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Adopting Siblings

(17 Posts)
silverlinings79 Sat 22-Mar-14 07:48:34

Hi everyone, I said my initial hellos ages ago and have just been reading all the discussions since but we are into stage 2 and have started the home study and everything is moving along nicely which we are dead chuffed about. I'm just looking for some experiences that could be shared on adopting siblings. From the outset we have had our heart set on adopting 2 children. We know that is going to be a lot of hard work! However our sw was asking us to consider how adopted siblings would be even harder than sibling birth children. My first thoughts were different behaviours due to dealing with attachment and possibly an older sibling may have felt he/she was responsible for looking after and caring for their younger sibling and struggling with the fact that it doesn't have to be like that, if u know what I mean, anymore. Anyone got any experiences they could share? Thankyou!!!!smile

Meita Sat 22-Mar-14 09:31:48

Not from experience, but 'No Matter What' by Sally Donovan makes a good read. They adopted siblings, age 4 and 2 (or thereabouts). Some things that stuck with me:
-older sibling having much higher needs than younger sibling, due to, in this case, having been in 'care' of birth family for much longer.
-younger sibling kind of needing to be 'neglected' at times due to the amount of attention older sibling required.
-younger sibling, despite seemingly getting along really well, still having significant issues, just she demanded less attention
-The overall sense of exhaustion and reaching one's limits
-In this particular case, the siblings had been fostered in two different foster families, and the author describes it to have been like parenting two 'only' children, by the amount of attention they demanded/needed.
-But also the special bond between the two, and how they looked out for one another.
-At times a sense of rivalry between them, author describes it as if they thought only one of them could 'win the prize' i.e. stay, win their parent's love, etc. so they at times were really vicious against each other.

Hope this helps, and good luck!

silverlinings79 Sat 22-Mar-14 11:42:12

Thank you, that is really helpful! I'm off to order that book!smile

fasparent Sat 22-Mar-14 12:21:28

Sibling situation can all be different siblings may be living with separate FC's may have never met each other of only in- frequent , Intro's for them would be slow process with each other before Intro's too AP's , all has too be handled with care and sensitivity, have to be careful NOT TO be too judgemental sibling rivalry is a natural thing too occur in any family natural or not. Children have a natural aptitude these should be encouraged keeping concern's which may occur 2nd on the list.

TeenAndTween Sat 22-Mar-14 17:10:29

Ours were 8 and 2.

I had to be really clear that I was the Mum, not DD1, so I was the one who did all the care/decisions for DD2.
DD2 being so much younger required more attention, so it was hard to ensure that DD1 got her fair share. I think that did affect the time it took me to properly bond with DD1.
It was exhausting going from 0 to 2 in one go, especially as one of them was already up and running so's to speak. I didn't really get my head above water for the first 3 months.
No idea how I would have got on without a supportive DH. e.g. we alternated evening duties from day 1.

They have a lovely bond.
DD2 settled well partly because big sister was there.
They will always have each other, and they look similar too.
Contact is the same for both of them.
We only had to go through the adoption process once.
DH especially liked doing more elder child stuff from the start.

The large age gap is good because DD2 can be better at stuff earlier (due to better early life) but isn't at risk of overtaking DD1. DD2 goes to bed and hour or so earlier so there was always some 1-1 time built in to the day. It also gave DD1 an excuse to play younger than her age which was good for her.

We have been very very lucky with our girls. grin

mrsballack Sat 22-Mar-14 18:23:34

We have two two-year-olds at the moment (ds is nearly 3)

They have been with us for 8 weeks and I think we've been really lucky (touch wood, we're waiting for something to emerge). The main disadvantage I've found is the tiredness. It is literally non stop from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed. It's very hard to find time for one on one interaction, we have to make a real effort. They can be very jealous if one gets attention, and can be a bit violent with each other. At the moment it seems to be manageable and similar to 'normal' sibling rivalry but I would imagine it would be much worse with older children.
On the upside they are lovely with each other, they seems
I have their own little language and it's lovely to hear them chatting away in the mornings when they wake up. DD helps Ds with his language as she often will pick up a new word before him and on the other side he helps her to do things.

Ours were fostered together and were young when they were removed from their birth family.

