Sun., April 15th, 2018, at 5:06 PM
It was a warm, sunny day in Santa Monica. I was listening to “Yellow” by Cold Play – love that song. I had just received devastating news from a childhood friend, Sara. She texted that her father just passed… What’s ironic about this is that her father and my father shared the same name, Jim, and they both shared the same birth date, March 19th. What’s even more ironic is that Sara is adopted just like me… However, I haven’t shared my adoption with her yet.
1980: I remember when Sara and I were in 4th grade (around 9 y.o.) I went over to her house on a crisp winter morning. Sara and I had planned on making a snowman and cookies at her home. Sara was my best friend, and I trusted her with everything. I felt she could “see” me. When I arrived, her eyes were full of tears, and she said we’d have to play another day because her parents told her that she and her brother were adopted. Adopted? I didn’t understand what that meant. So, I ran home in fear because it sounded like something terrible.
When I got home, I told my mom the news, and I asked her. “Am I adopted?” I am not sure what prompted me to ask that question… However, mom told me that I wasn’t, and then she explained what adoption meant. She said, “The most important thing you should know, Janeen, is that adoption doesn’t mean that you’re not wanted. It just means that you were given to a new family.” I then asked her if I could live with Sara for a little while to understand what it felt like to be adopted. Unbeknownst to me, I was experiencing adoption already…
The next day Sara called and said I could come over and play. She tried to explain to me what adoption is, but I still didn’t fully understand. What could cause a mother to give up her child? I couldn’t wrap my mind around that concept. Sara said she was grateful that she was with a family that wanted her and loved her, but it was sad that she wasn’t blood-related to her family. “I have a GREAT idea!” I said to her. “I saw an episode of Lavern and Shirley where they became “Spit Sisters” by licking their own thumbs and then they’d smoosh each other’s thumbs together and then licked them again.” It was gross, but it was the only way we knew how to be connected–biologically. And so it was done. Sara and I were now joined by spit.
The following day, Sara came down with a nasty cold. However, we were excited because we knew “it” worked. Sara caught my cold! We hugged, for we were forever “spit sisters.”
After reading her text, little did Sara know how much more we were connected through our life’s experiences.
What a revelation.
When I reflect on the conversation I had that day with my mother, I become sad. I felt like God/The Universe gave her the perfect opportunity to tell me about my adoption. It seemed like I was ready and open to the news. I asked my mother why she didn’t tell me that day. Unfortunately, she doesn’t remember the conversation. This is probably because of the emotional trauma of my father’s passing, coupled with the trauma of me finding out about my adoption. Besides, what difference would it make…right?
BTW – Supposedly the lead singer Chris Martin, of Cold Play, has said that the lyrics of the song “Yellow” are about being devoted to someone, wanting to do anything for them. Swimming across the sea for them and so on. He said that it’s not necessarily a romantic devotion, but could be about someone you would do anything for, a brotherly love. He claims to have had no specific person in mind when he wrote it. However, I think he wrote this song for my mom and dad and me. At least that’s what I’ll forever believe…
What does family mean to you?
Have you ever wanted to be taken in by another family? If so, why?
5 thoughts on “Spit Sisters”
My family has always been small. One sister, no brothers.
Being a “mixtee” I always knew I was different. Heard on TV that if you were an ‘Alien’ you had to register. I asked my mom if I were an Illegal Alien she said “no” – I thought it was someone from outer space☺️
I have never wanted to be taken by another family, but I lived off and on with other families when I was young and my mom and dad were going through divorce. Never liked it much, but I knew my sister, mom & I would get back together and I loved them.
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I was blood sisters & Had blood brothers with a few friends – but we pricked our finger With a straight pin and touched our, one drop of blood, fingers together.
It was a big deal ☺️
In my world, family are the people I choose. This is somewhat out of necessity. My mom was an only child, and my dad, one of three. I have one sister, and four first-cousins in all, and our family is spread from CA to NY, DC, and GA. We’re sadly at the point where funerals are the events that bring the larger group together. Given these circumstances, family are the people who are there for me and Levi unconditionally. I’m grateful that I have a host of people who I can rely on, even if some are far away. When Covid started to rear its ugly head I asked one of my BFs in MA if she would take Levi in should I meet an untimely demise. She agreed to drive across the country to fetch him should that happen. It’s disconcerting that I don’t have “blood” family who could take him in, but incredibly reassuring that I have the gift of sisters and brothers from other mothers.
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What is your brothers blog that you suggested?
My grandparents raised several children before adopting my aunt in the 70s. As a child, I always remembered her having behavioral problems. Your post help me better understand the reality in which she was living. Much different than the way I understood it at the time. Thanks for sharing your story.
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