Yes, They ARE ‘Real’ Sisters

Some thoughts about sisterhood on National Sister's Day.

Shelley Skuster August 03, 2015
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Stop the presses, people.

I showered before noon today.

My daughters are fed.

Hair’s done (theirs, not mine, of course). I look like I got run over by a truck, but they look cute, and I feel like I’m on top of the world.

Until a trip to the local shopping center, that is . . .

Sisters in the Shopping Center

By most accounts, I’m sure I look like a frazzled mom trying to maintain a sense of sanity when every stuffed Elmo in the kid’s section seems to pop out at my toddler from the shelves.

“ELMO CUTE!” she announces for all shoppers to hear. No need for a loudspeaker with this kid, people.

Then, like a game of bumper carts, I quickly swerve to miss a middle-aged woman turning a sharp corner.

Or so I thought…

She turned around.

“How old’s the baby?” she asked.

“Seven months going on 17 years,” I said with a chuckle, half joking but somewhat serious.

“Are they sisters?” she asked.

“They sure are,” I said, still smiling.

“How precious,” she said. “Are they from the same family?”

My jaw hit the floor.

Are they from the same family? They’re sisters.

It was in this moment—in the middle of a loud supermarket—that I’m pretty sure I could’ve heard a pin drop.

“I mean are they really sisters? Like, did they come from the same family?” the woman attempted to clarify her question.

“Baby sister, baby sister Kendra!” my toddler filled the silence while I tried to process how to respond gracefully.

I took a deep breath.

“Yes, they’re really sisters. And they’re part of our family,” I said, and I turned away to head toward the grocery section.

Olivia and Kendra 2

Chosen As Sisters

Unfortunately, this type of incident wasn’t the first of its kind.

It’s actually happened a handful of other times.

I’ve had people say time and time again, “They look like they could be sisters!”

Yes. They are.

For some reason, people tend to be curious about whether my daughters—who have the same forever family—were born into the same birth family.

I get it.

As a transracial family, my husband and I look nothing like our daughters. This tends to make it more difficult to walk through any aisle or go to any park or event or shopping mall without people turning their heads for second glances.

Olivia and Kendra 1

Put these two beauties together, and that’s a double-whammy for googley eyes.

While I understand questions about our family may be purely out of curiosity, I also want to shout from a mountain top:

GENETICS DON’T DEFINE FAMILIES.

GENETICS DON’T DEFINE SISTERS.

My daughters are sisters.

They were chosen to be sisters.

In fact, our youngest daughter’s birth mom told us one of the reasons she chose us is because she wanted her daughter to have a sister close in age.

Our daughters were each born into separate but equally beautiful birth families.

They were each chosen to be part of our forever family.

They don’t share genetics, but they are equally treasured and loved.

Words matter.

Perhaps the part I struggle with the most as my girls’ mom is protecting their little ears from outspoken, curious minds.

They’re listening and learning from people questioning their sisterhood and the integrity of our family.

They are sisters.

We are a family.

My best recommendation: If you see us at the Supermarket—or a family like ours—a simple compliment will do.

“You have a beautiful family,” is perfect.

Oh, and you can tell me my hair doesn’t look like Mufasa’s from the Lion King for bonus points.

Olivia and Kendra

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Shelley Skuster

Shelley is a former award-winning television journalist who traded in suit coats and red lipstick for a messy bun and yoga pants. She's a freelance writer who stays at home with her three daughters who are all ((gasp)) under the age of three and came to her via adoption and birth. She's the woman behind the blog Shelley Writes, and she can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.


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