Tonight I wanted to write about the activities Zhanna and I do together, as an example of how you don’t have to grow up just because your chronological age says you’re an adult. Then I decided I wanted to write about how I saw a picture of my mom and how, despite the many years of drugs she has done, she actually looks okay. She doesn’t look like the adult-sized little girl who sat in a corner, afraid for her life, years ago. Despite the deep pain that is written all over her face, she still looks stunningly beautiful…for a druggy. Then I decided I was going to write about how stressed I am about Zhanna and Bailey leaving this week and how frustrated I am that I am being left out, even though I know it’s illogical.  But, I’m not going to write about any of those things. Instead, I’m going to write about my brother, Cooper. He is my biological brother and is chronologically 2 years older than I. He has a small family of his own: a wife and a daughter whom they only held for a few hours. He is silly, witty, smart, good-looking {in a non creepy way}, and extremely strong. He’s a survivor. This is the brother that I knew and loved. He’s the brother I long for when I am needing my family. He’s the brother I wish I still knew. I haven’t talked to Cooper in almost three years and I haven’t seen him since he first learned of my adoption, 4 1/2 years ago–and that was for a brief 5 minutes. I found out, through the grape vine, the other day that Cooper is being deployed to Afghanistan this weekend. He is scheduled to be there for nine months. To some, nine months might not look like a very long time…but nine months is a long time to be in the middle of a war, fighting and risking your life. Nine months is all it takes for one bomb to go off. I love him very much and wish him well in Afghan, hoping for his safety. I’m not going to lie, I am terrified of my brother being in the middle of this war. I’ve lost family to it already, I don’t want to lose any more. I am also quite sad, you see, my brother will not have anything to do with me. I have tried for almost three years to open communication with him, but he refuses. I can’t help but think that the way this makes me feel is similar to the pain my mom feels. He is angry with me, livid to be more precise, just as I was with my mom. He is hurt and the little boy inside of him refuses to let go. I didn’t know this until the last time he and I had a conversation and I asked him why he was so angry. Years ago when I was just a little girl, I made a pact that I would never leave he and Declan and we would always be together. I don’t remember making this pact, but it has been broken. When I was 13, I was taken from my mom and placed in foster care where I was given a choice to either stay in care or go to my grandparents. Both of my brothers lived with my grandparents, but I chose not to go back. I didn’t want to live in the crazy mess I grew up in. I needed a new start, somewhere that I could ensure my sense of right and wrong and build the skills necessary to break the cycle. I needed to create a place for me where I wouldn’t fail and where my mom couldn’t fail me again. So, I chose to stay in a stranger’s home and because I was my brothers  “mom” growing up and chose not to go home, they interpreted that as me abandoning them. I abandoned them for “selfish” reasons. I left them motherless and scared with no one to take care of them but our grandparents. I did to them what my mom did to me. Cooper took it  more personally than Declan and has held it against me for over 8 years. The little boy inside of him fights to release the pain of being abandoned, rejected, and neglected. He was scared…and never got over that. His hurt and anger, pent-up inside, bubbles over and he, like I with my mom, refuses to allow me back into his life. I desperately wish that I could have been the mom that he needed, but even when I was playing the mom role I wasn’t doing it well, I couldn’t give him what he needed. What he needed was our mom, the mom who gave birth to him, to unconditionally love him and supply his needs…and I get to pay the price for him not getting that because I stepped in to fill her role. What does she get? A son in desperation for love; forgiveness, family, and a friendship that he and I are supposed to share. All because of a stupid broken pact that I made years ago, in our darkest hours.


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