Siblings Deserve to Be Together

In the midst of loss, they need each other.

Sonia Billadeau June 06, 2014
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Siblings deserve to be adopted together. They’ve already experienced the loss of their home, probably their school, their friends, their extended family, their pets, and their parents. None of their loss has been their fault. Too often when siblings come into foster care they are separated and placed in different foster homes—sometimes never to be reunited for permanency.

Most states have plans in place to try to keep siblings together. However, they also have other policies and procedures that sometimes get in the way of keeping them together. There are limits to the number of children who can be placed in one home. One or more children in a sibling group may have special needs and often families that are approved to take special needs children are limited in the number of children for whom they can care. Sometimes, unfortunately, foster parents may only want the younger children. If a family can’t be found to take the entire sibling group, separation takes place.

As the adoptive mother of two sibling groups I feel very strongly about the importance of keeping siblings together. My two oldest children have three siblings who were adopted into different homes. I have always been sad for them that they aren’t together. There were unavoidable reasons for the sibling separations when adoption occurred. It still breaks my heart. My seven youngest children are biological siblings. Some social workers within our agency were opposed to our adoptions, saying that our family was just too large. Luckily, others advocated heavily for our children. Our family and I will always be grateful for them.

I wonder if social workers who remove children from their families of origin, and those who make placement decisions (whether for foster care or adoption), really understand the incredible power they have over the lives of children and families. I hope that somewhere in their collegiate experience they are taught to pause and reflect upon that power, and to check themselves on a daily basis to make sure that they remember that each client (birth parent, child, foster parent, adoptive parent) is a unique individual. An individual whose life will be forever altered by the decisions that are made. I hope that when siblings are separated–never to be reunited under the same roof–the social worker has made sure that it truly is necessary.

Siblings DESERVE to be adopted together.

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Sonia Billadeau


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