Tuesday 24 August 2010

Archived Post 2010 - Openess in Adoption from Foster Care with Siblings

"Here come my brothers!" E shouted with excitement as Randall and Kevin walked up the hill toward him.
" Let's go play in the fort" E exclaimed again and off the 3 of them ran to play together chattering away to one another, all of them equally thrilled to be together. To an outsider they look like any other sibling group but they are not like any other group of siblings because they are not growing up in the same home.

E is Kevin and Randall's younger biological sibling. He was not adopted by us but by a family with whom he was placed as an infant. Kevin and Randall  also lived with this family for a time but Kevin and Randall  are a handful ( or 6) and the 3 of them together was not manageable. When we first met the boys we did not understand what the problem was, then we go to know them and now Jack says " Mother Teresa and Ghandi could not of handled the 3 of them together." He is right, they are a handful.

When they boys file was  presented to us we were asked to be open to remaining in contact with the foster family who had adopted their brother and the family that had their older sister as well. We agreed not really knowing what that would mean or how it might work out.

We thought at the time ( and still do) that the more people that our children have in their lives who love them the better off they would be. We were open to having relationships with their siblings families, we had no idea what that would mean but we were open to it.

When you adopt children from foster care there are less options for open adoptions than there are when you adopt children privately as infants. Kids who are in foster care are usually there because there first parents where unable to meet there needs and in some cases where the perpetrators of abuse. It is hard to know what the right choice to make is in regards in birth family access is, there is no easy answer.

Our kids have no access to their birth mother, we send her cards and photos twice a year and we talk about of her often. Kevin is moving forward and understands why that is the case,Randall does not. It is further complicated for our children as they are part of a sibling group, they have an older sister ( T.) still in care, their brother (E.) and a younger sister who still lives their birth mom. Their older sister has visits with their birth mom while the 3 boys do not and have not seen her in over 2 years. She also sees their younger sister and this is hard for the boys as they do not have relationship with her at all.

We work hard to get all 4 siblings together when we can but it is hard given that T is almost 13 and not in a family situation where developing new relationships is easy. It is a much different story with their little brothers family though, we have become family to one another through our children's shared biology. They parented my sons for over a year before me and although the boys moved on I am thrilled that we have become such great friends.

I can only speak from personal experience in regards to my own kids but I know that having an open relationship with their siblings makes their lives richer and mine too. I have come to love T,  E and his parents and I am thankful that they are interested in having the boys remain a part of their sons life because we are richer for having them all in ours.

If you adopt from foster care do not be afraid to include your children's birth family when possible, it can be a blessing. .