If you were to ask a child the definition of family, he/ she would probably go, family is any group of persons, related by marriage, blood or adoption.
Unfortunately, while our society recognises and has accepted the first two criteria, there is still a level of un-acceptability when it comes to adoption. Members of family discriminate against one another, based on the fact that one child is biologically born into a family, while another was adopted.
I have such a matter quite close to me and it’s really heart-breaking for all the parties concerned, and as they say, their parents would probably be turning in their graves right now, at the mess their children are creating.
Before it became popular as another means to build the family, Cecilia and her husband, Jide, had adopted their second child, a boy, who came to them as a nine month old baby. They named him Peter, ‘The Rock’. It was instructive that they adopted a boy. They wanted a boy, as they already had a girl and thought they could give up on the procreation business.
Peter’s adoption was after waiting for 15 years for another child, which didn’t come until after Peter, ‘The Rock’, came into their lives. They had given up hope and showered their love on their now complete family. Even though there were voices of dissent from their family members about them adopting a boy child, the first one at that, who would be expected to carry on the family name, the deed was already done and there was nothing they could do about it, except accept grudgingly.
Two years after The Rock’s entry into Cecilia’s family, her middle aged body conceived surprisingly, leading to the birth of a set of twins, two boys. Every single one of their family members except his parents relegated The Rock to the back bench. To them, the true sons of the family had just been born. The poor child became extra clingy at those times, as most toddlers with new born siblings tend to be. But he was a special one. In fact, Cecilia believed his coming into their lives played a role in her being able to conceive after so long. To her, he was their good luck charm.
Besides their extended family, the brothers and their older sisters were in sync. They loved, played and started to grow older together. As they were growing, unfortunately so were their parents. At 60 years of age, Jide died of a heart attack.
Almost a week to the second anniversary of her husband’s death, Cecilia gave up the ghost in her sleep. And that was how, the brothers came under the care of their older sister, who was 15 years and 17 years older than them respectfully, as was decreed in their father’s will. As the years went by, other aspects of the will were also revealed, which showed The Rock getting more than the twins. That was when their older sister hit the roof. She was concerned for her biological brothers, whom she said were the rightful heirs to the properties of their father, and not an adopted child. Even though the young men still didn’t understand what the whole drama was all about. As far as they were concerned, The Rock was their brother and that’s all that mattered.
From that time, the word, “Adopted” became the prefix to his name. It was especially painful that it was the person who had cuddled with him, diapered him, bathed him, and fed him was the very person who had turned on him at this moment. They were no longer family; DNA was the most important thing to his big sister.
The matter is still on-going and doesn’t look like it will end soon. I just hope that whenever it is resolved, it ends well for everyone involved.
However, it’s not always about rancour and pain. Adoption brings so much joy too, and I’m certain it brought so much joy to Cecilia and her husband, while they were alive.
The reality of Ehis’ life is a beautiful reminder that children do not understand that one child is adopted and another is biological. And that there is so much good in people, if only we will let it show forth.
Ehis had been in the same class as Osahon from Primary One. They had shared the same bench, swapped pencils, biros, and copied each other’s notes. They had gisted about girls as the years went by. They had enjoyed their years as boys, until something tragic happened to Ehis. He lost both of his parents in a tragic accident.
His parents’ family took up his care but it wasn’t the same thing. The one thing that was still normal in his life was Osahon and his family, who had come to accept him completely, so much that he even called Osahon’s parents, Dad and Mom and they never for one day denied him that opportunity. If anything, after the death of his parents, who were friends of theirs because of the relationship with the boys, they welcomed Ehis whole heartedly into their family.
They picked his bills at times, when it was slow coming from his guardians. They added him to their expenditure budget, he was free to come spend the weekend and, if his Guardians agreed, he spent the school week sef.
At a time, he spent more time in Osahon’s home than his Guardian’s place. Their neighbours referred to him as the third child.
Their relationship had evolved from being pals to being family. Even as adults, Ehis still sees Osahon’s family first as his family, before he starts to explain the complexities of their relationship to people.
They have loved him like their own and have literally adopted him, except there have been no legal papers to show it. But they don’t really need these. They have the love that makes all the difference in the whole world for him…and he knows it.
Family is not always blood. It is the people, the ones who love you, no matter what. This is what family is about.
Godspeed everyone and let the love flow!
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