Adopted families are unique. First, in how they come together to create a unit, but second, in revealing to established family their clan is going to grow. Telling friends and cousins and parents can be exciting, but telling children you already have can be a more unique experience, especially for the kids hearing they're about to get a new sister/brother.
Reddit user, u/miyahori, wanted to know about this particular circumstance when they asked:
Siblings of adopted kids, what's it like to have an adopted brother/sister? How did your parents tell you they were adopting?
"It's Just An Open Fact."
My older sister was adopted from India, but because she was adopted before I was born, I don't think I was ever explicitly told. It's just an open fact in my family.
Growing up it was a bit weird because she's definitely my sister, and I don't feel like she's any lesser a sibling just because we don't look similar, but that possibility will never even cross other people's minds if they pass us in the street. Plus, I got to see the stupid irrationality of racism up close because random people in the street or at work would tell her to "go back to where you came from".
They assume she's an immigrant or a foreigner. But she isn't. She has an Australian accent and she's my sister. She's Australian.
But I have 5 siblings total and none of us look anything alike, so she doesn't really stand out in the family. Between us, we cover all eye colours, hair colours, skin tones, and personalities/interests. We're all different, so why do her "differences" warrant being abused on the street?
"We Thought It Was The Coolest Thing."Giphy
I have two adopted siblings, a brother and a sister. After having my other bio sibs (another brother and sister), my parents thought they were done, but my mom really wanted to make a difference doing something for kids, so she started doing Foster Care when we were 15, 12 and 3. My adopted bro was one of the earlier kids to come into our home and after caring for him for about a year, and realizing he'd been up for adoption, my mom started to push my dad about adopting. He wasn't really for it at first, nothing against him, he just thought they were done raising kids, but he came around.
Us other kids were thrilled to have an extra brother. We thought it was the coolest thing. Fast forward another 5 or 6 years and we found ourselves in a similar situation. We had a baby girl my family was caring for and she was with us for over a year. Very long story with her adoption, but we added another sib to the family.
My dad's glad he came around to the idea now. He's my brother's basketball coach, helps my sister in softball, and couldn't imagine life without them.
My parents have always been open with the kids, who are 7 and 13 today, about having been adopted; it's not a secret. We've also been open with sharing information we have about their bio parents if they ask (mostly my brother wanted to know how tall his dad was because he's worried about his height). For all of us, it hasn't felt any different than having "real" family members. Family is what you make it.
If it were up to me, I'd have a bunch more adopted siblings but there is a financial component to having a bunch of kids, and as my mom puts it "We're getting too old".
"...Make Life Equal."
My older brother is adopted from South Korea so he was here about 6 months before I was born. I have never known any different. I learned he was adopted when I was 5. My parents had a running joke about me always telling people they purchased my brother from a store, because 5 year old me really thought that was what adoption meant.
The one thing i have realized now that I am an adult is that my mother tried really hard to make life equal. If she took me to get food after a doctor appt she'd take my brother the next day. If she gave me 20 bucks to go to the movies she gave him 20 bucks too. The hardest part growing up was the fact that my brother was the only asian person in almost our entire county. Small, rural Midwestern town. He faced a lot of racism growing up and it took him until he was 22 to embrace his heritage and start to try the food and learn the culture. I love him and couldn't imagine life without him in it.
"So It Just Kinda Happened..."
It all happened with us when we were very young. So it just kinda happened and we had a brother that looked different. When people ask me about it I figure that my parents did a great job because my only response is, "it's exactly like having a normal sibling except every once in a while people ask you what it's like".
"...seemed completely normal to me..."
My sister was adopted as an infant when I was five. I sort of understood it at the time. Far more than I understood when my mom lost a child when I was three. She's my sister. Period. Never been any debate about that.
Now, 40+ years later, its no different. She knows who her birth mother is and has communicated with her sisters, mostly because she wanted a medical history of her lineage before she had kids. But she's my sister, and nothing will ever change that.
It may be a little different for families that adopt older children, but for me - she's my flesh and blood, period. Love you sis.
Edit: an added note, adoption was something that just seemed completely normal to me my whole life. My grandparents adopted two girls when my Dad and his brother were in their teens. They are and always have been my aunts.
Every Situation Is Different
Oh, I was excited to respond. But all my siblings were adopted out, I'm the youngest and the only one raised by my mom. But I know all my sisters, and knew most of their families.
My oldest and third oldest and I don't talk anymore.
My second oldest sister was raised by my grandma, and we're the closest.
My third oldests' adoptive mom makes the best cheesecake?
"...a long and messy story..."
It's a bit weird at times, (not because of the adoption part) but he's 20 years younger than I am and black...so when I'm out doing things with him, we tend to get weird looks and people question if he's my brother or if my mom had an affair-or if I cheated on my husband and he's my son. But he's awesome and I love him.
