About Derek de Witt

The biological son of Margaret and Tom, Derek grew up with Nelson/Roberto in the Boston area. He has also spent a lot of time in Central America learning Spanish and studying sea turtles. He has been a big help as a translator for the family.

RIP Senator Ted Kennedy – by Derek

This past week, on August 25th (a day with some significance for us to begin with) the world lost a great man, Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. Others have already given much more fitting eulogies to his accomplishments, but I wanted to put into words my gratitude for what he did for our family.

My brother’s adoption was certainly not normal. The beginning was a very rushed, last minute affair. In order for my parents to go to Honduras to adopt him, they needed their fingerprints cleared by the FBI. That process normally would take weeks (weeks that they didn’t have I might add), but Senator Kennedy pulled some strings and it got done in a few days.

The act in and of itself may not have meant much to the Senator, just helping out his constituents, something he did on a daily basis for over 45 years. But for all of us it means a great deal. Without it, the events that have been detailed in these posts could not have been possible.

Thank you Senator Kennedy for everything you have done for us and others. You will be missed.


Derek’s First Post

Okay, so Nelson/Roberto has been getting on my case to actually contribute here. I promised I would in January, but then I got into my last semester of college and things were crazy and hectic. But I digress. For those who don’t know me, my name is Derek, and I am Nelson’s brother. My biological parents are his adoptive parents. I was born on May 30, 1985, two years to the day after my parents took him from the orphanage in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

For this post I’ll deal with the beginning, at least the beginning for me. Obviously I knew from early on that Nelson was ‘different’ and my parents explained to him and I as best they could about who he was and what they knew, which wasn’t much. At that age, it doesn’t really matter. Family is family. Nelson was and is my brother in every meaning of the word. He has always looked out for me and I knew that he cared. We were very close, even though he was four years older than me.

My brother has already written about the night when he found out that he had family looking for him, so I won’t repeat the basic events. I don’t remember any other time, before or since, that my parents sounded so serious when they mentioned that they needed to talk with us after dinner. Right now I’m sitting no more than thirty feet from where I was that night, and I can still remember the look on my their faces and on my brother’s. Obviously, when you hear those words as a kid, you think about divorce and my parents were quick to explain that that was not the reason for this talk. In hindsight, Nelson is right to say that it didn’t make sense, but as I will reiterate later, the first thoughts of a 12 year-old on anything are not always rational.

As they explained the situation, I probably must have turned as white as a sheet, which is impressive for me considering my normal pallor. My first thought was that now that Nelson’s real family had found him, they would want him to live with them and I would never see him again. Looking back, it sounds silly, but I really felt scared for a bit that I would lose my brother forever.

Pretty soon, it will have been ten years since that night and instead of losing a brother, I’ve gained an entire second family. I can understand the apprehension that somebody might feel in this situation. I experienced a lot of new things and it wasn’t always easy, but I’m glad now that it happened. Everyone has been so welcoming, from the very first letters that our parents read to us that night through all of the visits and the other correspondence I have never once felt like an outsider, always like a member of the family. That’s enough for now, I’ll relate some of my other thoughts later.