It’s the time of year to think about all things adoption – this year the theme is ‘Siblings‘ – encouraging people to think about adopting more than one child. We were not allowed to even think about doing so given my health – a number of chronic issues which are well-controlled, but which it was felt meant I could not cope with more than one child at once. We both agreed so that was the end of discussion.
I do not want Sqk to be an only child so I would like to adopter again but DH is very much of another opinion – partly down to us seeing the issues a good set of friends have had with their elder child after their younger child arrived. So it is an ongoing – well at the moment sidelined till Christmas 2015 – discussion over whether we will adopt a sibling for Sqk. Plus with the drop in placement orders plus increase in recruitment of adopters the chances are that we may have to wait till Sqk is 5 or 6 before we could get a realistic age gap. DH’s real concern is that, thus far, Sqk seems to be in the third of children with no/few issues and he doesn’t think we would be lucky second time round. However he has agreed that if a birth sibling appeared then it would be a simple yes – with possibly going for foster-to-adopt route if we felt it was right for Sqk and the likelihood was that a placement order would be granted.
Going back to NAW2014 – it has been interesting reading a number of blog posts from adopters who have adopted siblings – made me realise that we were correct in our thinking that one at a time was right for us. Blogs from Sally Donovan, Three Pink Diamonds & a Blue Sapphire and Life with Katie have been a real insight. The first two are from the perspective of adopting sibling groups at the same time whereas in the latter one Gem talks about how they adopted a birth sibling later. In talking to other adopters I know online, the term trauma bond comes up frequently which can make it very difficult to parent a sibling group. I know of families where one child has ended up back in care as a Section 20 LAC but sibling(s) have stayed with their parents as it was too disruptive otherwise. This is something that social workers are not always honest about and why a good sibling assessment is really necessary before it is conclusively decided to place a sibling group altogether. I know of circumstances where the eldest child has often acted as parent to the younger child(ren) and it has been decided to place children separately purely to allow that child to be a child again instead of usurping adopters role as parents.
The general principle is to place siblings together, but there are times when it is better to separate them like when there is a trauma bond which can make parenting the children impossible. Also, large sibling groups who may have been removed from birth parents at different times – our aforementioned friends children both come from this situation.
So yes if considering to adopt do think about siblings but also read around a lot and find out as much information as you can about the pitfalls, as well as the joys. This is true of adoption in general – I have educated myself in so many things on our journey – much of which at the moment does not apply to us with Sqk. However, I am a researcher at heart and like to be prepared for the worst while hoping for the best. The advice I always give prospective adopters is do read about adoption & therapeutic parenting – there are a number of blogs online (The Adoption Social is a good place to start). Plus get involved with the community – via twitter, via Adoption UK forums or indeed via other forums (if you want to get opinions from a community where there are people with issues there is Adopters & Foster Carers Support UK). Also, there are books – a good one is Sally Donovan’s No Matter What.
However do not let yourself get disheartened by a lot of the gloom that can surround the online adopters community – like so much we tend to talk about the bad and less about the good. We have found adoption a really positive experience and Sqk is one of the best people to have ever come into our lives. He has wormed his way into everyone’s heart and is cute & adorable – although he has his moments. No regrets about adoption in this family.