Monday, November 2, 2015

Adopting Siblings

The Creating a Family website gives some excellent tips on what to expect when you are adopting siblings. Part of social worker's job is trying to keep siblings together if possible, and this priority of placement is statutory.  However, the child's best interest are paramount. Not all sibling placements are successful and sometimes, it is best for the emotional health of one child for the siblings to be separated. We have worked with sibling groups who have been adopted by one family successfully.  We have also worked with sibling groups who have each been adopted by different families and the adoptive families have done a great job of helping their child grow and change while maintaining the sibling bond with regular visits and communication.

There are unique challenges and blessings of adopting siblings.  For the child, it is comforting to have a family member transition with them into the new placement who already knows them and their history well.  The child is also not the only "new" member of the family.  One of the challenges is that the unhealthy sibling patterns in the former family can be carried over into the new placement. Each child reminds the other of past abuse or neglect and flashbacks can occur. As in many placements of older siblings, professional therapy can make the difference.

The tips you are about to read were taken directly from the Creating a Family website.  If you wish to read the entire article with all the tips they have to share with you we have provided a link.

Tips for Adopting Siblings

  1. Forming attachment with each child in the sibling unit takes effort and individual time with each child.
  2. Lower your expectations on what you will be able to accomplish outside of parenting, for the first 6-12 months post adoption. This is not the time to take on a major home renovation, an extra project at work that requires frequent travel, or a new hobby.
  3. Be up front with your social worker before the adoption about what type of behaviors you cannot handle. Do not be afraid to say you cannot or do not want to handle some behaviors.
  4. Try to plan a fun family activity each week that you and the children will enjoy. There is nothing like having fun together to build the bonds of family love. These activities will also help to blend the children already in the home with the newly adopted siblings. This activity does not have to be expensive and should be something that you genuinely look forward to. See Best Parenting Advice Ever (and it’s not what you think).
  5. If you have children already in the family, be very careful with supervision and limit time alone without parental supervision. You will not know all types of abuse that the children may have been exposed to. 
  6. Recognize that the children will likely grieve what they have lost before they are able to celebrate what they have gained. You may feel that the child is better off with you in your safe and comfortable home, but your child likely will not believe that at first. Spend time before they arrive understanding this grief and recognizing the different ways it may be exhibited. Your social worker should be able to provide training on grief and loss and you will need ongoing support.

Drafted by Brittany Alness, staff member of the Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC.
This blog and the information contained within have been prepared by Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, nor does receipt of it constitute an attorney-client relationship. Viewers should not act upon information found here without seeking legal counsel. All photographs shown on this blog are depictions of clients and are not actual clients of this law firm. Copyright Karen S. Law, 2015.

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