by Daniel Fernandes – a proud brother studying in grade 9
Seven months after my third birthday, my parents brought home a baby girl. I thought it was a delayed birthday gift as the baby also was born on the same day as my birthday. Definitely was confused as suddenly one fine day a baby was brought home, though I knew of some adoption procedures happening, just never knew it would result in a baby coming home. Then I thought all babies come this way.
Being just three years old, all I knew was suddenly I had a baby sister. There was sudden joy in the house and the noise of a baby crying, at times. It was a treat to grow up with another sibling and everything looked normal to me as to how I would see in any other home with a couple of children.
Our birthday celebrations were a riot of fun and to add to the excitement my Dad too shared the same birthday. As we both grew up, it was a confusion as my baby sister would want to engage in games and toys that I liked. So, it was guns and other ‘boy games’ she would follow me too. When I took up Karate she followed me. When I took up swimming she followed me. Thank God it was not the reverse where I followed her with her ‘girlie stuff’ of toys and activities.
Responsibility and Duty
My parents were keen on being open about the adoption from the beginning. I just never understood what it meant, and was never bothered to know either. As the years went by, in the slow process of creating awareness by my parents, I came to know my sister’s parents were not the parents I have. Being a kid (not that I am grown up now) I just could not understand. Watching a lot movies and understanding what kidnapping meant, I thought maybe my sister was kidnapped by my parents or maybe she was found abandoned outside a temple. It took a long time to realize and understand what my parents did was a responsibility and duty towards society. Using the words ‘responsibility and duty’ as the word ‘charity’ is abusive and more a status tag, to show the world you are doing a great deed or using a decorative terminology of being a philanthropist. My parents hated anyone making it sound like nobility and would fiercely protest and insist it is a responsibility and duty, very much similar to bringing up kids of one’s own.
A Growing Attachment
My attachment to my sister grew stronger and the bond in-between strengthened, when I slowly started realizing of the meaning of adoption. All the jealousy started vanishing when attention was being showered on her (not that I was neglected). It was something normal in-between siblings where one compares what the other got. None of those feelings ever existed and we used to fight like normal siblings. Never did I feel she was different and not a part of the family.
As we graduated in our extra-curricular activities, one of them being Karate, she ended up being among the youngest in India to get a black in the art form of ‘Shotokan Karate’. There was no competitive jealousy; on the contrary it was pride, I could play a part in her achieving the feat. She was even a youngest participant in a Marathon to complete a nine kilometre circuit.