In response to my newest follower, Naturgesetz (his blog), I thought it would be appropriate to give a quick run down on my family, so as this blog progresses you will know how the players fit into the puzzle. And today is a good day to share my family links, as my "baby brother" and his wife are expecting their first child today, so my family continues to grow. You might want to grab a pen and paper to start your own flow chart - my family connections confuse most people, and a good cup of coffee might not be a bad idea.
To start, I am the 2nd oldest of fourteen. You read that correctly, 14 children. But before your jaw completely hits the floor, I must explain that not all of us are biologically related. I only share DNA with four of my siblings; the other nine are adopted. And in the interest of brevity, I will list them here from oldest to youngest, how we are related, and the status of our relationship. (To keep their anonymity, I will use the first letter of their names to identify them; in cases of duplicate letters, I will add a second to help you keep track.)
"R" - older (also gay) brother, and the only sibling with whom I share both mother and father. He has recently been diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer. From the day of my birth, our relationship has been tenuous at best.
Scott - that would be me.
"Da" - sister and twin to "De"; their father was my first step-father. We share the same mother. We were not close growing up, but have grown very close in our adult years. She has given me four wonderful nieces/nephews whom I spoil every chance I get.
"De" - sister and twin to "Da" and also shares the same mother. Growing up, I always felt a special bond with "De". As adults, I think we are as close as any two siblings can be, growing much closer after the loss of our mother. In 2009, she blessed me with my youngest nephew and we have begun spending annual vacations together in the spring.
"C" - adopted brother. Mom was a foster parent, and throughout my life, I have always had at least one foster sibling. "C" was the first, brought to us when he was just 7 months old. While with us, two different families had chosen to adopt him, but for whatever reason, they backed away. When "C" was 6 or 7, Mom called up his case-worker and began the process to make him a permanent member of our family.
"N" - brother. We share the same father and "N" was born the weekend of my Confirmation. It was a tough decision not to come home from college for his birth, but one I do not regret. There is a 20 year age difference between us, and though he is straight, married and about to have his first child, the two of us are very much alike. We are often referred to as "Dick Jr. 1" and "Dick Jr. 2", in reference to being so similar to our father. We occasionally get together for dinner and our relationship has grown stronger as we have aged.
"T" - adopted sister. Mom and my second step-father adopted "T", as well as her biological siblings 11 years ago (Ma, Ph, & Pa). Mom couldn't stand the thought of the four of them being separated and she lovingly brought them all into the family. "T" is also 21, and currently engaged.
"Ma" - adopted brother. Biological to "T". Currently out on his own and has re-connected with his biological mother. After his reconnection to her, he has written off his adopted family.
"Mi" - adopted brother. "Mi" was part of a set of siblings Mom had fostered when "Mi" was just a baby. After 2 years, "Mi" and his biological siblings were returned to their bio-parents. That reunion did not last, and "Mi" returned to our family and he too was made a permanent addition.
"A" - adopted sister. A was/is an extremely troubled child. She had been abused in so many unspeakable ways, that it kills me to know a person could do that to a child. No one else would even consider taking her; but Mom did. And Mom made great progress with "A". Unfortunately, after Mom died, "A" regressed severely and turned violent. My step-father and DFACS chose to institutionalize her. I have tried to reach out to her, but as she is still a minor, now in the State's care, I have been denied any access to her through my step-father's machinations.
"Ph" - adopted brother. Biological to T and Ma. He, too, has issues stemming from his abuse/neglect from his biological family. He has, however, made great strides in overcoming those obstacles and is on track to graduate from high school next year.
"Pa" - adopted brother. Biological to T, Ma & Ph. "Pa" was only 1-month old when he and his siblings were brought to Mom; she always had an extra soft spot for baby boys. (I speak from personal experience.) Out of all of biological siblings, he has the least amount of symptoms from his bio-mother's extensive drug use, and fortunately, he never suffered from neglect; Mom made sure of that. He is an honor-roll student and is becoming a fine young man.
"Ant & And" - adopted brothers; identical twins. Their bio-mother actually chose Mom to adopt them, before they were even born. Mom took special pride in them - her second set of twins. I have a special connection to them - we were all "Momma's boys". When Mom realized that there was no Earthly-cure for her cancer, she asked Michel and I if we would take "Ant & And" and raise them. After much consideration, we agreed; and after Mom's passing, my step-father refused to honor my mother's wish and his promise to her. A few months after her funeral, when I expressed concern to my step-father about moving the boys after school had begun, he sought legal action and had a restraining order placed upon me. I am not allowed to see, or even communicate with "Ant & And". I'm not even allowed within yards of my Mother's home (a plot of land she inherited from my grandparents). Fortunately, my aunt lives a few acres down from there, and I do get to see the twins from a distance when I visit her. My aunt keeps me up to date on how the boys are doing, as much as she can. She tells me that they now have a relationship with their biological grandmother, and from my understanding, it is a very healthy, nurturing relationship. Last year, I had a chance run-in with "And" at my cousin's high school graduation. He came right up to me, hugged me, and we had a long conversation, with him filling me in on everything in his life. As he walked me back to my car, I kept looking over my shoulder for my step-father, fortunately no where to be seen; I cried all the way home on that 2-hour drive. Every year I send "Ant" & "And" birthday cards, Christmas gifts, etc. I have no idea if they have ever receive them, but I will keep sending them.
Not so brief as I had planned, but that gives you an idea of some of the people who are important to me. It's a large group with some very strong and loving connections. I'm sure I'll be mentioning them all again at some point, because if there is one thing that I have learned about family, it is this - they will always be a part of you.