Friday, July 13, 2012

Five for Friday: 5 Days with Brothers

Ashley has been attending a day camp at a local community center, and this past week two of her her biological brothers attended the same camp! These boys reside with their paternal grandmother, who unfortunately has not been open to visitation, so the siblings haven't seen each other in several years. The camp thing wasn't planned, but neither was it a huge surprise -- we live in neighboring towns. We got some advanced notice that the boys were going to be at camp that week. Ashley went to camp on Monday knowing that her brothers would be there, but the brothers didn't know they would be seeing her.

Here's how it played out:

Day 1: My husband and Ashley arrived early and did a "stake out" in the parking lot. They saw the boys get out of the car and check in. When I first told Ashley the boys were going to be at camp, she told me she was going to run right up and hug them, but when the day arrived she was nervous and hesitant. Also, though the three siblings were at the same camp, they were in different groups with different schedules. On that first day, the older boy's group didn't overlap at all with Ashley's group, but she had some opportunities to interact with the younger brother at lunch and during play time after lunch. It became clear to her that he didn't have any idea who she was. (He was quite young when the family split up and has no clear memories of her.) She waited until they were playing soccer together and then slipped in a casual comment about him being her brother. "I'm your brother?" he said. "Yes, I'm Ashley." They hugged, and then went back to playing soccer.

Day 2: She had some more opportunities to interact with the younger brother but still no chance to speak to the older one. They waved at each other from a distance but that was all. I started to worry that they wouldn't have a chance to connect.

Day 3: Finally! Ashley got a chance to speak with the older of the two boys, who does hold memories of their time together. He asked about their other sister. Ashley couldn't give him specifics. She knows that Hannah has been adopted, and she has exchanged a few letters with her, but the only address we have is a post office box that is not in Hannah's actual town.

Day 4: Ashley reported speaking with both brothers, but didn't have much to say about the details of their conversations.

Day 5: Today, Ashley will be in a play (Willy Wonka) performed for the entire camp, and her brothers will be in the audience. I'm hoping she'll also get a chance to speak to them before the end of the day. I've asked her to communicate that we are open to getting together sometime if their grandmother/guardian is also willing. I'm hoping this week of togetherness at camp will open the door to future visitation, but we'll have to wait and see.

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  1. What an awesome opportunity for the kids! I hope it opens up the option for more contact.

    Once upon a time this same situation would have been possible for Liam and his brother ending up at the same camp. The difference would have been that Liam knows about his brother, but his brother doesn't know about him. I no longer have to worry about what could happen if they did end up together as Liam's first family has moved far away :(

  2. We have a potentially very similar situation. Our son has bio brothers in neighboring town (1 hour away) being raised by bio grandma, and a bio sister (in a town 20 mins away) being raised by an adoptive family. We have reached out many times to bio grandma, sending photos and our contact info (phone/email/mail), opening the door for communication but it not being answered. We have also reached out the the other adoptive family but they are very busy and haven't followed up on our advances either. Our son is only 3 now, but we know that eventually we will face the situation you now face. It is great to be so close geographically, but also tricky when the other parties are not open to nurturing a relationship between siblings who live so close to each other and will eventually have to forge their own bonds.

  3. That's great that the siblings have had a chance to reconnect, hopefully this will lead to more contact!

  4. OMG. Heavy. So terrible that that the "adults" can't get it together to foster a relationship between the kids. Man. Still great that they knew about each other and got to talk.

  5. We have so much head of us. I hope we can all keep our wits about us! As you say, BUCKLE UP!


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