Sunday, August 2, 2009

5 years ago: An Adoption Story - Meeting My Brother for the First Time

Just over 5 years ago (July 26, 2004 to be exact), I met my brother Brent for the first time. Probably sounds odd for that to be the case.
Brent is 12 years older than me. My parents were young, unmarried and my dad was in Seminary in Oklahoma when they became pregnant with him. From both families' perspectives, adoption was the only option.

My parents moved, had Brent. He was adopted and that was that. I knew nothing of it until Christmas 2003, when my mom (and then my dad one day later) told my brother Kyle and I about Brent (although at that time we didn't know his name).
The following Spring, my mother filled out the Indiana state paperwork, which Brent had filled out many years before. Brent received notice of his mother (my mother) and called her. From there, a flurry of phone calls began: mom to me, mom to Kyle, Kyle to me, Brent to Kyle, Brent to me, etc., etc.

Brent lived in Chicago. Kyle's band, Rainer Maria, was playing a show in Chicago. Brent got a stand-by airline ticket for me to Chicago through a friend of his and that's how it became that just 7 months after I was told that another brother of mine even existed, I found myself sitting at a club with Brent (my new brother -- LLB, long lost brother as we had become fond of calling him) and Kyle (the brother I had grown up with my whole life).

It was a mind-blowing and amazing experience. That has only gotten better. Getting to know Brent and his other family has enriched my life in so many ways. I've decided that this "Ten" would be dedicated to that reunion five years ago. Here's ten amazing/cool/wonderful things (in no particularly order) about having a new brother:

  • Brent's generosity and kindness -- his openness as a person (and his mannerism, which are just like my dad's)
  • Brent's parents - the Middletons - very warm and loving people that raised their son to have such an amazing spirit; they have made our reunion with him (and our experiences with them) so comfortable and easy.
  • Brent's sister, Karla, who told me the first time we met that she always wanted a sister.
  • Brent's new wife, Deb, a welcome addition to this every-expanding family
  • Brent's awesome step-daughter, Hayley, who kept me very busy when I was in Chicago for Brent and Deb's wedding last Christmas.
  • Skydiving with Brent!! - My mom decided that the best way to celebrate her 60th birthday would be jump out of a plane with her son, Brent (who is an avid skydiver). Of course, Kyle and I had to also. It was a blast!! (Though I don't know if I would do it again).
  • Brent's nephews, who are my nephews too now and who both have unique personalities that I've enjoyed slowly starting to get to know.
  • The Middleton-Fischer Thanksgiving when time my mom, Kyle and I first met Brent's family. There were so many incredible things about that experience. I know I will never forgot it.
  • The peace that the reunion has brought to my mother.
  • Having more family -- always a good thing!!


  1. Jen,

    this made me cry: mostly because what could have been so heart-wrenching and tragic has turned into an expansive and peace-bringing relationship for you and your families.



  2. I remember when you told me at my wedding that you had discovered you had a brother - I almost cried! I don't think I heard the whole story until you visited us in Maine.

    I didn't know you went skydiving!!!

  3. Thank you for sharing such a personal and beautiful part of your life with us. Isn't it amazing how we always have more room in our hearts to love?!

    So wow'ed that your mom and siblings all went skydiving together!!

  4. This is such a wonderful story, for so many reasons. Hooray for celebrating family. I love that you got a sister out of this, too.

    I still can't believe that your mom went sky diving for her 60th birthday! So cool.

  5. What a heartfelt post. It is so important to treasure your siblings. I am glad you reunited with your brother!

  6. WOW! What an absolutely beautiful story! Thank you.