“My brother’s other sister”

When Jason and Hailey visited us last time, Hailey bought one of those best friends’ necklaces for her and Zoe. Zoe has the “Be Fri” part and Hailey has the “est ends.” Zoe wears hers quite a bit.

One day I was on a field trip with Zoe and her teacher asked her who had the other half. Zoe answered, “My brother’s other sister.” I was kind of glad I was there, because the teacher looked pretty confused. She knows our family, so as soon as I said, “Colin’s biological sister, Hailey,” she understood, but this is much harder to explain to others. There is no easy way to say, “My brother, who was adopted, has a biological half-brother and sister.”

When I had to step in to explain, Zoe gave me a look that said, “Did I say something wrong?” I told her, “That’s a great way to explain it, Honey. You’re right. She is your brother’s other sister.”

To our kids, it’s perfectly normal to have a “brother’s other sister” and a “brother’s other brother.” Noah sometimes just says, “My brother’s brother.” I’m sure people think he’s one strange little kid. Maybe later they will call them their step-brother and sister, half-brother and sister, or foster brother and sister. None of those would be accurate, but it might be the easiest way for them to say it. Usually at the beginning of the school year I explain it to their teachers in case it comes up in class.

It’s hard for me sometimes, too. There’s just no simple way to put it. Jason and Hailey are coming to visit for about ten days in June, and I’m taking some time off work. I was trying to explain it to someone, but finally just settled on, “We have family coming in from out of town.”

Jason and Hailey have asked me about this, too. Once they said I was kind of like their step-mom. Hailey listed me as an aunt on that Facebook family app.  

I can’t wait for the first “Family Tree” assignment. That should be interesting.


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