Editor's Note: Trevor is a senior at Xavier High School in Middletown. I live in Middlefield with my family which, since 2008, has been a foster family through the Department of Children and Families in Connecticut.
Years ago, the idea of a new brother or sister would have seemed illogical. Having a new baby running around my family’s house just did not seem like a real possibility. Since then, however, I have had 14 new siblings.
Granted, not all of them stayed long — some only for a weekend — but all the same, caring for so many children has had a big impact on my life. The obvious change is learning to take care of babies: making bottles, being careful with corners and outlets, and even changing diapers (I held out as long as I could).
I had to move my room downstairs and my brother and I have to be careful what video games we play when our little sister is around. I even had to learn to tolerate the Sprout channel. But some of the changes I could never have expected.
The thing about being a part of afoster family is that you really learn to value time. When you begin taking care of a child, it sets in that you do not know for sure whether they will be there for six days or six months.
You stop worrying about the fact that you are watching Sesame Street when you know a much better show is on, or that you have walked the same circle around your house a million times to quiet a crying baby. All these things stop bothering you because you realize that every moment is special for the fact that it happens, and not necessarily what it consists of.
You begin to appreciate every second spent listening to 12 million different renditions of a century old song for babies because you are never sure how many opportunities there will be. And while every moment is special, there are definitely some moments which are exceptionally so, and which I never would have experienced if my family were not involved in foster care.
The moments which are most profound are those involving my adopted sister, Peyton. We adopted her over a year ago, having cared for her since she was less than a day old. I remember when she came to our home, back when we were only fostering her. I remember how seamlessly she fit into our family dynamic, as if a spot had been anxiously waiting for her arrival.
More so, I remember the day we adopted her. I remember the courtroom, a few minutes of talking with a judge, papers being signed, certificates given, a gavel sounding in the room, pictures. I remember standing there and thinking that, no matter what the adoption papers said, this was nothing new.
Since the day our new sister came home, she was part of our family. While it pales in comparison, I even remember the sub-standard chili dog from some food vendor when we celebrated at Six Flags.
Almost a year later, our sister still fits the family as perfectly as the day she came to us. We have watched her grow, watched her learn to walk, watched (unfortunately) as she learned to run, and all the while she fit the perfect place that had been left available for her arrival. She loves music, and dances the same to One Direction as she does to Nirvana.
She sings along with the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella. She pretends to be a dog, especially when they get fed. She plays guitar with me, and has developed quite a knack for slamming a ukulele on the ground. She discovered the ocean in New Jersey, developed a tiresome habit of jumping into pools, and she has fallen in love with yogurt.
And this whole time, every second has been perfect. She is the little sister that my older sister Spencer always wanted, the baby my mom always wanted, a new potential athlete for my dad to train, and she thinks everything my younger brother Tucker does is comic gold. Like I said, Peyton fills a role in this family without even trying, and that is one of the greatest ways in which my life has ever changed.