Monday 16 October 2017

Adoption Week: Brothers, Sisters, Family.

During the assessment process for adoption we were told that sibling groups are harder to place than single children. It makes sense really. If you have no children to start with taking on 3 or 4 of them, possibly all different ages and stages and with differing needs can be a daunting prospect. I know that when we saw the profile for a group of three children including twins under two and a toddler sibling it felt like an impossible ask. The oldest child already presented with special needs and the younger ones had yet to be assessed. I wasn't sure I could manage so many children at once and I worried that if all of them had additional needs it would be a struggle to give them all the support they needed. 

Not all sibling groups can be placed together. We also saw a profile for a group of 4 children who had 4 other siblings. The 8 children ranged in age from 2 to 10 years old. The two groups of 4 were being fostered close to each other and were being kept in contact with each other. It was anticipated that they would continue to see each other post adoption and that they would remain in contact in the long term. The foster carers were actually related so it worked well. 

In yet another case there were sisters who were being fostered together and who were to be placed for adoption together. One was a white child, the other was dual heritage. Considering how adamant the social workers seemed to be that we had to be an exact match to the ethnicity of the children we wanted to be matched with I was interested to see how they would choose to match these girls with a forever family.

Yet another pair of brothers were living together in foster care and were still seeing their birth mother. The boys had different fathers and the second one was a stark reminder of the difficult relationship that he was born into. The mother did not want anything to do with him and it made him a very anxious child. 

We had made the decision to adopt two children because we knew that multiple children wait longer and that it is more difficult to place children as they grow older. It was our decision to offer a home to siblings, but it was the decision of the social workers to not choose us. I understand now that it was for the best. Our road to being parents was different from what we expected. It wasn't what we had planned for, but it was just right for us anyway. 

I hope those children all found forever families to care for them. That being in a group did not put off potential parents. If it's possible to have a great outcome I really want for those children to have had that. I know that when I look at my birth son and adopted son I see my children. My family. These boys are my life, my soul, my very heart. I hope that the children who did not come to us are loved as fiercely as my children are. 

It's National Adoption Week and this year the theme is sibling groups. There are still over 2000 children waiting to be adopted. 61% of these children are in sibling groups which is why this year the emphasis on helping to find forever families for some of the brothers and sisters who desperately need them.

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