Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on adoption.
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No information on new sibling(43 Posts)
Birth mother has gone on to have 2 children after we adopted. The first child we had lots of info on, told of pregnancy, birth, fostering and adoption. We have met and its all lovely.
We found out about the latest via letterbox from BM, have had nothing from SS and had to repeatedly ask for information including photos which were initially refused because 'there are too many people involved in baby's life'.
Is this the 'new' way of handling full siblings, pretending they do not exist?
At a loss what to do other than keep asking for info.
Personally i would not want to be that involved with other children of the birth mother. I know it is a difficult one but your child is part of your family now and it could be confusing if bm has several additional children and you get involved with all of them . How is that going to work long term ? I know lots of people would not agree but i feel it blurs the lines too much. It is different if the child has older siblings that they already have a relationship with but otherwise i think that you should not have an automatic right to know about subsequent children of the birth parents . And they have a certain right to privacy as well surely. And i think expecting photos is overstepping the mark big style.
As i say that is my stance on a v complex issue and there are many who would not agree no doubt but i think the child is now yours, you are the legal parents and if the child has to remain with a foot in both camps then they may as well just be in foster care.
Have you got adopted children FlapJack?
MissFenalla - we push SS very hard for every sniff of information we can get. We owe that to our children to give them information about their siblings. We have found in the last few years that less info is coming through from SS, but we cant figure out why - siblings who are in FC and still we are battling to gain info, so its not other adopters or BM who is withholding....bizarre.
We don't expect photos, and we don't think we (as adult parents) have a right, but we do think our children have the right to gain information about their siblings - who actually have no parents and one day will need a family to call their own
It's the stark difference between the information offered on new baby 1 compared to 2 that has thrown us.
The girls ask about their siblings having expectations based on what we knew about baby 1. After all new baby's adopters will know about my girls in the family info they get so it seems unfair not to do the same back.
When we adopted they insisted that you agreed to sibling contact and I wonder if that has changed. Perhaps its just all down to resourcing or a rubbish SW.
Where is the 2nd baby msfenna?
Yes and i am a foster carer. As i said many would not agree with me but my take on it is that these children have joined a new family for good reason and whilst of course they should know about birth siblings i do not see the benefit of expecting to have lots of details , photos and involvement with numerous other birth family members at this stage. And as previously mentioned what about that childs right to privacy along with his family ? What if you want contact and they dont ? It can get v messy ( as i know v well ) .
You expect these issues with foster care but to me adoption should be different.
No Idea Boston - in FC still I presume as I was told there was an order in place.
Thanks for the response FlapJack - I think you are over egging what I have said with comments about 'lots of info and involvement' and the messiness doesnt apply.
But its always good to read a different POV.
MissFenella - if baby is in FC then you can exercise your child's right to contact and the court will ask what the contact will be for the baby. and its birth siblings It will be questioned by the judge and there is a box right there on the forms which prompts the childs IRO to be making sure this is covered.
IF you do want your child to have contact with their sibling then call SS and make this clear - ask for it to be logged in the care plan for the child if court proceedings are taking place for the baby.
hope this helps.
I think adoption is messy. And I think there's loads of evidence that coping with the messiness, rather than pretending it's not there, is better for our children in the long run.
Our children have a right to understand their birth families, where possible through contact and, where that's not possible, through information. It's ridiculous to say that there are too many people in the child's life - your child is part of that child's life and story whether or not SS acknowledge that.
I'd be fighting for at least some info, in writing, and escalating if I met with a brick wall. And yes that would include photos for life story work, of course it would, where is the risk?
Sorry if i have read too much into your original post! It is hard to get a clear picture from a few lines and to get your pov across in a clear way when trying to express a complex opinion ( me that is not you ) .
As a fc i am used to contact in all forms and to dealing with birth families and over the years i have formed my opinions on the possible benefits and potential pitfalls. In fact it will surprise you to hear that we have direct contact with birth parents annually for various complicated reasons. In fact last contact bm turned up pregnant ( and with more than one baby ) . I had not been informed either !
I wasnt surprised at that btw and didnt really expect to be.
Anyway kind regards x
My DCs mum has gone n to have another baby which has remained with her. My DC didn't know she was pregnant gecause by that time direct contact with mum had ended, they don't know about their younger sibling and I have very limited information (eg age and gender) - the information I do have will be shared with my children at an appropriate time.
I wouldn't expect there to be contact issues because they have no relationship with this new baby, unlike older siblings who they do remember and who are also in permanent placements. I don't expect to get information about new children in the birth family, certainly not more than the fact they've been born and gender, how on earth can my children settle and move forwards if we're always factoring new relationships with siblings they've never met to a mum who's involvement in their lives has ended.
I wouldn't expect direct contact between siblings. DD's BM is pregnant right now and other than being told that she is pregnant. We have been told no more. We may be asked to do letterbox if the baby is adopted but I expect no more than that.
Just to put a different experience out there, we have direct contact with our son's birth sibs. All adopter-led and very positive for all of them. It doesn't feel like our son is in anyway less our son or part of this family. It feels more analogous to a situation where, say, there has been a relationship break-up and the parents have gone on to have other children.
