Five years ago today, my little siblings became my officially-adopted little siblings. Having been foster siblings for three-and-a-half years first, my little siblings’ transition to adoptive siblings was smooth and natural. My transition to becoming a big sister after 19 years, however, wasn’t necessarily as smooth. It had its hiccups, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
I went to Universal Studios the other day with a couple girls, and I found myself having one of those "oh wow!" moments I have when something makes me realize the universe works in interesting ways. I was on the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride, and the whole concept was that you had to go through training to become a Minion. It was a silly ride that my little siblings would have loved since they've made me watch those movies umpteen times. The thing that made me smile, however, was that the ride's final scene was at a party Gru threw for his girls to celebrate their Adoption Anniversary, or, as I like to call it, the Adoption-versary. I suddenly was overwhelmed and smiling my greatest smile because I related to that feeling. We never quite had a Gru-esque party (because we don't have an army of minions or access to an animated world where anything is possible), but we did have a good run at Chuck E. Cheese for awhile there while the kids were still young enough to want Chuck E. Cheese.
Almost 8-and-a-half years ago now, the three little goobers pictured above came into my life as foster siblings. I remember my parents sitting me down at the table in our formal dining room before I headed off to Villanova where they asked me if I’d be okay with them becoming foster parents. My reaction, essentially, was that they’d had a big, empty house since I’d been at boarding school anyway, so why wouldn’t they fill it with kids who needed a home? Voila! About a month-and-a-half later, I was suddenly a big sister, which was something I’d begged my parents to let me be for nearly the first ten years of my life - “please have a baby again, Mom! I’m meant to be a big sister” is what I would say ad nauseum. And now, officially five years ago today (or, as I used to say when the kids each had their fifth birthdays, A WHOLE HAND!), they legally became my little siblings when the adoption process was finally complete. Not a day goes by that I don't think about them or how much they've changed my life (always for the better). Teresa, Robert, and Dillon, you are the best blessings that ever showed up on our doorstep.
Thank you for teaching me never to take a two-year-old into a toy store (the Christmas Elephant debacle of 2009), that Pokemon will apparently always be a thing (walking around Disney World last summer playing Pokemon Go! still makes me laugh), that I'm to always add M&Ms to the homemade hot chocolate, that Skylanders have the weirdest names, that there actually is a way I can talk smack and still be kid-appropriate, and that I'm slowly turning into Mom and Dad. Matt Walsh once said, “Parenting is the easiest thing in the world to have an opinion about, but the hardest thing in the world to do.” (Shoutout to my mom for my Mary Engelbreit calendar that I get every year for Christmas.. how funny that that’s the quote for today). My siblings and I have the best parents in the world, and I’m proud that I’m turning into a hybrid of them. And knowing how great they were to me and now watching my little siblings blossom into fun, intelligent, loving kids, I am even more grateful that I have such amazing parents/friends/cheerleaders in my corner.
I’ve learned many valuable lessons about life over the past 8-and-a-half years. I always wanted to be a big sister, and I am so happy that it finally happened - even if it didn’t happen in the way I’d initially begged for as a child. You three were worth the 19 year wait. Thank you for teaching me what it truly means to love unconditionally, for forcing me to be patient, and for being my silliest little sidekicks. I love you three more than you can ever know, and I feel truly special that I get to be your big sister today and every day. Thank you, goobers. I love you. Happy adoption-versary! 2/17/12