For Real…

They play together.
They fight together.
They laugh together.

When little M is hurt, baby J gets upset.
When baby J is crying, little M says “it’s ok, little buddy. It’s ok.”
Little M shares her stuffed animals with baby J “to help him sleep.”

Little M tattles on baby J.
Baby J annoys little M on purpose.

When baby J sits on my lap, little M gets jealous and sulks.

Little M  bosses baby J around.
Baby J does whatever little M wants him to do.
They both vie for my attention.
Little M proudly introduces baby J to whomever will listen as “my little baby brother.”
We are finding our way as a family of four.

They are real. They are real siblings, and I am their real mom.

When someone asks me if these two are REAL brother and sister, my first response is anger, I want to cover my kid’s ears so that they don’t hear and question this insensitive question, and to give the person asking a lesson in adoption lingo (the correct term is biological. Asking if they are real is annoying and offensive.), and my second response is worry. I worry about my kids and what they think when they hear questions like this. What would you think if you were five and someone asked if your brother were really your brother, or your mom was your real mom? The term “real” is ridiculous…as if they would be “pretend” or “fake”siblings. This question is not only offensive, but it undermines the concept of family to our little ones.

So instead, I say “yes.” Because blood is not the only guarantee of love.

Yes, they are real brother and sister. They are real siblings. We are a real family. In every way that matters.


  1. dawn on July 25, 2013 at 11:55 am

    I detest that question. Lily once told a little girl who asked her if Rosie was her real sister, well she isn't plastic so she must be real. Bwa ha ha. LIly was 6 at the time, and I didn't say a word!

  2. Brad and Lauren Holmes on July 25, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Perfect response, my friend! 🙂

  3. ourchinagirls on July 25, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    I am an advocate for adoption so I usually welcome the question. Just another chance to find a child a forever home.

  4. dawn on July 25, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    I need to add that I think I take personal offense to this as my brother and sister are adopted A nosey old town busy body once asked me where I was going all dressed up, and I replied to see my sister. She replied, she isn't your real sister! I was disgusted but was raised not to talk back to adults,, I was 18. I ran back into my fathers office and told him. I still remember his response all these years later because it so out of character: Ms. Johnson is a senile old fool and knows not of what she speaks. Stupid woman!Of course they are my real siblings… daddy said so! I still cringe thinking about it.

  5. AJ and Suzy on July 26, 2013 at 1:40 am


  6. Paula on July 26, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    I've seen this pop up on a couple of blogs now. I LOVE Lily's answer from Dawn! Awesome! What irks me is that people wouldn't think to ask if our children \”looked\” like us. Darn right they're real siblings. You have more diplomacy than me. I think a shade of sarcasm would come through if I had to answer the question! And I think, after stating proudly \”of course they're real!\”, I'd turn around and ask them if they were real or if they would ask such a question if it weren't visibly apparent my children were adopted. I'm not always good at keeping my mouth shut! Might make them about their intrusion of privacy next time or how they choose to phrase their wording. As a mom to one I haven't had to deal with that question but have dealt with others. For the most part, to date, they've been pretty low key and are often because someone has a connection and wants to share.

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