Today’s challenging situation – (not my challenging situation). When you adopt from foster care, you should do so KNOWING that you have no control over the existence of potential future siblings. Be ready to assume that responsibility as well. It’s too important keeping siblings together not to prioritize that.
The situation – My adopted daughters are 9 and 10 (been with us since they were baby & toddler), I’ve now been contacted by social services about a 2yr old brother who has taken into care now too and needs an adoptive home. They’re contacting us first in the hope there’s an option for keeping the siblings together. I’m having head & heart conflict about this.
Head says it’s a lot (too much?) to take on: I’m single / co-parenting with ex. The years the kids were younger were hard at times. I’m now bit more on top of life, although it’s still challenging. I’m sure the future teenage years & trauma still won’t be easy in the future. Adding a kid who has had 2 years in a home with neglect and trauma plus moving away from everything he knows . . . a little person in general would be hard work. Both with time & energy but money too.
Heart says I need to think about it more: Thinking of the other side, including things I’ve learned about the life experiences of adoptees, I know that allowing him to grow up with his sisters is important (the birth family is not an option, it’s not a safe situation). I know more about trauma now than when I adopted his sisters, so would be able support him. I know letting the girls be able to grow up with & taking care of their brother could be a huge benefit to them too.
If he is placed with another family, I will do all I can to encourage him to have a relationship with my girls – social services here are quite good nowadays supporting that & expecting adopted families to engage – my girls already have contact with some other members of their birth family. It’s so important and I know it would benefit him too.
One response – The spacing is a bit much, but I’m close to my brother who is 10y younger than me, and the sibling my husband is closest to is 8y younger than him. The older ones can help a lot. It is healing to help with a younger sibling. It’ll be extremely beneficial for his life to grow up with the genetic mirrors of his siblings. Better for him, better for them, maybe challenging for you.
Plus a word of caution – you have to know your limits as a mom. If you intuitively know you’d be taking on too much, don’t do it. It’ll build resentment towards the child, and trust me, THEY KNOW.
I know from my own “reunion” attempts with genetic relatives this is true. One person shared – I grew up as an only child. I have five siblings. One of my greatest sadnesses is I always wanted siblings. Now I have them and it’s not easy to have the relationships siblings should have with each other. So much time was lost…. And I would add – there is no getting those lost shared life experiences back (in my case decades of life experiences not shared).
Keeping siblings together is so important. In my mind, you accepted their life (sisters) when you adopted them. Your ships are now tied together. Their bio brother, while not part of the original “agreement”, is now part of their family and therefore, part of yours. I would take the sibling and make it work, even though I recognize the challenges you mentioned.
An adoptee notes – A situation where I could have been with siblings would have been better – even in my chaotic adoptive home. On that note, there could be great relief for the sisters with their brother included. I agree that there’s limits for caregivers, however this isn’t a choice of whether or not the girls will get a puppy… this is another human being who is biologically tied.