where the dress up clothes seem to explode onto the bodies of two very creative characters as they enter a world of make believe that only they are privy to. And because I am that mom, I can admit that it also makes my heart swell on Sunday mornings when they walk into their class at church wearing coordinating outfits. They are best of friends and stick by each other like glue.
But that doesn’t mean that these two don’t have their differences. Oh no. They are as completely polar opposite as they can be in personality, and on more than one occasion this has resulted in conflict. Recently, however, a new player has entered the game and threats of “I’m not your best friend anymore!” can be heard in the midst of their arguments. I have NO idea where this came from. It’s not something our older three children ever said, and we certainly don’t allow our children to speak to each other that way. But alas…here we find ourselves.
Every time this argument arises and the “disowning” takes place, I gather my two babies and have a talk with them. Over and over again, I tell them that we don’t stop being someone’s friend just because we’re angry at them. That talking to each other that way isn’t speaking in love, and that they need to treat each other lovingly. And I always wrap up by reminding them that no matter how angry they may get with one another they will always be brother and sister.
A couple days ago yet another argument broke out…this time over which pretend world they were going to be visiting on their adventure…and I heard my daughter yell not “You’re not my best friend anymore!” but instead, “I’ll always be your sister!” Only, she didn’t use the sing-song, former preschool teacher voice I use when having my talks with them. She yelled it as a threat, implying that even though her brother was angry with her, he was also stuck with her for the rest of his life.
I have to admit…I laughed. Thankfully out of hearing range of two little sets of ears! Not only did my darling girl prove to me once again that my little “Dynamic Duo” will always be one step ahead of me, keeping me on my toes, but the truth of her words resonated with me. Because…for better or for worse…these two kids from two different parts of China are stuck together. Forever. Nothing will ever change their brother/sister status. Their journeys started out so differently, and yet God wove them together as each child entered our family. Two people who would have likely never met had they remained in their birth country are now “real” siblings in every way but through blood. And that takes my breath away. So of course, I had to gather my two little ones and explain to them what a blessing it is that they will always be brother and sister…no matter how many ups and downs they have in their relationship. That they are a gift to one another.
But these two aren’t just a gift to each other. They’re also a gift to me. Sure, we have our less-than-ideal moments. I will not deny that at times they make me want to pull my hair out. And whether through their arguments or their incredible ability to gang up on me and completely overwhelm my parenting expertise, their shenanigans have resulted in much solace known as “mommy time” after their daddy arrives home in the evenings. I wouldn’t change a thing, though. Because these two make my life a million times richer…even if they do make it a million times more chaotic.
I honestly can’t imagine living in a world where these two wouldn’t always be brother and sister. Or where I wouldn’t always be their mama. So I’ll gladly take all the crazy they throw my way. Their relationship is the miracle of adoption on display, a true example of what it means for new branches to be grafted onto a family tree.
Forever, for always, and no matter what.