My little brother turned 17 this past Sunday. Being the sentimental junkie that I am, it got me reminiscing about our childhood together and I got this urge to dig through what little "nostalgia" belongings I had salvaged in the move to Dundalk.
I found all sorts of random pictures - they were always just pictures of just me and Ads. For a while there, it was just me and him - our older brother being ten years my senior and fifteen years his - we hardly ever saw him but for brief moments at the end of the day or on weekends.
Ads and I are kindred spirits. From the very day that I saw his picture in the package that my parents brought home from the adoption agency, I knew that that was to be my new baby brother. I just had a feeling.
That feeling transpired all throughout the waiting process. And then finally, on that fateful night at BWI, my baby brother arrived.
There had been a lot of commotion about Ads' arrival. (A precursor for the amount of attention that my brother would eventually draw to himself and all the underlining political issues that he stood for at a very young age.) I was six at the time of his arrival, and although I don't remember the exact details, I remember that the flight for my brother was being delayed for government reasons - some sort of mix-up or delay in processing his adoption paperwork. And although normally it would be a minor technicality that the flight would be delayed - this time it was much more urgent. Ads had been diagnosed by the medical doctors with acute hydrocelphalus. Somehow or other it had missed the attentions of the Korean doctors at the orphanage, they had said. Anyone who knows the story of an adoptee knows better. Regardless of how it went undetected, it did, and the water pressure on my baby brother's brain had worsened. No matter what - his flight could not get delayed tonight, otherwise he might not live.
It was suggested that my parents call some superintendant or delegate in our district. And so they did.
At the age of 13 months - my little brother got his first stint on television. He was the top story in the 6 o' clock local news report on WJZ 13.
The delegate that my parents had called was inspired by my little brother - and soon pulled the necessary strings to insure his arrival into BWI. The wait was excrutiating for everyone, and for me, at age six, it was more nerve-racking than anything. I was wearing my very best purple dress with the frilly lace (Thanks to the 80's dressmakers of children's clothes) and my black patent shoes.
Person after person passed through the door of the airport gate - but none of them were Adam. The anticipation was overwhelming, and became increasingly so as the cameras kept rolling and the bright light from the video camera and production crew was making everyone sweat.
After at least 100 or so people walked through, all of a sudden there were none. I remember hearing the cameraman whisper behind his lens, "Maybe the kid never came after all."
Even at my young age, I felt my heart stop and I just held my breath. Everyone squinted their eyes, peering down the long gate way to see if there was a view of any other life form coming off that plane. There had to be. There just had to be.
And then finally, there appeared to be the movement of two wheels maneuvering along the metal gateway, and then two feet, legs...and the image of a tiny boy in a stroller, clinging onto his teething rattle and staring with wide-open eyes.
Adam was finally home.
Of course there were tears, and an embrace of his foster mother who had taken the journey with him, and then of him. Oh yes, hugs and kisses all over the place on this precious little kid.
But it was short lived. At the first sight of his head, my mother gasped, and started to cry out of fear. My brother's forehead was so enlarged from fluid that he was on the brink of explosion.
No sooner than we had greeted the new edition to our family did we have to rush him off to Johns Hopkins to have Dr. Carson place a shunt in his brain.
My little brother's first ten hours into the U.S., he was introduced to his new family, placed under heavy sedition and anesthetics and operated on for four hours. Welcome to the U.S.A.
But it was all for well and good. I have to say that if there is anyone I admire more out of my family, or anyone that I feel tremendously close to - it would be Ads. We are, after all, kindred spirits. No matter how many twists and turns I have made in my life, or mistakes I have fallen from - I know that my brother loves me. And I would give my life for him, in an instant.
So happy birthday, lil Bro! I love you so much. You have been a never-ending source of strength for me over the years whether you knew it or not.