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Sibling contact

(12 Posts)
LaLaLands Mon 08-Jan-18 21:04:13

Hi all, I’m just wondering if anyone has any experience of face to face sibling contact after adoption?

I’m wondering what things might have helped or hindered the arrangements and more importantly how it has impacted the little ones? Positive and negative I guess.

The advanced question on this topic is what about little ones who don’t remember or haven’t spent any time living with their siblings because they were fostered from birth? Is this still as beneficial?

Thank you as always!

OP’s posts: |
thomassmuggit Wed 10-Jan-18 10:21:29

As long as it's safe, all the evidence points to sibling contact being beneficial.

Imagine you'd lost everything, been placed with people who looked, smelled and acted different to you. How much better would it be growing up with contact with someone who shares your story, smells and looks like you?

Conversely, meeting a sibling as an adult is a big deal. Meeting up with someone you've known your whole life, not so much.

Unless the sibling is with BPs, and it compromises the placement, not having sibling contact is likely to be far more about the AP's insecurities. Sibling contact is important and beneficial, even if they weren't placed together in foster care.

Barbadosgirl Wed 10-Jan-18 10:24:10

Hi, we do. Our pixie was 8 1/2 months when he came home and he has four birth sibs. He didn't live with any of them and didn't have any contact with either. We began indirect contact with two of them (I.e. three sets of adopters emailing and texting) and got to know each other (the various LAs put us in touch and let us get on with it). After a while we decided to meet. They were then 2, 3 1/2and 6. They are now 4, 5 1/2 and 8. They have an amazing relationship, a real connection and obviously benefit from it greatly. We have a sort of play date relationship.

The things that make it work in the way it does, I think are:

1. The adults got to know each other first and have an open and honest line of communication.
2. We all live relatively close.
3. None of the children have any issues so far- e.g. no trauma related behavioural or emotional difficulties.

They didn't know each other pre- placement but it is clearly a benefit to them.

Barbadosgirl Wed 10-Jan-18 10:37:03

Oh and we have no security risks.

Thomassmuggit, I don't think your comment is entirely fair on adopters. There are many reasons why direct contact is not of benefit to some children other than security. A big one is sibs who have trauma bonds. Another one (which my friend is going through) is when children are having a difficult time emotionally and simply could not cope with direct sibling contact.

Also, our kids live in different households and eat different foods: they don't smell the same.

This idea there is one correct way to do things on planet adoption and it must be done that way always is a fallacy.

thomassmuggit Wed 10-Jan-18 10:48:40

I think adopters are often keen to give up on sibling contact, and reasons can be found.

There is research that genetic family members share basic smells, under whatever toiletries or washing powder you use.

There can be good reasons for no sibling contact, but I think the threshold should be higher than most adopters give it.

So, yes, there will be some circumstances where siblings can't have contact. I think far more siblings do not have contact than fall into those circumstances.

Barbadosgirl Wed 10-Jan-18 11:48:19

Can you point me to your research which shows adopters are "often keen to give up on sibling contact"? Anecdotally all I see is adopters giving their all to contact.

Does your research about smells show that there is any tangible benefit from being around someone who smells like you, to the extent it outweighs other issues- e.g. shared trauma, the fact a child does not want to see his sibs?

On what basis do you think adopters don't set a high enough threshold? Is that based on any kind of research? What is the sample size of adopters and are the particular circumstances of the children taken into account? Same for your last comment on far more siblings not having contact than those which fall within your definition of where no contact is justified.

bellasuewow Wed 10-Jan-18 19:58:26

Well said bad girl. I notice Thomas has decided to duck out 😂

thomassmuggit Thu 11-Jan-18 12:39:16

There is very little research, full stop. Hence me saying 'I think'- opinion gathered from meeting adopters, reading forums, and seeing how few people have posted on this thread, compared with how many of us will have adopted children with siblings elsewhere.

It's not my research about the benefits of sibling contact. There is research showing sibling contact is beneficial. Courts agree, and there is case law where sibling contact has been given the importance it deserves. Usually, sibling relationships out live those we have with our parents, birth or adopted.

When I say 'I think', I'm giving opinion. When I say 'there is research', I'm saying there is research.

I've not 'ducked out', I just have a life.

LaLaLands Thu 11-Jan-18 13:39:20

“I’m wondering what things might have helped or hindered the arrangements and more importantly how it has impacted the little ones? Positive and negative I guess”

As OP I guess some more context to the original question might help. A social worker is looking at our PAR right now and are only considering adopters who can support sibling contact. Everything I’ve read suggests it’s positive for siblings for many reasons, of course until it is detrimental (safety or negative for their mental wellbeing).

I’m totally on board with sibling contact but had originally imagines what I wanted to know isn’t in any research paper. I really wanted to know your name experiences, what the pitfalls are, what the difficulties are, how your little one has coped with the build up, fall out etc. Just to be able to talk knowledgeably and know what we are getting ourselves into. Which we don’t see as an issue at all!

All the research in the world wouldn’t be able to give me the benefit of real life experiences. I guess, I don’t know what I don’t know. And I don’t know a lot lol.

OP’s posts: |
LaLaLands Thu 11-Jan-18 13:46:53

Oh my. Apologies for my typos!
“Name experiences” = own experiences

OP’s posts: |
OlennasWimple Fri 12-Jan-18 19:44:55

I think the answer for the SW is that you would want to support sibling contact if it was felt to be beneficial to all parties, but would want the ability to review it if you felt that it was becoming detrimental to your DC for any reason but you hope that would not arise.

We do letter box contact with a sibling, which is slightly odd as we know that he also has face to face contact with some members of the birth family (older sibling, being fostered not adopted), so we have to be careful what we write.

Overall I hope it is beneficial for DD, but at the moment she hates anything to do with her birth family and reacts very strongly to it. We're hoping as she gets older she will appreciate it more

brightsunshineatlast Fri 12-Jan-18 21:45:44

OP Professor Elsbeth Neil at the Centre for Research on the Child and Family at UEA has information online about contact which seems to have a wealth of info, I have linked below. Her research isn't ivory tower stuff theory, it is based on longitudinal case studies. I think it is worth finding out about the research and the issues as comprehensively as possible, as what has worked in one situation set out here won't necessarily work in another, and this applies to the advanced question too, about younger children.

She has made recommendations in relation to how direct contact (with birth families generally, not just siblings) should be considered and has written a book for professionals about supporting and managing contact. She doesn't recommend a one size fits all, and she says on the website that things should be considered on a case by case basis, that contact will not be suitable for all children.

One thing the research clarified for me was how the success of direct contact (and how it impacts on the adoptive family) does depend very significantly on how it is managed, including how difficult circumstances can be managed and how the younger child can be helped to interpret circumstances as well as to process feelings.

www.uea.ac.uk/contact-after-adoption

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