Dear elder little brother,
Last week you turned eight–an authentic hollow leg, growing like a bean plant on a pole, big front teeth, want to help Dad kind of eight. As I watched you puff out those candles with two gusty blows and choose your favourite colour green for your piece of cake, I couldn’t help but remember the day I first laid eyes on you.
That Saturday was incredibly normal. Mom walked over to our relatives with the foster baby in the stroller to deliver something or other. One sister and I painted the basement banister. Dad was drawing for a customer. Another sister enjoyed a wedding.
The phone rang, and I don’t think anybody caught it before the answering machine did. I don’t know who even first heard the message, but suddenly mom was driving away in our mini-van to pick up these boys whose world just got pulled out from under them.
You and younger little brother were supposed to be only temporary residents, in fact you only landed in our house because there was no one else available to take you. But never forget, that God doesn’t allow accidents.
Mom carried you in all spidery legs and arms sticking out of too-small clothes. Your face filled with terrified blue eyes, pupils dilated as if to shut out your crashing world. I held you and read you stories, but not too much. To make a strong bond with Mom, you needed to have little contact with us sisters. I baked you cookies, tiny bachelor’s buttons with jam in them. We soon learned that you wanted the full-size ones, if you ate at all.
That night you cried and cried, unable to sleep in the strangeness of it all.
You didn’t know then, that God was giving you a better home and family. I didn’t know then that God had finally sent me a brother that I hardly dared dream about and never dared to pray for.
The day you came stretched into weeks, then months, then a year. I was walking on clouds the night Mom called me at a far-away Bible school and confirmed that they were going to adopt you and little brother.
I realize now that when God gave me you, He gave me more than a brother. He gave me a chance to love and be loved unconditionally. In the midst of all that loving, I found out how to be me.
Someday, you, too, will walk that road of wondering and forming who you are. You’ve taken some steps already. You will probably ask questions about your family past, present, spiritual. I hope that you can feel the pain and embrace it as part of The Plan. Ultimately, I pray that you will embrace God and let him make you into the man, that is hiding in you even now.
Happy birthday Josh! Happy to be part of your extended family.