One of the great bonuses about an open adoption is the opportunity our kids have to forge relationships with their biological siblings. Sometimes the two families live close enough to have regular time together, but for many families in the adoption triad, the visit are not nearly as often as we would like. Here are some great ideas to keep the lines of communication open between sibs!
- Schedule regular Skype or FaceTime visits with not only birth parents, but siblings, too. If all parties are onboard, you can have a call that is just sisters, or only brothers and keep the parents out of the chat, even. Make it happen more often than a special event.
- If you visit the area where the siblings live, treat them like you do cousins or other family members you are there to visit—invite them along to the museums, parks, dinners and other outings. Set the tone early that “family is family” and make sure to include everyone.
- Consider putting together “sibling boxes” filled with self-addressed, stamped envelopes and postcards. Writing letters is much easier if all of the essentials are ready to go ahead of time. Include a bunch of questions that your child wants answers to—like favorite movies, foods and pastimes.
- Make sure that you have pictures of your child and her siblings displayed in your home. Even if they can’t get together often, make their faces a part of your daily life.
- Make a Sibling Club—let the kids decide on a book to read and discuss together, or a specific craft to learn and share. Schedule a FaceTime conference to talk about what they did and be prepared to be amazed at the similarities from miles away.
- For older kids, consider using social sites like Musical.ly or Snapchat with the caveat the accounts are just for the sibs to share videos and snaps. Another option for older kids is a private Facebook group where they can chat and message each other.
- Encourage your child to share favorites with their sisters and brothers—if you find something that she loves, chances are her siblings may love it too.
As with all things adoption-related, remember that we have to be flexible and open to trying new things if we want our kids to have the best of all worlds—what are things that you have done to help your children bond with their first family?