Separating Siblings

Life is messy and stuff happens.  It is sad that siblings grow up never knowing one another.  My dad had 3 half-siblings he never knew.  My mom had 4 half-siblings she never knew.

Parental rights get terminated for a variety of reasons.  In these cases, there are often multiples of siblings who end up torn asunder.

Take a very complicated case.  8 children in 5 different homes.  Each situation with a different perspective on the circumstances.  One of the most worrying is a white grandma with a baby who’s mother and other siblings are from an African-American heritage.  The grandma delayed adopting because she wanted to see how “white” the baby would be.  It doesn’t end there because people who know about these things suggest –  this child is likely going to get darker as they get older and their hair may get kinkier as well.  This grandma has no interest in staying connected to mom, mom’s family, or any of the siblings/adoptive families. She has been pretty standoffish.

One set of 3 yr old twins is being raised by an enlightened adoptive mother who is desperately trying to somehow maintain a connection among all of the siblings and admittedly, there is never going to be a huge amount of interaction among these children until they are mature and then it will be up to them to try and locate one another and build a relationship that basically includes not having grown up with one another in a similar environment.

Two of the siblings remain with their mother in a different state from all of the rest.  One child was adopted by a family that has other children. This family is very open to a relationship.  The adoptive mother of the twins had to track them down herself… because of privacy rules.  This woman’s story proves that if there is the will to do the right thing then a way will open up.

Finally, two of the other siblings were adopted by a couple that has no other children. They are in contact with the adoptive mother of the 3 yr old twins but will be moving out of state this summer.

8 children in 5 homes is not ideal. Other than the 2 siblings that remain with their mother, she is entirely shut out of 3 of the other families. Grandma doesn’t allow contact with the baby and the two other adoptive families never knew her and and are not interested in being in contact with her even though the termination of her parental rights happened before they took placement of the kids.

Some empathy came to this adoptive mom trying to do the right thing from a woman who was one of seven kids total between the two parents.  Not unusual in what is called blended families. She was the only one who was put up for adoption. She has two sisters and a brother on her mother’s side and three brothers on her father’s side.  She admits that “It’s hard to maintain a close sibling relationship with them, even as an adult. We are currently in 5 separate homes.”  None of these children have the same two parents.

Her perspective is this – “I feel like complete understanding of the situation from a younger age would have helped with this, but separate homes is just really hard to get around, especially when it takes a road trip to visit. It’ll require a lot of time to keep them close to one another.”

Life is messy and it is so very sad that children get caught up in the middle of chaos and yet still grow up and must find a way for their own selves if family connections matter to them.


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