Another thing to consider with F2F contact (but with the caveat that all families are different and manage things differently and I'm not saying this as an experienced adopter) but I've worked with quite a few cases where sadly the contact becomes too much for siblings in one family so parents take the decision to stop any direct contact. The impact of this is then often huge for the siblings in the other family and can be taken as a huge rejection and is very distressing for them and can have a huge impact on the whole family. Of course their parents completely understand why but have to still deal with the fall out and impact on their own child. This tends to happen nearer or during adolescents. I will give the disclaimer that my experience with adoptive families is as someone who works with families in crisis so for every case I see I'm sure there are loads where the arrangement works perfectly well. Just thought it might be something worth mentioning more so people can prepare for this as a possibility rather than me saying F2F contact shouldn't happen. (Also, kind of a bit off topic from your original post)
We have contact annually with the younger sibling of our children. There has also been a further child born which we have been unable to gain any information about. We were not told bm was pregnant we found out by ourselves and we only know the baby was born as we happened to contact the sws. We are actually interested in adopting a further sibling so are currently pushing LA for information.
OP it may be that it is the SW or it may that there is a complicated situation going on at the moment. I thought that there was increasing support for more contact not less, but that it does come down to the LA and sometimes to the individual SW.
I think there should be far more consistency. Just the posts on here show how much confusion there is. As far as I know all research supports the benefit of contact, but there is no support for families for managing the contact or dealing with fallout when it happens.
Maybe I'm weird!
It just seems really obvious to me that my kids would be curious about a birth sibling later so I'd prefer them to have as much ongoing contact as possible so that when they are eighteen/twenty/thirty that person is boring-old-Daniel-who-we-see-twice-a-year-and-send-christmas-cards-to, rather than exotic-new-scary-first-time-meeting-person.
That seems WAY less complicated to me albeit a bit more complex for me to sort out/explain when they are little?
I'm with you. I want my kids to know their siblings. They are part of their story.
It very much seems down to the opinion of the SW unfortunately - which it absolutely should not be...
It also seems to be different according to trends in location...which again it should not be.....national guidelines should apply.
I agree that adopters should be able to agree between themselves what is appropriate, but while a child is in FC, or LTFC with no plan to ever be adopted then there must be appropriate plans put in place for sibling contact...we cannot allow multiple siblings to be LAC without knowing the other exists - we as society have a duty of care to not let this happen.
Whether they have ever lived together or not, they share a mother/father, a heritage, and this cannot simply be erased. Their lives are entwined whether we as adopters like it or not. Our duty when we adopted was to help them piece their lives together, not brush parts under the carpet. It may break our hearts a little, but it builds there's up surely.....
Direct contact should be allowed, but indirect contact should be a minimum - otherwise at age 18 we'll have all these siblings finding out about each other and chaos will break out.
Also consider the difficulty of sibling attraction and without knowing each other the heartache of siblings falling in love etc....they need to know siblings are out there if this could be a risk at all (our many siblings all live within 1 hour of each other so this is a possibility!)
In many cases though we're not talking about all the children being looked after. In adoption children are no longer "looked after" when the adoption is formalised, in some cases the new baby will continue to live with mum with no legal order, therefore not looked after. In any event each of the families concerned have a right to privacy and confidentiality - BM's circumstances may change over the years and life may settle down, at what point can she expect that details of her family life stop being shared or that she no longer has sw involvement? She may not want contact, may choose not to tell her child about adopted siblings until they are older and able to perhaps accept things more easily, she should get a say in what happens with her future children and that may not include a relationship with children who have been adopted.
I agree the children need to know about each other - I have no interest in sweeping anything under the carpet. There are however very good reasons for not sharing information about a new sibling with my children just now. Folk may not agree with it, but then folk don't know the complex reasons for this decision for my children.
In general I don't think it's something that can be legislated for, or dictated by national guidance, such decisions need to be made individually with the welfare of all of the children in mind. Sometimes those decisions are quite counterintuitive but nothing in adoption is a one size fits all, the decision has to made for the right reasons with the child at the centre.
Jelly i absolutely agree with everything you have said . Very well put and balanced approach imo x
I'm sure there are some unique circumstances under which it would be in the child's best interests that birth
sibling contact be limited. (Although the bm's right to privacy wouldn't in any way constitute those circumstances AFAIK).
But that's not what the OP is about. If there are a set of unusual issues here which mean that contact isn't in the best interests of the child then the SWs just need to make the OP aware of that rather than muttering about 'too many people' don't they?
But as a general principle the rights of the children outweigh the rights of the adults and the children should have the right to contact with their birth family. And I think any implication that the OP is being unreasonable to pursue this, in the absence of any special circumstances, would be quite wrong.
I think it is impossible for one SW of one child to make a decision with the all the siblings at its centre. How can one person do that? There will of course be a bias....
That is why guidelines - preferably national guidelines, not just postcode lottery - are needed to dictate what to do when siblings are LAC (I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT SIBLINGS WHO REMAIN WITH BM) and how contact should be set up.
So much of it seems to be who's SW shouts loudest - that's not right surely
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