Three ‘bruvvers’ who love each other



Erie, Pennsylvania, a tiny baby sleeps in his crib. In New London, Wisconsin, a small toddler dances to music. And in Lock Haven, my son plays with his action figures as I write my column.

They have a connection, these three boys. They are brothers.

My son is adopted. He was born in July of 2014, and his birth mother, Brittney, gave him up for adoption. We got the call at the end of June, and drove down to New Orleans to pick the little guy up. He was about 14 hours old when I first held him. My little boy, Paul Matthew, now 3 years old.

November, by the way, is National Adoption Month. As I have participated extensively in adoption, and I like the attention, it seems like a good time to write about my experiences. But this one is special — anyone who reads this column gets three for the price of one.

Paul was just over 1 year old when the adoption agency called us up. (We used American Adoptions, by the way, and if you know anyone who is adopting, I highly recommend them.) In November of 2015, Brittney had given birth again — Paul had a little brother.

I will admit, my first thought was something along the lines of “Are they going to offer us another kid?!” But no, he had already been adopted into a nice family in Wisconsin. His name is Sully, and the agency wanted to ask us if we’d like contact with the family.

I don’t know how you could say no to that. I mean, I get it that some people would. I just don’t understand how; I couldn’t say no. So my wife and I got in touch with little Sully and his parents, Nicole and Tony.

Nicole and Tony are wonderful people. We traded photos, and Paul and Sully look very much alike. I was surprised to see just how close in appearance these two were.

I was also surprised when, in late 2016, we got the call — there was a third brother. He’d also been adopted into a family, this one in Pennsylvania. His name was Isaac.

Isaac’s parents, Jen and Travis, also wanted contact. We now have a Facebook group, created by Jen, where we communicate and trade photos. It’s called “Our Boys.” (I wanted “The New Orleans Three” but I was outvoted.) And it’s been wonderful, a great experience getting to know this new, strange extended family that we have.

Isaac’s adoption was finalized in court in Bellefonte on July Third. We were invited to be there. We got to meet Isaac and his family, and they all got to see Paul. Paul loves his little brother; he held Isaac, hugging and kissing him. Paul is delighted to have a baby brother, at the time 6 months old.

“Dis my little bruvver!” he declared proudly while holding Isaac.

A month later, we took a vacation to Wisconsin and met Sully. Sully, almost 2, is like a smaller twin of Paul. The two of them look and act in very similar ways. Paul and Sully played on the swings and the slide together, and hugged each other, and had a great time. During lunch, at one point, when Paul left the room, Sully instantly began to cry — he didn’t want his big brother to leave.

When we got home, I printed out a page with photos of Sully and Isaac, had it laminated, and hung it on Paul’s bedroom door. He was thrilled when he saw it. “It a picture of my bruvvers! Come see, Daddy! Come see!” He carried it around for hours.

It’s been a wonderful experience, more than I had expected. I’ve loved getting to know this weird extended family. I thought I was just adopting a child, but it’s turned into so much more.

I was thinking about it, while Paul and Sully played together. It’s a very special moment, a moment that most biological families don’t get. The day when you met the other family, the day when the two siblings first saw each other.

Everyone agrees that the next step is to get all three of the boys together. We’re discussing a camping trip about halfway between our homes sometime next summer. We all travel to a place in Indiana maybe, and spend a weekend. Get to know each other, and enjoy our time together. We’ll gather, and let the boys play, let them talk… Let them be brothers.


Lou Bernard is a Lock Haven resident with a keen interest in the history of this area. He is adult services coordinator at Ross Library and may be reached at or 570-748-3321.