Smelly shoes lined the floor. My bare feet stick to the dirty surface that hadn’t been swept since breakfast. As socks are always missing, they are a rare delicacy only to be enjoyed on special occasions. Outside the window, kids are yelling and running around. The couches are lined with teenagers tapping away on iPads and phones. I listen to my Mom and our surrogate grandma chatting away in the kitchen as they make dinner. I strain to think whether or not I have class tonight and if I’ve finished my homework. Suddenly, mom’s voice shouts over the intercom “Soccer players, the van’s leaving in 2 minutes. Get in the car!” A herd of dirty blonde grade school boys hustle past me. One whined he couldn’t find his shoes. The other tried to find a water bottle.
The day is almost over. Upon being called, I shuffle into the kitchen. Dad bows his head, and a little girl says prayers. After that, everyone chaotically gets their food off the stove, grabs some salad, and hustles to the table. I listen, confused, as about three conversations go on at the table. The teen boys are teasing each other about girls, the grade schoolers giggle about something, and the little ones quietly listen to mom and dad talking calmly. Dinner is done. The rest is a blur as the kitchen gets ‘cleaned’ and the kids gather for evening prayers. Finally, my head hits the pillow. It had been an ordinary day. Not much school got done, but I learned at least two things today. 1. Not to tell a nine year old boy he’s wrong. 2. The other kids don’t care you’re the oldest when it’s time to clean.
My parents aren’t always right, I am rarely right, my brothers think they’re always right, but God is never wrong. That’s why my family decided to adopt.
I was 13 years old when I felt led to host a sibling group of six from Latvia. My parents thought I was crazy, but I knew it was God who wanted us to do it. After getting frustrated at my parents, I asked God to either help these kids get adopted by someone else and help me stop wanting to be their sister, or lead mom and dad to host/adopt them. Well, long story short, we adopted all 5 boys and one girl, and added them to our group of six. So now we have seven boys, and three girls. I’m the oldest and at times hate it and sometimes love it. We are just ordinary people with an unordinary life.
4 things my younger siblings have taught me:
- I’ve learned how to be more humble. I remember the first time my 9 year old brother, Sean, beat me in a chess game. My first reaction was “what?! But Im the oldest! I need to be the best!” But then I realized I was wrong and I don’t need to be the best at everything because I’m the oldest. I still struggle with pride, but I’ve had to have humility when my little sister Audrey beat me for the first time in a race, when she passed me in math and violin, when my younger brothers got stronger than me and in several other things. I enjoy it now when they beat me. Why? Because it shows I’ve done a good job teaching them.
2. The little ones are always watching. Whether you opened your eyes during prayers, or watched too much Netlix, the little ones will always find out. It’s as if you have the FBI watching you 24/7.
3. The little ones want to be like you. I remember Elsie my 6 year old sister, used to always ask me what I was wearing in the morning. At first I was frustrated because she would try to match me, but than I realized if I had had a big sister, I would have done the same thing.
4. Siblings will always be there for you. Mom used to always tell us “friends will come and go, but your siblings will be there forever.” Whenever I have an issue with one of my friends, the first person I can go to is my sister Audrey and she does the same for me. My brothers are very protective and always want to know who all my friends are and they will do a thorough background search on each of them.
I look forward to seeing what God has in store for us. We’re not at all the perfect family, I’m not the perfect older sister, but God’s plan for us and for you is perfect.