With Before We Were Yours hitting shelves in June, it seems appropriate to talk of sibling bonds—what they mean and how deeply ingrained they can be. As was the case with many children who, in real life, found themselves caught up in the Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society’s corrupt system of orphan houses, Rill Foss, the twelve-year-old narrator in the novel, struggles to preserve not only her individual identity, but her collective identity as part of a river gypsy family, as one of seven tightly knit siblings.
I like to imagine that even the youngest of the Foss children—those theoretically too young to have remembered their time together on their parents’ little Mississippi River shantyboat—would have in some way known who they really were. I can’t help but think, as in the true story below, they would have felt the perpetual and mysterious pull of the invisible… of sibling bonds and something missing, a heritage of love waiting to be found.
Contributed by: Virginia Rush
For years, deep inside my heart I felt I had a brother. In reality, there wasn’t one but my heart still longed for that bond. After almost a half century, I found out I was half adopted. My biological mom gave me up to my dad the day I was born. I always, always knew something, someone, was missing.
When I found out part of the truth I began my journey to find my birth family. It took several years of opening doors and closing others. The night my brother heard about me, he called at 10:20 p.m. and we talked for forty-five minutes. He and his wife came to my house at 12:30 the same night and stayed until 3:30 in the morning. The bond was instant. Our hearts knew each other and it was awesome.
When he got out of his car, it was like in the movies, he ran toward my porch and I flew off of it into his arms. We cried, hugged, laughed and hugged some more…with his sweet wife standing by with a big smile on her face. I gained a sister that night too. The pieces of the puzzle started falling in place. Especially when they showed me a picture of their son as a baby. I looked at the picture, then at them, then the picture again. I thought they had a picture of my son.
After that night and before they knew each other, their son was called by my son’s name twice even though they lived in totally different cities. Once when my nephew came to our house, someone saw him walk out the door and called him by my son’s name. These young men look so much alike that they could pass for twins. We’ve had twelve years together now and every time I see my brother, joy explodes in my heart. All those years, my heart knew the truth. I thank God every day for his goodness.
Thank you for sharing your story, Virginia. May it continue to inspire those who are still searching. — Lisa
Author Bio: Virginia is a proud sister, mom, and story teller!