Athena is, in Greek Mythology the Goddess of Wisdom, and also the sister I have never met. In fourth grade my parents sat me down in our piano room. The piano room is really my room-a glossy black piano where I’ve learned, practiced, and sang; beautiful artwork of musicians; a guitar; my music; and pictures of my family adorn the tables and shelves. It is in this room that my parents told me that my biological mother had a daughter who was seven years older than me. Thoughts raced through my mind: “Why didn’t my parents tell me earlier?”, “Does she look like me?”, “How come I was adopted and she got to stay?” Today these thoughts and questions still itch at my brain.
On December 3rd, 1988 I was brought into the world. When my birth mother placed me for adoption, I became Jane Olivia Doe, the newest member to an already outstanding family. My family includes my parents, my sister, Joan, and my two dogs (who are both red heads). Both of my parents have dark brown hair and brown eyes, and my sister has blonde hair and blue eyes. As for me, I have red hair and hazel eyes. I was sad that I didn’t look like anyone around me except my dogs! I would get into arguments with my family and say hurtful things like, “You’re not my real mother!”, or “You’re not my real father!”, or “You’re not my real sister!” Sometimes my sadness turned to anger.
From an early age my parents were always open with me about my adoption, answering any questions that I had. However they decided not to tell me about my sibling until they felt I was ready to digest it. As a child and adolescent it is still very confusing for me. The concept of adoption was not about a mother caring for a child and giving them a better life, but about a mother not wanting the child. Throughout elementary school and junior high school, I found a way to channel my confusion and irritation about my adoption through writing poetry. Still it was not enough. I was still sad if I heard the word “orphan” or “adoption”. Even some of the kids at school made fun of me because they said it was ironic that my last name was Foster and that I was a “foster child”. Every year around my birthday I would write letters to my birth mother hoping she would like what she read then take me back. When I was younger, I thought this was my temporary family until my “real” family decided to come and get me. Now that I look back I see how silly that was, I was already with my real family.
I have realized that my adoption is not something that should make me sad; instead it is a blessing. Family is not about the people who have the same DNA as you, but about the people who love you with every ounce of their being. I have been brought up in the most amazing home with the most amazing people. Our hair and our genetics may not match, but we are all tied together in our love for each other. My sister is my best friend and we do everything together, whether it is watching a movie or beating our parents at pool. Maybe meeting Athena one day will give me the opportunity to have two sisters. Before I looked at my adoption as a loss, now I see it as a gain. If I was not adopted then I might not have been given all of the opportunities that have been put before me. Today as I sit in the piano room and play my mother’s favorite song of mine “My Heart Will Go On”, I know that someday I want to meet my biological family, but I know I don’t need to meet them because I have the greatest family I could have ever chosen for myself. Thankfully they chose me.
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