Lily Herman

Here’s What It’s Like To Be The Sibling Of An Adoptee

I was six at the time and everything is a blur, but I’ll never forget watching my father come off the plane carrying a gigantic bundle of blue blankets.

In honor of National Adoption Awareness Month, MTV News asked readers: What does adoption look like in 2015? 

Were you adopted as an infant or as a teen? Are you an interracial adoptee? Do you have a relationship with your birth parents? What are the biggest misconceptions people have about adoption? What do you wish they knew? Share your story by emailing hellomtvvoices@gmail.com.

By Lily Herman, 21

On Jan. 6, 2001, my family headed to the airport to await the arrival of my baby brother, Miles. I was six at the time and everything is a blur, but I’ll never forget watching my father come off the plane carrying a gigantic bundle of blue blankets.

At five months old, Miles was the quintessential cute baby, weighing over 20 pounds and having cheeks bigger than watermelons. After initially showing my mom and grandparents the little bugger, my dad knelt down so that I could see my brand new brother.

I stared into Miles’ dark eyes, and then I saw it -- his lips started trembling, he began squinting his eyes and then he let out a piercing wail that silenced what seemed like an entire terminal of the Newark airport.

This was my kid brother’s introduction to our family.

It’s been 15 years since Miles became a part of the fam, and we have the very typical sibling thing going on. I think a huge misconception many people have is that having a sibling who’s adopted automatically changes everything about your relationship, when in reality, every family is different. Despite the fact that Miles and I couldn’t even look “related” if we tried (he’s Asian, I’m white), I’ve never felt like Miles being adopted has changed how we interact with one another. If anything, it makes for a much more interesting life: There’s nothing more entertaining that telling a random person that Miles and I are siblings and watching him or her try to figure out how that’s genetically possible.

However, I’ve also learned that this easiness around adoption isn’t always the case with every family, and that should be respected, too. We live in a society that places a great deal of weight on familial lines and passed-down genes, and that can create many issues for adoptees, especially those who don’t “look” like their family members at first glance.

Over the past decade and a half, I’ve thought a lot about what I’d say to Miles’ biological mother if I ever had the chance to meet her in a hypothetical universe. It’s Miles’ decision if he wants to know his biological parent, at the end of the day, but it’s always thought-provoking to think about.

And I’ve concluded that if I could tell her anything, it would be this: Miles was always meant to my brother, period. Oh, and I love him to the moon and back.

Lily Herman