In 1987, at eleven yrs old, adoption attempt number three was started. We were picked out of a newpaper ad, literally a weekly ad called “Tuesday’s Child”. I joke to myself that it read “kids for sale” and Im mildy horrified that this is how kids are adopted. Like a puppy or a kitten, an impulse purchase, advertised like starving African children you can take home and fix. I loathe that fact. I dont know why but I think it’s so awful but something in my core still fights the idea of being chattel.
This adoption attempt was short-lived. Wholly unprepared for the damaged and unruly kids, so unlike the cute smiling blonde cuties in the ad, this family crumpled after a few short months and we were returned to care yet again. Of note I found out years later that this family fought for nearly two years to get me back. They couldnt handle my brother, and neither could I, but they wanted me. At the time I had no idea. I thought they’d given up like every one else had. They hadnt…they wanted me and the Ministry stymied their efforts at every turn. I wonder if I would have been a little more trusting had I known at least one person in my life wanted me. I wonder often now if that would have changed anything.
At this point the government of BC gave up. We were declared permanent wards, destined to finish out our childhoods as anonymous numbers in the system. I was returned to the Dragonlady and my brother was sent to live in a group home. From here our lives essentially swapped places. I spent most of my teens jealous of the incredibly loving homes by brother got while I was shuttled from bad to worse and back again.
For those of you not familiar with the adoption process the parents have six months to change their minds during which they can return the kids, no harm, no foul. On paper anyway. Apparently this length of time is actually supposed to be a year. A year in which to bond and develop a sense of family before it’s all whisked away on a whim.
On paper that might seem like a good idea, to live it is something entirely different.
They separated us after this final failed adoption attempt. I had decided that my brother was the cause of all my problems. He was the reason no one wanted us. If he could only just be good then we’d finally have a home. I remember that feeling now and the fire of hatred that burned in me. It pains me to think I too, held him accountable. It crushes my heart in ways I cant even express properly and I ache to apologize. To try and make it right but my brother disappeared a decade ago. No one knows where he went or what happened and I dont know how to begin to find him again.
He was to blame for the final failure. In a way. His behaviour had been sculpted by years of neglect and abuse, compounded by isolation and age. He was younger than I and endured all the same trials I had and worse. The parents in our final adoption attempt had been verbally schooled on what to expect but I suspect the reality of the damage they encountered was significantly harder to deal with.
Thus far, now twelve years old, I had learned that my brother was evil. I knew that I was unwanted and had been since birth and that now, even the government had given up on me. I’d been through at least six social workers by this point. Three failed adoptions and a small collection of foster homes. So far…but that was just the warm up round. The worst was yet to come.