Friday, November 30, 2018

Keeping Siblings Together

Project Wait No Longer (PWNL) has been fortunate enough to be able to hold fast to its philosophy and mission to find families for the most vulnerable children in the public child welfare system, as opposed to finding children for families.  This targeted philosophy enables us to recruit and train families to meet very specific unmet needs of children in care.  One such target is finding families who have the desire, capacity, and capability to keep siblings together.  Through the dedicated efforts of committed families and competent staff, PWNL has been able to successfully match and place eight sibling groups of three or more children, with the most recent sibling group of four being placed this month- National Adoption Month!  It certainly takes a special type of family who is willing to open their heart and home to multiple children at one time, so that they can stay together. 

Siblings have an undeniable bond and in most cases, siblings benefit from being placed with one another in their “forever family.” There are undoubtedly greater challenges in placing a larger sibling group due to the size of the group and their levels of need, so often, siblings are split up in order to achieve permanency.  However, whenever and wherever possible, public and private agencies alike are making extensive efforts to place siblings together, and when this is not possible, there is great intentionality in ensuring that sibling ties are maintained through visitation and contact. According to an article titled “Brotherly (and Sisterly) Love in Foster Care” in Adoptive Families, siblings greatly benefit from being placed together. 

Here's how they help each other—and why they should be adopted together:

• Siblings have a shared—often difficult—past and can provide a support system that no one else can.

• Brothers and sisters can help reduce the negative effects from the loss and separation of their parents.

• Separating siblings puts each child at greater risk of emotional disturbances and difficulties in school.

• For some children, separation from siblings may cause greater stress than separation from their own parents, particularly those children whose parents were absent both physically and emotionally.

• Siblings miss each other. Most adults who were adopted as older children return to agencies to search, not for their birth parents, but for siblings.

• Keeping siblings together improves their self-esteem.

• Siblings prefer to be together.

To learn more about PWNL or Barker’s other programs, please visit our adoption program and services page here or call our office at 301-664-9664 to speak to an adoption specialist today!

E. Wharton