My Real Family

Vivian S., Junior

I was adopted right when I was born. This means I was never raised by anyone else but my two dads. It was also an open adoption, which means I know my mom and my two half siblings. I know my grandma too. They live where I was born, Oklahoma. I see them almost every two years but before each time I get anxious. It’s a lot of pressure when someone is coming from a long way and stopping their lives just to come see you. My sister Facebook messages me sometimes, and she had already expressed how excited she was to see me. My dad kept asking me how I really felt about everything. I didn’t know how I felt. School was taking up pretty much every part of my brain and I was too stressed to think. My dad picked me up from school and met them back at my house. This weekend we would have every single room in our house occupied. I’m a shy person, I don’t really like talking, and I need time to myself, so I was worried about there being so many people in my house. It was awkward when I first saw them, my sister ran up and hugged me, and my brother didn’t really remember who I was. It’s a strange concept that you have a sister who doesn’t live with you when you’re six years old. He said hi to me shyly. He’s different than me, my mother, and my sister though, he is good with people and can talk to basically anyone. My dad always tells me how much I look like my mom, that we have the same smile and the same mannerisms. It’s hard for me to see that. When I look at her I don’t really see me. Over the course of the weekend my dad would keep finding things about my mom and get all excited, talking about how similar we are. That we both hate the sound of people chewing, that we don’t really share our emotions with people, and we hate when forks scratch on plates. But those are things anyone could have in common with anyone. I spent a lot of time with my brother. He talks a lot, I don’t, it worked. He’s smart, really smart, and knew lots of things about dinosaurs. He’s curious about things, like my camera and why I have a Star Wars poster in my room and why my dad has a boyfriend. I got sad looking at him. I wanted to be able to tell him more things. My sister adores me, like really really adores me. She’s autistic, and there were often times she had to remove herself from the room and go downstairs to sing. It helped her calm down. We were walking to dinner one night and neither of us were talking, just walking in silence, but I felt comfortable and I had the feeling she felt comfortable too. There were moments like that, where I was comfortable like I had spent hours and hours with these people when I hadn’t. My grandma stared at me a lot, like she was trying to see her daughter in me. When they left she cried and told me she loved me. I said I loved her too. It’s hard to describe how it feels to know someone is supposed to mean everything to you but you barely know them at the same time. I mean they’re family, but they’re also strangers. My mom and I didn’t talk much. We’re both shy and I think we were trying to give each other space. The thing is a weekend doesn’t leave enough time for space. I felt comfortable knowing that she was similar to me and was probably feeling the same way I was. My dad was a nervous wreck, cooking and cleaning and trying to make everything perfect. He invited dozens of people over to meet my family. Family meeting family. In the end, everything was okay. When they left, they were gone, with plans to come back and visit again.

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