I know the topic of putting/keeping siblings together can be a controversial one here and I appreciate that each case is unique and should be treated as such. That being said, I am dismayed how often I hear FPs dismiss or minimize their FKs' connections to siblings (emotionally understandable because it often involves moving a child(ren) from said FPs' homes) and wanted to share this: Ten Myths and Realties of Sibling Adoptions[URL="http://www.adoptuskids.org/_assets/files/NRCRRFAP/resources/ten-myths-and-realities-of-sibling-adoptions.pdf"]http://www.adoptuskids.org/_assets/files/NRCRRFAP/resources/ten-myths-and-realities-of-sibling-adoptions.pdf[/URL]Pumpkin has two half-brothers that she has grown up with, two half-brothers from her BF with whom she has a connection, and four others she considers "brothers" due to their relation to her Biological-brothers (their half-brothers on their other side, etc.). P has never lived with 6 of those "brothers" (seeing them at most twice a year for the past 5) and yet is bonded emotionally to every single one. I may not understand it but I respect it.
I fully support siblings being together. We have fought for the past 15 months to have our AD's sisters placed with us. It is not going to happen. We are devastated that they will most likely remain with their current FP and that we have many many years of dealing with them in order for our daughter to see her full Biological siblings. On a happy note for those who have been following our story, we were invited to our AD's sister's birthday party (and went) AND the FPs brought the girls over to the Biological grandparents' house for a family gathering today. They (the FPs) are awful, overbearing, awkward and annoying but they are trying to do the right thing! Or they are trying to do the right thing at the final hour so the judge rules in their favor. I really hope they are just learning how important the girl's Biological family is to them and that they will continue this contact if they are awarded guardianship of the girls.
Our 3 as have an older brother who had already been adopted when they came into care. Only the oldest had ever lived with him and that wasnt since he was 2. Those brothers have a bond though. They only see each other a couple times a year but there is definitely a connection. Our. Stbas has three siblings. They were all in different foster homes when he was placed at 4 months. We had his sister who is a year and a half older then him for about a year and a half. We had to have her moved because of behaviors and trying to hurt him. What we found out when she left is that they were holding each other back and they started moving forward when separated. That was 7 years ago and those two still have such a connection. He isnt really connected to his other siblings or his Biological parents but he cant wait to see his sister. Recently he spent a night in respite with his sisters foster family and even though it was only one night they had the same effect where they both seemed to go backwards a little. We intend to keep them in contact after the adoptions are finalized but dont think it would be in their best interest at this point to live together.
I totally agree siblings should be kept together at all costs. That being said, I am going through this right now since I have been matched with a 12yo boy, who I am meeting soon, but he will be separated from his sister because it's just not healthy for them to be in the same household. When they are together their behaviors escalate to the point it's unmanageable and has already caused two disruptions of very experienced families. I am completely open to contact between him and his sister and will do everything to keep them in touch, but I just really hope that his sister's adoptive family feels the same way. Oh and if the case workers would let me I would take both of them, but they don't feel that is a good idea after the two disruptions.
In theory, I fully support siblings being together. But it also needs to be analyzed on a case by case basis. I also think that sometimes the solution isn't a kinship versus foster home issue - we need to be more creative and flexible about creating families that best meet the needs of children. When our son's younger brother went into foster care DCF didn't bother to call us. When we found out about it four months later, we called and asked for visits. He had been placed with a wonderful foster mom and was heading toward R/U with his father (not my son's father). It didn't make sense to move him to us for the remainder of his time in foster care. He knew his foster mom before he went into care and he was well settled in her home. She was willing to have a relationship with the bfather and we are not. She was the better placement for him, even though we adopted his brother. So we became friends and got the boys together as often as we could. He went back to his father and a few months later went back into foster care - back with the same foster mom. She is wonderful with him. He adores her. They have a nice home and a great life. We are hoping that she will be able to adopt this time. We will always keep the boys in touch. We are open with the boys about their relationship. We have an open adoption with the boys' bmom and have started planning joint visits so that she can see the two boys together.
By no means did I bypass the remainder of your post - in fact I began by acknowledging your support of keeping siblings together. I'm sorry if you were upset but I stand by my clarification. The entire reason behind my starting this thread was to encourage people to read the AdoptUSKids fact sheet and re-think their assumptions about sibling adoption. Many people think that siblings cannot be kept together when there is conflict in the relationship when the research shows differently. As such, I felt the word "often" in your post was - unintentionally - feeding in to those assumptions. It was a point of clarification for the thread and not an attack on you.
Well the word "often" is an opinion & my idea of often may not be the same as yours. Sorry you bypassed the whole entire post to take issue with ONE word that's subject to interpretation.
