Last week was a long and hard week.

Ben has been a little devil all week, I broke my specs and I was down to my last set of contact lenses, had an emergency appointment with the dentist who put me on antibiotics for the whole week, Diego pulled a muscle in his shoulder and he could barely move, and we had our fostering Social Worker coming for a home visit at the most inconvenient time.

Saying I felt exhausted doesn’t really cut it. But in the midst of the unlucky events of the week, a surprising and wonderful news came through.

We received the annual contact letter from Ben’s older brother Harvey, well, from his adoptive family I mean. I looked at the sealed envelope thinking it was going to be a short, uninspired, and meaningless letter as the one we received last year. As I opened it, a little square paper slipped out from between the folded A4. I picked it up and my heart skipped a beat: it was a picture of a boy, just a little older than Ben. “Could that be him? No, it cannot possibly be. Dear me, it is! It’s a picture of Harvey!”

It was so strange to look at a picture of someone we never have seen or met before, but who is so familiar at the same time! I could clearly see my Ben in the shape of Harvey’s mouth and the expression in his eyes.

I called Ben and showed him the picture. He paused a little, then he concluded: “It’s not Ben”. My clever little boy! We explained that, although that the boy in the picture looked a lot like him, he was in fact Harvey, his older brother. Ben seemed quite happy with the explanation, and he carried on playing peaceful.

The “brother” concept must have stuck in Ben’s mind, and something in our explanation must have made sense. A few days later, at playgroup, Ben saw a little boy wearing the exact same shoes as him. He cheered: “Mum, same shoes. I’m Ben, he is Brother!”.

The contact letter was a long letter, plenty of details and anecdotes, but they saved the best bit for last.

We never understood why Harvey’s family always refused to let the children meet face to face. They never cared to explain, but that was about to change. They were actually asking us whether it would have been OK to get together some day. I didn’t know whether to be crossed or hysterically happy. I mean, we pushed for this to happen even before Ben adoption was finalised, ever since we first learned that he had a brother!

They would like to try meeting once a year and see how the children react to it, and how well they can cope. It’s a start. A good start!

I already wrote about how our Social Worker kept referring to the contact letters as “an open door to the future”. I didn’t believe her, and part of me still doesn’t. I like to think it was my effort, my commitment in writing “the letters I would like to receive” that convinced Harvey’s family to approach us for a meeting.

I think of Ben’s life like a huge jigsaw puzzle. Some of the tiles are there in clear view and are easy to place, some other are hidden, lost, maybe gone. Some may never be found, but once in awhile, a tile you thought was gone forever unexpectedly emerges. Another little bit of Ben’s history is now becoming clearer, and for this, I will always be grateful.

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    • Laura Boccaleone 29th July 2016 Reply
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