I became an aunt again this month, twice over. What’s crazy though, is really I was already an aunt to my sister’s two youngest children, Stryker and Summer, it just wasn’t on paper yet.
That’s right. My sister Christi did something amazing and beautiful — she adopted two children out of the Texas foster care system. She and her husband became foster parents a few years ago, and immediately got a pair of siblings to care for. They eventually went back to their birth parents, and shortly after we met these two siblings.
The two kids fell into line with her three other children, and it was fun to watch over the past year as their family dynamic changed. My 5-year-old nephew Thayer instantly went from the youngest to the middle child and my niece Rosie finally got a sister. Their oldest son Jackson had to relearn what it’s like to have babies steal — and occasionally break — your toys.
Summer, 3, was and still is so shy toward me, and I know none of this transition could have been easy for her. Her brother Stryker just turned 2, so he doesn’t know much other than my sister’s home. The progress they’ve both made since last Christmas is a testament to how dedicated Christi was to welcoming them whole-heartedly into the family.
I live miles away, and I know it had to be a challenge for everyone. The whole family took Summer and Stryker into the fold not knowing if it would be a forever home, but never treated them that way. It was an emotional gamble, considering we’d all had our hearts broken before. But this time they hit the jackpot.
When the kiddos officially joined the family earlier this month, I was happy for my sister, but it was also a strange excitement to explain to my friends here in Killeen. Thankfully, the official adoption also meant my sister could finally share her youngest babies’ photos on social media, so I proudly held my iPhone up to anyone around me to show off these two little stinkers.
When I do so, I also try to explain these kids came from foster care as siblings and were able to be absorbed into a new family. It is possible.
When Christi took her daughters out to see “Annie,” she said it was the song “Maybe” that really stood out to her. Particularly the line, “Maybe this prayer is the last one of it’s kind. Won’t you please come get your baby. Maybe.”
It reminded her that Summer and Stryker may have found their family, but there are so many more children in foster care, just waiting for a maybe.
I’m so proud of my sister and her family for taking that risk and turning a maybe into a yes.