What to Know about Sibling Placement in Foster Care and Adoption
If you have siblings, you know that even on the days you can’t stand each other, they’re still some of the most important people in your life. For children in foster care, this is especially true.
According to AdoptUSKids, approximately two-thirds of children in U.S. foster care have a sibling who is also in care. That’s a lot of siblings who deserve to grow up together.
These kids have been involuntarily removed from everything that’s familiar — their biological parents, old friends, their schools, their homes and belongings; often, their only connection to their original family is their siblings.
So, you can understand why trying to keep siblings together in foster care is so important. However, adopting a sibling group from foster care is not always the first choice for people who are considering adding to their families. Adopting sibling groups from foster care certainly isn’t right for everyone, but for those who are willing and able, it can be an incredible way to expand your family.
When scrolling through profiles of children waiting to be adopted, you’ll likely see many children who are part of a sibling set, and must be adopted together. Sibling groups wait much longer to be adopted than other children, so they’re classified as “special needs,” although most of these children are in good health and many of them are only in groups of two or three.
Here, learn more about siblings in adoption and foster care, the importance of keeping them together, and how you can benefit by welcoming a sibling group into your family.
The Challenges and Benefits of Adopting Siblings from Foster Care
Although there is a great need for permanent homes for siblings in foster care and adoption, there aren’t many parents lining up to adopt these children. Why?
- Not everyone has the space, funds, resources or time to raise multiple children to adulthood and beyond.
- Adopting just one child from foster care takes a lot of time, patience and love to work through trauma and create strong bonds and attachments, so sibling groups multiply that effort.
- Each child will have their own needs and reactions to the adoption, will develop differently and will bond with their new parents at their own paces, so it requires individual focus on each child.
However, for the parents who are able to open their hearts and homes to multiple children, there are some unique rewards to adopting a sibling group from foster care, like…
- Built-in company, playmates and someday, babysitters for your children — like most families with siblings.
- A shorter wait time to be “matched” with children.
- An instant, full-fledged family.
- More children to love, and to be loved by!
The benefits for the children who are adopted together include…
- The ability to grow up together and share life-long bonds, and never have ‘missing pieces’ in their hearts or wonder about what happened to the people who were most important to them.
- Feeling more secure in their new homes, as they’ll have familiar loved ones to comfort them and help them bond with new parents more quickly.
- The pre-existing biological bonds, which are a powerful source of peace to newly adopted children, in addition to the stability and familiarity of having one another to lean on.
- More people in their new family who love them, and to whom they can give love!
Again, adopting siblings from foster care is not going to be the right path for everyone, nor is it logistically possible for every hopeful parent. But it offers a lot of unique rewards, which will likely outweigh the struggles.
How to Prepare When Adopting Sibling Sets in Foster Care
Preparing to bring home multiple children of varying ages, genders and interests can be a little trickier than preparing for just one child. However, with the guidance of your foster care professional and advice from other parents who have chosen this path, it can absolutely be done! You’ll need to:
- Continue to educate yourself about meeting the unique needs of a children adopted through foster care, especially older children in sibling sets.
- Meet your state’s requirements to foster-to-adopt or adopt siblings, and complete their screening processes.
- If applicable, talk to your other children and family members about the potential new additions.
- Equip your home to handle the needs of each new child, choose schools and a pediatrician, find local resources to help you parent, etc.
Getting ready to welcome your children home isn’t easy, nor is parenting any child — let alone several children who have experienced the loss and trauma that is inherent in foster care. However, the joy of a home full of children is worth it.
Carefully researching this path, reaching out to your local foster care organization and talking with other parents who have adopted sibling groups from foster care will be the best ways to be certain that you’re moving forward with your eyes open. These resources will often have valuable insight about adopting a sibling group from foster care and about parenting in the years to come.
Meet the Sibling Groups Waiting to Be Adopted
If you’re ready and able to adopt a sibling group from foster care, reach out to your state’s foster care organization to learn more about the necessary process and requirements. Or, if you want to start viewing profiles of children who are waiting to be adopted, you can learn more about them and their siblings here and here.