Let’s face it: it can be daunting thing to consider adopting a sibling group. It is not an easy call to make, but there are some good reasons to take a chance. There has been some solid research done on sibling adoption. For our family, seeing the benefit to the kids made it easier for us to take the leap of faith.
Most of the research is not all that surprising, but it is good to have common sense assumptions backed up by scientific methodology! For instance, research shows that siblings adopted together have few behavioral issues and higher self-esteem. Of course– they are less lonely.
Siblings in general (not only adopted ones) tend to use each other as back-up support. A 1996 study (Marjut Kosonen) found that kids tend to first seek out their mother for help and then turn to an older sibling. Poor dad is in the third seat. The author found that for kids in foster care, their sibling was often their only source of support. It makes sense: A child placed in foster care isn’t going to instantly trust that foster parent and seek them out for help and support.
Other studies have shown that sibling relationships make kids more flexible and adaptable. Kids who enter the foster system have lost their support system, no matter how imperfect it looked to outsiders. Children under this type of stress become vulnerable. Their sibling bonds are a source of strength as well as comfort. It’s analogous to a twisted rope; the strands on their own are strong but will break if another pressure is applied; yet two or three of them twisted together are so much stronger.
So while it can be challenging in some ways to break into that bond siblings have, in the end, the bond may be what makes their adoptive placement successful. When we brought our three little ones into the family, we did have concerns about fitting into the tight-knit bond the older two had. Would it always be “them” and “us” as it clearly was at first? A year and a half later, it’s all “us.” They have incorporated our older girls into their sibling group and vice-versa. The baby was the first to break into both groups!
Yes, there are challenges both logistical and emotional. But a sibling group can definitely be a good choice for all parties.