Adopting Siblings: the rewards and challenges
Tuesday 1 March 2022
Adopting Siblings: the rewards and challenges
This one is a long one, so I apologise in advance….
We never considered the idea of only adopting one child, we always knew that we wanted to adopt a sibling group. We were aware of some pros and cons to adopting siblings prior to them coming home but we have now added a few of our own! Spoiler Alert: It is still more positive than negative!
Both challenging and rewardinging!
Although our children had shared the same foster-carer for around eight months before they came home, they had been separated earlier. Due to the age of the children, they often appeared as strangers and did not interact with each other, as normal siblings would. This was an added challenge to our first few months as a family. It was almost as though we had to re-introduce them to each other and allow them the time to bond as siblings. This was another reason our ‘bonding bubble’ came in useful.
George, the oldest, was keen to learn how to be a big brother and he focused hard in copying looking after Jennifer and John, he wanted to comfort them when sad or find them their favourite toys. This has grown since he came home and even spent a significant amount of time asking them if he was their brother or sister – much to their frustration! It is amazing to see their bond in action, although we always knew this to be a benefit, seeing it every day makes it more worthwhile – especially when we consider they may have been split up! (Yet another pro; keeping siblings together!)
Challenge (cannot be avoided!)
Sibling Rivalry – this deserves its own blog post! However, I will not bore anyone with details that anyone with a sibling or multiple children will be very familiar with. Our children love each other dearly, John asks repeatedly for Jennifer if he can’t see her, George teaches Jennifer his games and Jennifer loves to read them both stories. When they first arrived home, we were willing the bond to grow and of course with this comes, rivalry. They are not aggressive with each other – although they naturally get frustrated and try to anger one another but they do refuse to share (something that is also age-related) and fight over books, toys or even juice cups! All the usual sibling rivalry is just multiplied by 3! There is nothing we can do about this; it comes with the territory of adopting siblings and also having birth siblings – we just take it day by day.
It is a comfort to us that as they are all full siblings who share the same background experiences, as well as family ties. They will be able to venture into their life story together (if they wish to do so) and whilst we will always be here to support them, knowing they have each other is a definite plus!
We have always thought long-term about how we wanted our family to look in five or ten years’ time. We completed our preparation training and adoption process between June 2019 and March 2020. It gave us insight into areas we had not considered in any depth before such as contact arrangements and support available, but it is mentally and emotionally draining at times. Adopting three children and growing our family in one-step is a bonus as we now do not need to go through the adoption process again to grow our family – it arrived ready-made!
Challenge (shouldn’t be avoided!)
This is something we felt in introductions and that now we work hard to avoid – our children not getting one-on-one time with us, either as mammy and daddy or individually. The guilt is real!
However, we believe we have worked out ways that all our children can spend time with us. For example, on a weekend for some errands ran we will pick a ‘champion’ to come and help us – the children love this! Everyone gets a turn. George attends clubs that we take him to, so he has time with his own friends as well as us. Story time before bed and discussing our day, George loves a good chat! Spending time with the first one awake or playing specific games with one child. Walking the dog can be a family trip or one-on-one time with someone who needs it.
We also love to spend time as a family but the individual time for the children is important! I have labelled this a ‘challenge’ as it is tough to manage but essential!
When managing contact with the birth family (also needs its own blog post!) as our children all share the same family (as in we only adopted once, rather than from several families), we have the benefit of not having to manage the contact needs and arrangements of more than one birth family. That is not to discourage from adopting children from different families at all, but just to highlight another benefit of adopting siblings that we considered.
Thank you for sticking with me, it was a long one but hopefully it has highlighted our experiences of adopting siblings and the added pressures of having three children! As I stated earlier, it is more positive than negative and that is a huge pro point!!!
If you think you could adopt siblings, we would love to hear from you. Contact us on 01642 526400 or request a call back below.