Tuesday Topic: How do You Maintain Contact with Siblings?

IMG_2335This question was lost in the recesses of my inbox until today. It’s an important topic for many of us as we seek to parent our children well.

How do you maintain sibling contact with your child(ren) who have multiple siblings adopted to multiple families. My 4 adopted children have at least 12 siblings adopted into 3 different families; we would like to maintain some sort of face-to-face contact if possible – since we’re in the same state – so they’re not strangers as adults. It feels awkward and forced, and not all of the families are very willing.

If you have experience with this, we would love to hear from you. I don’t have much wisdom to offer since my kids’ birth siblings are not in the country.

Take a moment to support this fellow adoptive mom and offer your thoughts, even if your situation is not quite the same.

I’m ready for more Tuesday Topic questions! If you have a Tuesday Topic you would like me to post, email it to me at lisa@onethankfulmom.com   Please put “Tuesday Topic” in the subject line; it will help me stay organized. I’m so glad to be posting new questions each week again!

encourage one another,

Lisa

 

 

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

9 Comments

  1. Heather
    September 1, 2015

    Our three children have three birth subs. The sibs all live in the same area. We have chosen not to maintain contact. 1. Ours are the littlest ones. Big sis (15) and our 5 year old daughter are the bookends of the 6 kids. It scares me to think of that 10 year difference in 10 years. The other kiddos are in so so family homes and are not being raised by thw same standards we are raising our kids. They were also pulled out of their birth home at a much older age. They've seen a lot more then our three. They also have frequent contact with bio parents. It may seem harsh but I'm glad they don't have a good relationship.

    Reply
  2. mkrksk
    September 1, 2015

    We also have adopted kids with many other siblings in various places. I am not quite sure how to handle it either. We met one older sister recently that did not even know her brother (our son) existed. She has been raised by her grandparents and has other half siblings, but has not been close to them either. She was very overcome with emotion when she found out about our son and has on her own pursued a relationship with us and him. (She is 19). We are very happy to have relationship with at least one sibling. The know of two others but don't know how to contact them. They are also very young and likely don't know about our son.
    My conviction is that sibling relationships are so meaningful that it is worth the effort to try to facilitate them as much as possible. But there are some doubts and fears there also – especially when siblings are being raised in less than ideal circumstances and could end up being a negative influence in my child's life.

    Reply
  3. Jane VanDeventer
    September 1, 2015

    One of my adopted daughters is AA. She has a younger half sister in another home…here in town. That sisters adoptive mom knows how to braid black hair..(I do NOT). So…once a month…or every 6 weeks..my daughter spends the day with her little sister…getting her hair done. In exchange,…we give all outgrown clothes to little sis.

    Reply
  4. Rainy
    September 1, 2015

    I have not successfully navigated this experience yet, but it is unfolding in our family. Our son has a sibling in another state. As this is all fresh and new, currently we just exchange photos and phone calls with extended family members. The other adoptive family suggested that we meet next year at a family camp. I love this idea, and maybe that would be a great bridge to a relationship for you? Just the offer was greatly appreciated by our family. I think a camp (it's for transracial adoptive families -PACT) seems like a wonderful place to build lasting connections without pressure. Maybe meet at an amusement park, a zoo, or a state fair. An event could bring an opportunity for memories without the pressure for hard conversations at the beginning of your relationships. Great question, I'm looking forward to hearing other ideas here;)

    Reply
  5. SWH
    September 1, 2015

    We have recently started discussing this ourselves. We finalized through foster care almost three years ago. Our son has two 1/2 siblings that each live an hour or so from us in two different towns. It's taken me a few years to "recover" from the fostering experience and to feel like I could reach out to the other families. (They are not in adoptive families but with their bio families. Which I think created some of my hesitation.) We were able to invite one of the siblings over for a recent birthday party and he stayed the night, followed by our family having dinner with the bio grandparents (it's complicated…) the following evening. It was a positive experience one we hope to duplicate more often during breaks in the school year. The other sibling is quite a bit older than our child and we've had one get together in the 3 years. I usually send a small Christmas gift from our family and send photos a couple of times a year to allow the sibling to "see" our child grow since face to face time isn't easily as easily done.

    Reply
  6. Ashley
    September 1, 2015

    My three kids have 3 other brothers that were adopted by two different families. One family feels, like we do, that the sibling relationships are important, and the other family doesn't want to remind their son of his past, so we never see that brother.

    We live about 2 hours away from my kids' older brothers. We try to get together at least every quarter for a day. We've gone to the zoo, to a water park, bowling, also just hanging out at their house. We also try to call their brothers on holidays and birthdays. It seems like it is working out well. They all love getting to see each other. They do miss their brother whose parents won't allow him to be included. That makes me sad.

    Reply
  7. Alyssa
    September 1, 2015

    My son has many half-siblings (bio mom has had 8 kids and bio dad at least 6) We have been in contact with the brother and sister just younger than him. They live with their paternal grandparents 4 hours away. My son is really close to them and has lived with them in the past. They talk and we send pictures and see them 3-4 times a year. It's been very good for all of them. This summer we were finally able to connect with the next younger brother who lives in that same town. We had the 4 kids together for the first time in 5 years and it was really special. I don't if we will ever meet the others.

    Some of us also have past foster families to think about. We kept our son in touch with his last foster brothers at the beginning but he (phone calls and a couple visits) but he isn't that interested and I can see now that the relationship was quite competitive. I am FB friends with the mom and we send pics. I tracked down one of his other foster families on FB- they now live an hour away and have 3 bio kids. That has been an amazing connection. They brought us lots of pictures and my son loves to see them- kind of feels like cousins.
    I have shown my son pics on FB that his bio mom has put up of new baby siblings so he knows about them at least- now that he is old enough to understand.

    Reply
  8. sciencedino
    September 2, 2015

    My son has 3 half-siblings who he grew up with until he was nearly 8. We see his oldest sister once a month and he calls her on the phone occasionally. She's 15, still in foster care, and lives 2.5 hours away. We don't see his older brother (14) or younger sister (9), they were adopted by a family who feels their kids are not ready for contact right now. Our son (11) misses those two a lot. We also recently got in contact with our son's biological dad via Facebook and are now trying to figure out what we want that relationship to look like.

    Reply
  9. Jamie
    September 16, 2015

    Facebook usually does it but we grew up really close.

    Reply

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