Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Birthday Card Dilemma

We bought a birthday card today for Ashley's sister. Not Mackenzie. The other sister. The one I don't write about much on this blog because I've never met her. This would be Ashley's biological sister, who is two years older than she is and who was placed for adoption in a different family.

Unfortunately, that family is not as open as we are to openness in adoption, so we have not managed to get the sisters together. (The primary sticking point is that there is a younger brother who was born after the girls came into state care. Ashley knows about him and the older sister doesn't ... and her family doesn't want her to find out. Ashley adores this brother and sees him often. There is no way to guarantee that she won't mention him if we get the girls together.)

Ashley feels a connection to this sister, but standing in the card aisle today, it was painfully obvious that many of the choices would not do for our situation. Any cards with references to "the great times we share" were out. This one would be perfect, she said at one point, if I could add a "d" -- in other words, change the tense from present to past, as in "the great times we shared."

We eventually found a card with a simple message that basically just said: "You are awesome, Sister. Happy Birthday!" It will do for now, but I hope that someday their relationship will again be present tense.


  1. Once again I'm left speechless from one of your beautiful posts. I love how open and honest you are with your children and how you let them be who they are. The fact that that includes a family that Ashley had before you just brings a smile to my face. I'm so glad I found your wonderful site!

  2. Thanks, Kathy! Your feedback brings a smile to MY face! :-)

  3. I have the same thoughts about getting a card for my brother...Although, I suppose being on my year abroad makes it easier because I can just send one from Moonpig...but still, I wish I could buy a card that talked about good times we've shared.

    I'm glad that Ashley has at least a firm bond with her little brother now :) That must be lovely to have.

  4. Thanks, Kally. I'm sorry you've had to experience card awkwardness, too. Yes, the bond between Ashley and Tyler is really wonderful to see. I hope you and your brother get to spend more time together in the future. I met my bio brother when I was 30. This summer, I attended his wedding. I'm so grateful to be a part of his life now, and we are definitely siblings even though we didn't grow up together.

  5. How sad for Ashley’s sister that she is denied a relationship with her brother. I'd guess her APs think it will be too painful that Erica got it together for her son, but was unable to do so "in time" for the girls? What will happen when she finds out? The road to hell is paved with good intentions...

    We have a different but related issue- my daughter’s young adult sisters do not even know she was born. She is almost 3.5 He mother just can't summon whatever it is she needs to tell them. If and when my daughter wants to meet them, I will contact them. But I am so sad that all the girls are missing out on relationships with one another. My daughter would love 3 big sisters, and they would love her so much. Adults issues keep getting in the way.

  6. That's true, Trish. I know that the other APs have their daughter's best interest at heart, but I also think you are right that it is an "adult issue" more than a kid one. Kids tend to take things in stride. Ashley certainly did. I wrote more about this a couple of months ago, if you are interested:
    I'm sorry to hear that your daughter and her sisters are missing out. I hope they all get a chance to know each other some day. (I have a facebook friend who is over 50 and just met her three biological sisters a little over a year ago -- the pictures of them all smiling together are great to see!)

  7. I'm happy to have found your blog through Mom's Relate! Our daughter came to us as a straight adoptive placement from the US interstate foster care system a year and a half ago. She was 9. Now she's almost 11. She's made amazing progress, but trauma plays a part in our world every day. She has 5 siblings, all placed separately. 2 were adopted early on and the families cut ties completely. The other 3 are still in foster care. Their instability is too hard for her to deal with right now. I hope they will find permanency one day and they'll all be able to connect.

  8. Hi LM! Glad you found me. Sibling issues can be difficult. In addition to the sister I mentioned in this post, A has two other brothers that she hasn't seen in years.
    I'm already following your blog, BTW. I have enjoyed reading your posts. Lots of similarities.
    Oh, and I love the title of you blog. I also sometimes use "last mom" to refer to myself. Ashley was rejected by foster "moms" who couldn't handle her (because lack of understanding of trauma, I think). "Last mom" is significant to me because I am the one who stopped the cycle of transitions. Last mom = permanency.

  9. You explained my thoughts on it perfectly! I'm going to quote you in a post today.


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