My son was the youngest of a sibling group of 8 when it became necessary to remove them from their home. We live on an island in a small community with few active foster homes and it was next to impossible to place all the children in one home. If they had been placed outside of this community it would have required weekly ferry trips in order to maintain family visits and contact with siblings. Behavioral issues, some very intense, also complicated things. Fortunately DCF was able to recruit enough separate homes to accomodate each child, including 2 older siblings who were placed with their respective fathers. Over the course of the case several of the children were moved from one home to another until all of them were settled in stable placements. By the time all efforts to RU had been exhausted and the plan became adoption, (over five years later) all of the children were solidly bonded with their respective foster families and it would have been unthinkable to remove them from those families in order to place them together in one adoptive home. It would have also meant uprooting them from a community that had really come together to support them and their foster families. All of the children have been adopted by their foster families, and we all do the best we can to help them maintain their connections to each other. The fact that we do live in a small community does make that a lot easier. Everyone lives within a 10 to 15 mile radius of one another. We don't really have a formal arrangement for visiting each other, but we do make an effort to keep in touch and get together for many different reasons. My son attends the same school as two of his siblings. He has been on the same sports teams with others. The children call each other regularly and spend time at each others' homes. While I wish that they could have all stayed together in one home, I believe that for this group of children, this was the next best thing. Theoretically, keeping siblings together should definitely be a priority, but in practice there are a lot of very complicated factors that also need to be considered in this very imperfect system.
I was surprised at how little concern our county showed for keeping siblings together. The twins came from a large sibling group (all full siblings, all close in age and all very young), they separated them all in pairs. Now Biological-mom is pregnant again and the twins will be about 10 months old when the baby is born. The baby will most likely go into care immediately and the CW seemed shocked when I asked if they would try to keep the babies together. She said it probably wouldn't happen unless we keep the twins and are open to the new baby.
I haven't read all of the replies yet, but just wanted to chime in. I am very passionate about siblings staying together. Siblings make us part of who we are. There is a connection/bond with siblings that we will never have with anyone else in our lives. I lost my younger brother last year. He was 23. I lost a part of myself. I am forever changed. And if you talk to siblings who have lost their sibling, they will tell you the same. It is earth shattering, life altering. I think siblings should be kept together at all costs. Half siblings, adopted siblings, full siblings, doesn't matter. A sibling is a sibling and they need to be together.
Yes, in an ideal world there would be an appropriate foster home open and ready to take on any sibling group of any size from the very beginning of placement. And then when and if the group is freed for adoption that home or another with the same capabilities would be ready to adopt the whole group. However, we all know that this is often not possible, especially in the case of larger sibling groups. I don't really know what the answer is. When a group of siblings needs placement, often DCF is scrambling just to find spaces, nevermind the ideal situation. At some point it becomes just as traumatizing to move siblings from families where they have become bonded for the sake of putting the group back together. Not saying its not possible, but in reality it definitely can become much more complicated and difficult to balance all the variables.
We're in this because we want a larger sibling group - we've been offered four groups of five (sometimes I wonder if anyone in our county has groups of any other size). One was split before we were considered because someone wanted to adopt just one of them, in one case only one child was removed, we accepted one group but they couldn't stay with us (two kids were allergic to our pets) and one we were out of town. Group #3 actually went to the only other home in our area that can take groups that large, and is there now. We're the only home in our county that will take sibling groups of more than 3 - so we know that if the kids don't come to us, they'll be split. There just aren't a lot of options for bigger groups - even though there should be. Honestly, we have a huge house, we're very easy going and we're experienced with special needs, and even I find going from four kids to 10 (we had five plus our single placement) a wee bit overwhelming ;-). But yes, more people should consider it.
I think the issues of siblings is a little more complex than the article would suggest...and more than we like to admit. Siblings should be kept together in an ideal world. The problem is that the kids in care aren't coming from an ideal world. But since siblings should be "kept together" siblings only get separated when issues have escalated past the point of realistically being addressed, then the kids end up being adopted separately. I wish our focus would change in two ways. One, I wish we put the needs of the individual child ahead of the "group". Meaning that once its realized there is a problem the children are placed in a foster care placement that can address the individual child's need. Then once that individual child has been stablized bring the sibling group back together. So that they have the skills to live together without killing each other. In my experience, keep the children together at all costs, ends when one child stabs another or in some other way causes permenant harm. To me, that is too late--especially when the issues were already apparent. I would rather children spend 6 months to a year separate, then get to live a lifetime together. Also, it would require foster parents to look at fostering as being a way to meet the needs of children and not as a means to aquire children for adoption.
I know the topic of putting/keeping siblings together can be a controversial one here and I appreciate that each case is unique and should be treated as such. That being said, I am dismayed how often I hear FPs dismiss or minimize their FKs' connections to siblings (emotionally understandable because it often involves moving a child(ren) from said FPs' homes) and wanted to share this: Ten Myths and Realties of Sibling Adoptions
We were told that my adopted children no longer had any "birth" siblings (other than each other) and that the county/state had no obligation to recognize birth relationships after adoption. Of course that changes, when the children turn 18, then they can get assistance to look for their birthfamilies because those connections are important. (Both statements told to me by the same person, love the consistency.)
I would agree that the fact sheet is pretty basic. I do think there is significant evidence behind the "myths" and "facts" they present, however, as evidenced by the resource list of studies on the final page of the pdf.
I think the issues of siblings is a little more complex than the article would suggest...and more than we like to admit.