Sofiy InckSeptember 3, 2018The Question of MeaningAwesome Moments

What does it mean to be a family? Can you love an adopted sibling like you would a biological sibling? Can you love a friend like you would a sister or a brother?

I have a friend who feels like more than a friend. She feels like sister. She is not a soul sister or something like that, but she is not a biological or adopted sister, either. Somehow, though, Ruby is my “sister.”

Ruby’s parents Orna and Nigel, who also happen to be dear friends of my parents, had been trying to adopt another child for quite some time. When my family and I heard that after months of searching they had found a baby, we were beyond happy. The day they brought him home my biological sister Hannah and I rushed to their house. He was small and pink. He didn’t have a name, so for a week or so we called him “the baby.” Orna and Nigel eventually named him “Jasper.”

Jasper was still pink after six weeks, but now his eyes were always open, darting back and forth, searching for something. He cried a lot. His crying sounded fearful. Whenever he cried it made everyone tense.

One night my family was at their house, as we often are and Orna was holding Jasper. She asked me if I would hold him while she went to get a pacifier. Holding him in the crook of my elbow I started to sing The Rainbow Connection (by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher) very quietly, mostly to comfort myself. Jasper immediately went quiet. I started bouncing him and walking around the dining room.

As I put him down in a bouncy seat I wondered, what is a family? I love this baby like he was my brother, but he isn’t related to me at all. Is the love I have for Hannah, my sister, the same kind of love that I have for Ruby? And now Jasper?

I think that a family is a group of people that care about each other.

But they care about each other not because they are biologically related, but because they live in a way that makes each person know that they belong with another. With this sense of belonging comes a sense of responsibility. And that’s the kind of responsibility I feel for Jasper.

Sofiy Inck is a 15 year old student who lives in Brooklyn, NY with her mother, father, and sister. She has been on the KidSpirit editorial board for five years. She has numerous interests, including nerdy TV shows, documentaries about cults, dead languages, John Green and dying her hair to match her mood. She finds writing bios awkward.