When he was adopted though, my mom was an (and still is to some degree) an Nparent. I came home one day, to see my brother in his high school play. (I rarely came home in those days, because I was constantly fighting with my mom). I opened the door and this small kid was there and was like "Who are you?" and I was like "jessdb19" and asked him "who are YOU" and he was like "My name-I live here!" So my mom had adopted him and not told me about him, or him about me.
I kind of called the agency and reamed them a bit for not contacting me, because they SHOULD be contacting all siblings. Talked to the gal that was the case worker and she was...a bit surprised to hear I even existed. Had been removed from being a part of the family, since they didn't' want me throwing a wrench in the situation. My mom wanted another kid and my feelings of her could have thrown doubt, so she had said she just had the two kids.
The whole thing is a long and messy story, so I'll leave it at that.
Just Like Any Other
I have a little brother who was adopted and now I absolutely adore him! I cannot imagine our family any other way.
At the time though, it was hard to understand. He was a little older when we adopted him (around 3) and I was 10, and I'll never forget the feeling of driving home with a child after we picked him up and knowing this kid who we didn't know anything about was never leaving. It was a tough adjustment (partly because he didn't speak our language yet) for a couple years but once he settled in and got comfortable it's just like any other sibling
You'll Mess Up A Lot At First
My little brother is 11 and we adopted him from Ethiopia at 6 months old, so he doesn't remember any other family. I was 7 then, so I don't really remember anything except that I was pumped to have a baby brother. He occasionally gets really mad and threatens to get on a plane and go back to his "real mother", but only if he's super super angry. We sort of fucked up for the first 5 or so years of his life by getting him short/shaved haircuts, but someone was nice enough to let my parents know that hair is really important particularly for black guys.
He goes to a great barber now and one of my dad's colleagues (who is also black) takes him sometimes. The only hard part about having a brother who's a different race is that we have to talk to him about police brutality and such. We live in the Bay Area so there's a lot of that here, and he's old enough to potentially be seen as a "threat". Other than that, I guess it's just like having a biological brother.
Annoying, But We Love Him
My parents decided to adopt my younger brother when he was around 2 years old. Process took forever and he finally came to stay with us when he was 5. My parents obviously never had to tell him he was adopted because he is aware of this fact.
Now, it's weird to imagine my family without him. The fact that he's adopted doesn't even cross my mind.
He is, however, annoying. Really annoying. Guess that comes with the young teenage boy territory.
Different, But Ours
My older sister was adopted from China as an infant about 3 years before I was born. They had the conversation with us when I was young enough that it was never a big deal. She looked different (black hair, dark skin compared to me and all of the younger siblings red hair and pale skin) but she was still our sister.
I think they told us that when a family had a baby it doesn't matter how they get them, it just matters if they love them. My dad and his siblings are all adopted as well, and we adopted other's kids when I was older. The idea of family being based on love instead of blood is super big in our house
Just Always Been...
I have two younger sisters, one is adopted the other one is biologically my sister. I was just four when the adopted sister came into our family. It seemed completely normal at the time, never considered that it might have been unusual, and she has always simply just simply just been my younger sister (42 now).
She recently had a son herself, and it has make her much more curious about her own biological parents than she has been in the past.
From The Beginning, That's How It Was
I have a sister adopted from India. She's currently 6 coming on 7.
It's pretty much like having a sister from the beginning. After a while, you just kinda forget she wasn't always there.
We let her know she was adopted quite often, but we follow it up by making sure she knows it doesn't change the fact that we love her.
"I Honestly Can't Imagine Our Family Without Him"
My youngest brother is adopted and has been with us for 21 years now.
At the time Mum and Dad asked us if we wanted to have another baby brother and my younger blood siblings and I agreed (6 and under). We had books about adoption and we talked about it for ages. It felt nice knowing we were helping him and no matter what he is always my brother. Love him to death! I honestly can't imagine our family without him :)
I've got a little brother who's adopted. He was a teenager at the time, and most of the rest of us were teenagers/adults too, so my dad just kind of told me "adopting the kid" and I said "cool". Basically the short story of what happened was that one of my other little brothers took him home to stay for a weekend as a friend. Our dad and his wife said "come back anytime". And well, now he's adopted.
He's a cool kid, he's just one of us. I'm kind of 'half-adopted' too anyway, and there are 'half-sibling' sets too, so 'siblings' to us is just sort of exactly who we want us to be.
I'm kind of 'half-adopted' too anyway,
do you mind expanding? I'm interested
I'm technically a nephew/cousin. I was never formally adopted, but my uncle (the 'dad' guy) was my guardian and they all treat me like a son/brother.
Do you come from a mixed family with adopted siblings? Tell us all about it!