Mallorie Jayne Montgomery

Mallorie Jayne Montgomery became my sister on January 6, 1994. I was in the fourth grade at the time and having a foster sister sounded like an excellent idea. After all, I loved my little sister, Amy, and an opportunity for another sister to love presented itself. I am not going to say that we always got along. We certainly tried, though. She was six years old and Amy was four. The majority of the problems would be between the two of them, rather than involving me. The thing was, she belonged. Her blond hair matched my sister’s and mine. No one who did not know otherwise would have guessed that she was not blood related to us.

Mallorie taught me a valuable lesson that I will never forget. The world is not made up of black and white. There are shades of gray. Mallorie’s parents had neglected her and her five siblings, yet she still loved them! At first I could not understand, I’m still not sure that I do. My parents have always taken excellent care of me. They’ve always made sure I’ve had what I needed and some of what I wanted. For Mallorie, though, there was nothing. Nothing is a hard word to comprehend for someone who comes from a loving family. As I slowly began to understand Mallorie, I wanted to be sure she understood how it felt to be loved for no reason at all.

December 29, 1995 was the day that Mallorie left us. The day after I learned she was leaving, I was talking to an acquaintance and a friend. The acquaintance asked how many sisters I had and I did not hesitate to respond, “Two.” My friend, Jackie, said, “No, Mallorie’s not your real sister.” Jackie was wrong, though. Mallorie was my real sister and always will be. Mallorie was with us for nearly two years. Because we were a short-term foster care family, Mallorie should not have been with us for more than six months. However, it was easy for her to get lost in the system. I do not regret for a minute that she stayed for so long, because by the time she left she was my sister. Somewhere between her arrival on my doorstep and her departure that left me in tears (hidden, though, until she was gone) I had learned to love Mallorie, not as someone who needs my help, but as Mallorie.

I agree that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. The world is not perfect, nor will it ever be. There is no line between black and white. Through Mallorie, I learned that the only way to get through the world is by working together. I’ve only seen Mallorie once since she left, when she was formally adopted, but I know I will again. She’s my sister. There’s nothing closer than a bond between sisters…