MyFeetAreCold Sat 22-Mar-14 19:13:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bananaketchup Sat 22-Mar-14 20:48:30

Hello, I haven't posted for ages (sleep deprivation and multiple coughs/colds/temperatures, fun!), I have sibs aged 5 and 2 placed 6 months ago. I echo so much of what had already been said, and in our case would also add - due to very different early experiences (DD was with BM until 3 1/2, DS was with excellent FCs from 8 months), some of the time (at one low point, all of the time) the older is emotionally younger than the younger. That I find very tough - it's hard to remember that's what's going on when you're in the moment of behaviour etc, and also hard on the younger to have to live with the older tantrumming, taking over or sabotaging all of his play, demanding all of my attention etc. They are both in different ways so much more needy of my time and attention than birth sibs would be, and that is very tiring. Juggling their needs can be hard. On the plus side, they do, despite some ferocious jealousy, love each other, and can play together happily and enjoy each other's company. Hope that is useful.

NoIdeasForUsername Sun 23-Mar-14 01:22:57

I adopted DD and DS when they were 8 and 6, near 7 (now 14 and 13). I later adopted DD2 (their half sibling) three and a half years ago.

The dynamic between DS and DD1. DS was very protective and wanted to be in control of DD1. He saw himself as having to be the one in charge and was very over protective. He slightly resented us, despite our efforts, when DD1 started to like and look for physical contact as he felt his perceived role was crumbling. It meant that he would tell DD1 not to do what we said or to go against one of our rules, just so he could try and show that we weren't the ones she followed and he still had his previous role, which was hard for DD1.

They clashed a lot too, as he could be very controlling- trying to interfere in her friendships, telling us that she couldn't do certain things (when she both could and wanted to) and so on. It was a real struggle for him to let go of his perceived role and be a brother, not trying to be the parent. Equally, it was hard to get DD1 to listen to us initially as she would take in what we were saying, but ultimately look at DS to decide if it was okay to do what we said, and she didn't have much confidence in part because DS was saying she couldn't do that or whatever, through protectiveness. DS also struggled because he had more difficulty school wise, and the age gap was close enough for this to be seen- however he has come on amazingly and they are close enough for it not to be a divider between them, although it caused resentment at the time, sometimes.

They are both incredibly close (and close with DD2), DS is still very protective but purely in the normal big brother sense, not in a replacement parent sense which is a big achievement for us, and the bond they all have makes me smile.

Floraclare Sun 23-Mar-14 10:07:07

I think it is also important to remember that it is not always the older child that has more problems. The older child will often have had just about 'good enough' care until the younger child was born and then everything fell apart, leaving the younger child with virtually no care or attention in the most critical period of their development, until social services involvement.

There is also the potential of trauma bonds if they have both lived within the same difficult/threatening environment - and this can result in them re-traumatising each other and acting out episodes of previous abuse. As getting attention has possibly been potential for their survival in a neglectful environment, sibling rivalry can be far far greater than for birth siblings.

silverlinings79 Sun 23-Mar-14 11:03:21

Thank you everyone. Your experiences and advice have given us a much better insight than we had before, an idea of what we need to expect and could try to prepare for and making us think carefully about the combination of ages or atleast what possible combinations could mean. Thank you! Lovely to hear the positives as well smile

milly82 Mon 24-Mar-14 18:32:23

Hi, we are currently in stage one and hoping to move to stage 2 in 2-3 weeks time (medicals all done this week and just some reference checks to come back). We are also looking at a sibling group of 2 and are thinking aged 3-7. Your question and of course all response are really helpful. I will watch with interest how you get on as being a couple of months behind you hopefully we will know what is coming!!!

silverlinings79 Mon 24-Mar-14 20:24:06

Hi Milly82 smile Glad to hear all gone well so far. Our age range started at 2-5 but we've changed it twice and are at 0-7 now. Stage 2 is pretty fast paced but glad to be moving forward. If u want to know anything before it comes up just ask smile Otherwise we'll have to update each other, good to chat with someone else pretty much at same stage and hoping for siblings too!smile

mrsballack Mon 24-Mar-14 22:05:00

We were very open with our age range, what with the whole older children and sibling groups needing homes thing, but the social worker who completed our assessment actually suggested we lowered our age range for siblings. She wasn't convinced that we, or more specifically, I would be able to cope with the additional needs an older sibling pair could bring, and to be honest she was right. We were still approved for one up to 8 or two under 5. We ended up with a 1 and a two year old, which was far younger than we'd originally prepared for, but lovely.

milly82 Tue 25-Mar-14 19:52:08

Silverlinings i thought the same thing about someone at the same stage with siblings I look forward to the updates!!!!

Stars66 Tue 25-Mar-14 20:12:05

I have an interview as an adoption SW next week, so this post has raised some very interesting points. Thank you all, and wishing you all the continued best of luck with your families. smile

silverlinings79 Wed 26-Mar-14 22:36:37

Good luck Stars66 and thanks smile

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