When there are holidays to celebrate mothers and fathers, why not take time to celebrate some of your best friends and biggest aggravators who you can find in your siblings? A nationally observed holiday on April 10 hails Siblings Day to do just that.
The majority of us are able to participate in this holiday. With the many diverse family types represented in the world today, there are many who have biological and adoptive siblings in their family. Valuing these relationships will foster their connections and provide a better appreciation for these partners in life.
Celebrate the Many Different Types of Sibling Relationships in Adoption
For an adopted child, there are many relationships that fall under the siblings umbrella. This child can have biological siblings from their birth parents, siblings in their family who have also been adopted, and siblings who are biological children of their adoptive parents. Each of these relationships can be respected and loved, but all will have diverse components that contribute to your child’s understanding and friendships with their brothers and sisters.
Whether you are a birth parent or an adoptive parent, listening to the needs of your children and how they are relating to their siblings is the best start to fostering their bonds and increasing their self-awareness with one another. Just like a family raising biological children will have to learn the unique facets of each child and respond accordingly, a family with adoptive children, a blend of biological and adoptive children, or children in a combined family will discover the distinct differences of each child. In these instances, we must embrace each child and their needs, support them in strengthening the relationships with all their siblings and teach them to consider each other less like acquaintances and more like family.
Talk About Siblings and Adoption Openly and Honestly
Be ready to answer any questions your children may have about their siblings. Have open communication about how each person came into the family so there is no assumed shame if a child’s story is altered or more obscure. This will only be harder in the long run when truths are told. We want to proclaim each child’s story as their own and as their joyful celebration of being a part of our family. Seeing each child’s position in the family as equally special will create a level playing field when it comes to their relationships as siblings.
Be Good Role Models
As parents, we also need to remember that our children will emulate behavior they see from us, so how we treat our own siblings, how we talk about our children, and how open we are to discussing their concerns will directly impact their sibling relationships. You may run into concerns with your adopted child that have them asking questions about their biological siblings and birth family. Listen. A biological child may want to discuss how to address kids at their school who make hurtful comments about their adopted sibling and how to handle the situation. Be compassionate. A biological and adopted sibling pair may be having a difficult time at first forming a bond. Be patient and offer hope.
Our family is in the adoption process. We have two biological daughters and will hopefully be welcoming another baby into our family through adoption soon. We have researched and picked the brains of our friends who have dealt with the sibling relationships in their own family. We have prayed for our daughters and for the next child who will be ours that they will see how special each of them is to us, no matter their DNA. When our girls are able to celebrate Siblings Day and announce a new sibling as part of their family, I hope they see their love expanded and their attachments multiplied. I believe that because we have already begun the conversations with them about a new adopted sibling that they will see how loved and wanted their sibling is and how they are given a great blessing in being able to show that love also.
I know siblings will not always get along. They will be jealous, snatch toys, annoy, and fight. But, always reaffirm your hope for a relationship that will be comfortable and heartwarming, celebrating the bond a child shares with their sibling.
Jill is a 32-year-old wife and mom. She has been married to her husband, Brannon, for eight years and has 5-year-old and 1-year-old daughters. Jill and her husband are currently in the adoption process to bring another baby into their home. Jill lives in a small community in Kentucky. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish and obtained her Master’s degree in Christian Ministries. Jill’s passions are her faith, her family, writing, playing sports, and eating good food.