I needed to stop measuring by other people's standards and recognizing the good thing in front of me. I had heard about and read so many people describing their relationships with adoptive families I lost focus. So often the description "like my sister" came up, shortly followed by tales of "countless texts back and forth" I started to think that might be "normal".
For a brief time I actually felt a little ashamed that my relationship with Ms Scarlet and Prof Plum didn't resemble those stories. I wanted our relationship to be like a beacon for how good everything can be in an adoption. I wanted to be the wildly successful anecdote people share, secretly hoping the same can happen to them, like when discussing film stars and rock gods. I looked at the markers for that quality relationship and found many of them lacking.
Instead, I found a real relationship. I found the kind of relationship that expresses, and more importantly respects, the strangeness of how our relationship came to be. Let's face it, adoption is a pretty strange way to kick off a friendship. "Hey, here's a kid, let's be friends!" It doesn't exactly fly in most social circles. So instead, I decided to let this relationship be exactly what it is; It's a little weird in that it's completely unique.
We don't get together and hang out at the park just because. We don't send each other endless text messages about our day at work, or the film we just saw. We don't gab like old friends who have known each other forever, because we haven't.
Instead, when we meet (about once every month) everyone is clearly aware of why we're together:
Don't get me wrong. I really like Ms Scarlet and Prof Plum. They're great people, and I always enjoy the time we spend together. We have very little in common in terms of factual experience, but we have a great deal in common with regard to temperament. We tend to think and behave similarly, even though our contexts are quite different. But then that's the wonderful thing about this family we've built; we like and are alike, even though we differ.
Our relationship with each other is icing. The cake is everyone's relationship with Festus. That is what makes me feel that this is something to be truly proud of. Our adoption is truly and completely centered on him. Without him Athena and I probably wouldn't have a relationship with Prof Plum or Ms Scarlet. And that's fine. Our relationship is a little weird. It is awkward to explain, but is becoming very natural to those that are in it. We are not like family in the SitCom sense, nor the story book way. We are not like long lost siblings who gab and joke all day. Our relationship runs deep, and quiet. Our relationship is our shared son. We all know it, and we don't need it to be anything else.
The laughter and fun we share, when it happens, is icing. Our son is the cake.