My children are siblings.

It’s okay. You can read it again.

That may seem like an odd statement to many. But for anyone who has a family created by adoption, you understand that we often have to explain in practical, obvious-to-us terms what others do not understand. And that’s okay. But here are the facts:

My children are siblings.

My daughter was adopted. She is a sister. My son was adopted. He is a brother. They are not adopted siblings. They are not even real siblings. They are siblings—brother and sister. And that’s that. My children are siblings.

Just ask them.

Just watch them.

She wakes him up each morning with a roar. He won’t start his favorite movie unless she’s sitting beside him. If she gets a special treat, she asks for one for her baby brother. He makes sure his barber gives him two lollipops: one for him, one for sissy. She makes sure I turn the radio up when his jam comes on. If he can’t find her in the house, he wanders into every room looking for her. She’ll give up date nights in exchange for family nights so he can come, too. He is her biggest cheerleader whenever she is involved in a performance. They hold hands. They give bear hugs. They brag that they share their daddy’s name. They’ll both go down swinging if anyone dares question their claim to be twins.

Mind you, my son is 2 and a half and my daughter is 5. She has poker straight blond hair; his is tight black curls. He has dark brown skin, and she is a pale pink with freckles. But they are twins. And that’s that. They also like to point out that God painted them different colors because God likes rainbows. And our daughter, ever the observant one, frequently comments, “I have yellow hair like Aunt Karen (my husband’s sister) and pink skin like you, mama; and Christian is brown like Daddy and Uncle Jack Jack (my biological brother who just happens to be really tan). Aunt Karen and Mama and I are big sisters; and Daddy, Uncle Jack Jack, and Christian are the baby brothers!”

Sibling love runs deep in our families.

Was there an adjustment period for them? Sure. Do they need time and personal space occasionally to gather themselves? Absolutely. Did they share right away? Well, that was a necessity at first, so yes. But it was…and still is…a learning curve.

But my children are siblings.

She snitches on him when he throws his tomatoes under the chair at dinner. He stiff arms her in the neck when she uses the fast Matchbox car. She whines when he won’t let her paint him with makeup. He steals her fruit snacks when she’s not looking. She pushes him out of the way to be the first out the door. He yells at her in the car when he’s had quite enough, “No more jellyfishes!” (a game they created that I still don’t understand that involves feet and lots of weird, high-pitched squeals and squeaks while I’m driving down the highway).

We attended my 5-year-old daughter’s kindergarten orientation the other day. She pranced to the front of the line, pigtails dancing in the all-purpose room, excited to learn to read and write and test out the new playground. As she walked in line out the door to her classroom, she looked back to find us in the crowd, gave us a wave and a smile, and skipped off ready to explore. My son took a big breath and then melted in my arms into a heap of what could only be described as weeping and wailing. “Mama, where Sissy go? I miss her so badly. I so sad, mama! Where Sissy goooooooo?” And he cried. Real, big, fat tears fell down his chubby cheeks. The other parents in the room let out a collective, “Awww,” and he curled up in my lap to cry it out for the next half hour. When she came back to the room, he got so excited he ran right past her, did a U-turn, and flopped on the floor at her feet. “You back! You came back to me! I cryin’ I miss you so badly!” She then took his hand and walked him through the hallways of her new school, pointing out all the details she had just seen. She introduced him to her teacher and showed him all of the books in her classroom that she was going to learn to read. My husband and I walked behind, taking it all in.

And when we got home, she pinned him in a chair and told him she was the teacher and he was the student, and he had to do everything she told him, and he was going to learn even if he didn’t want to—just like I did to my brother many years ago.

My children are siblings.

And that’s that.