I was an only child for the first six years of my life. From the stories that my parents told me, I was their miracle baby. After seven years of trying to have a baby, I came along in 1966. I remember wondering if I would ever have a brother or a sister. I knew my parents were trying to adopt a baby, but I don’t recall the time frame or how long it took or what the process was to do it back then. I just recall out of nowhere one day, they told me that I was getting a sister; a four-week old baby girl, born in November, just like me. I remember being so excited and that I loved having a baby sister and helping my mom feed and dress her. Janet was an exceptionally cute baby, with naturally curly hair, huge brown eyes, and the longest eyelashes that I’d ever seen. I remember the day we brought her home like it was yesterday and I also remember the case worker visiting our house a time or two afterwards to make sure everything was going well. It’s crazy that as a 6 year-old, I can remember those kinds of details!
Growing up with an adopted sister was just as natural as if she were biological; I never thought about her in any other way but that she was my sister; it didn’t matter how it came be. Even now, I don’t think about until someone tells us that we look-alike (it’s the typical thing people say, right?). Of course we don’t look anything alike. We just look at each other and laugh and then Janet breaks the news to them that we aren’t biological sisters and then we get a kick at the stunned looks on their faces.
As kids, we fought all the time and I’d get riled up and then get in trouble by my parents; I was always being yelled at for something! Car rides were especially rough. The minute we’d start picking at one another or touching (which was sort of game to us) or if there was any bit of drama, Dad would threaten to pull over and take care of the issue. My parents didn’t do well with bickering children! I often wonder what would’ve happened had we been allowed to just go at it like other siblings do. I have no doubt that we’d have been just fine and would’ve ended up laughing about whatever it was that had us going–I think we both have that kind of streak in us! Janet loved baby dolls and Barbie dolls like crazy and I didn’t. She always wanted me to play dolls with her and I would refuse most of the time. I feel bad about that now. That’s one thing I would change if I could. I’d have been a better big sister in that regard. I remember when she went into labor with her son, she was young and our parents were out-of-state on vacation. I went to be with her in the middle of the night to help her through labor, but when I got to the hospital, the nurses wouldn’t let me see her! I felt so angry and helpless that night just sitting there. As a delivery nurse, I can tell you that wouldn’t fly here…we never keep support people away from laboring moms if they want them in there!
On a sad note, when I was nine and Janet was three, my mom surprisingly got pregnant with our brother; however, he was stillborn. Our world was shattered. My parents wanted a boy very badly and I totally wanted a brother. His name was Michael. I am convinced Janet and I would’ve spoiled him rotten. I think about him all the time and I recall all the events of that time quite vividly.
Today, my sister selflessly raises her step-grandson who is severely autistic with many special needs and Maddox is very, very fortunate to have a GrandMom (she serves to be called both) to love and care for him the way she does. I am very proud of her. I am happy she is my sister, I just wish I could see and talk to her more.
For reasons I will never understand, she wants nothing to do with me. We have had our sporadic moments of good times, but they have always been few and far between; but it’s not like I haven’t tried and given it my all. Some relationships are just not meant to be, no matter how much you it. If I could change one thing, that’s what it would be.