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How to organise contact with half sibling

(18 Posts)
Jannt86 Sun 23-Feb-20 19:02:25

My 22MO has a half sibling on BF's side. She almost certainly has no contact with dad. In a nutshell unless I'm missing something I see no reason for my daughter not to have face to face contact with this sibling if her mother is willing. I've challenged this with SW's a few times and they've always been quite reserved and not seen keen on the idea but not really justified why either. We do have letterbox contact but haven't had any response yet but for reasons I won't go into I know they did receive a settling in letter. Does anyone have any cautionary tales or reasons why face to face contact WOULDN'T be a good idea? Andif anyone has been able to facilitate this kindof contact then how did you do it? I just think we owe it to our LO's to try and not sever ties unnecessarily. I'm not planning on persuing the idea seriously until we've had a bit more time to settle in as a family but am just interested in people's views. Thanks x

OP’s posts: |
Ted27 Sun 23-Feb-20 19:37:22

Is the sibling adopted, younger or older ?

user1497873278 Sun 23-Feb-20 19:53:32

I’m in similar situation my 3 year old had 2 half siblings from bf and one bm I really want face to face contact maybe once a year I am pursuing this through Banardos one sister is 5 the other 7 I feel it’s my duty she has never met them. I feel strongly that I should do this as it’s the one thing we as a family with birth children can’t give her, it’s looking like one side wants to meet so I’m really pleased just got to sort details. I feel it’s her right to have this connection and might help her in the future as all of them have had the same journey to their forever family’s I also think that seeing siblings that will look similar to you, as I know hers do must be really important for her as she gets older.

Jannt86 Sun 23-Feb-20 19:58:06

A couple of years older and not adopted, living with birth mum who has no contact with birth dad (also my LO's Bd)

OP’s posts: |
jellycatspyjamas Sun 23-Feb-20 20:43:05

Would it mean your little one also having contact with her birth mum?

Ted27 Sun 23-Feb-20 20:53:01

I think the biggest obstacle is whether the mum wants to, she may not see it as an important relationship, she may not want to, or have the capacity, to explain the situation to her child.
Do you know anything about her circumstances? My son's birth mum has another child, she lives what would be seen as a benefits lifestyle, never worked etc, I am very conscious that my son has a very privileged life compared to this child, much more opportunity, holidays, etc.
If there is a big difference in your circumstances that could be very difficult for her to explain to her child. We have direct contact with birth dad, he has certainly pushed the boundaries where our different circumstances are concerned.
She may not have contact with birth dad but what about other members of his family? Is it likely that could change? What if the arrangement broke down after a few years.
In theory I support contact with siblings, the reality is its fraught with difficulty.

Jannt86 Sun 23-Feb-20 21:28:32

No this isn't birth mum. The half sibling lives with her mum but this isn't my LO's mum their common parent is BD who has no contact at all with the half sibling or her mum. Yes I can see what you mean about social differences but this sibling has not been removed from her family or anything so I feel she'd be comfortable even if there was a difference in social/financial backgrounds. It's so tricky I just think they're innocent kids and am questioning whether I can really justify NOT at least trying to facilitate contact

OP’s posts: |
jellycatspyjamas Sun 23-Feb-20 21:51:55

I’d be guided by social worker tbh just because they may have information you don’t have that might inform whether contact is ok or not.

Ted27 Sun 23-Feb-20 22:17:49

you might be comfortable with social/financial backgrounds but the other family may not.
I can't go into too much detail here but my son has a full sibling currently in residential care. As they have got older the differences in their lives are becoming starker, its a huge issue for the sibling and is causing us a great deal of difficulty at the moment

user1497873278 Mon 24-Feb-20 08:26:58

Ted hadn’t thought about that kind of scenario, good one to consider

defaultusername Tue 25-Feb-20 11:52:51

jellycatspyjamas, being guided by a SW is great if you have one who takes an interest, has some experience, and cares. It's hard. I'd suggest asking for a letterbox arrangement, maybe photos, and see how it goes. When the older sib is a teenager, they may want direct contact with their younger sib, and perhaps you and the other mum will have enough of a relationship through letterbox to facilitate that. I'd keep channels open, and low pressure.

FlamingOranges Tue 25-Feb-20 22:49:36

The other thing I might want to think about is what those relationships might look like 2/5/10 years down the line - Sib's birth mum has no contact with birth dad now - what's to say they might not be back in touch in a couple of years, and details of your LO be unsafely shared because of that? Or that Sib might seek out contact with birth dad as a teen and not grasp the reality of protecting your LO's privacy?

It's a very difficult dilemma - there could be huge benefits, but there are also a lot of factors that are completely out of your control.

user1497873278 Thu 27-Feb-20 16:30:28

Looking for more in-depth advice really as I said up thread trying to sort contact for dd with her siblings the one she shared a bm with had always wanted contact but we wanted her to settle fully first, they are the grandparents of her half sib have her on some special court order so I’m told so my little one is not related to them in any way or obvious their son who is that siblings father. After thinking about what you said Ted27 I’m now worried my little one has a very privileged lifestyle private school, holiday home abroad plus grown up bc that have adored her from the minute we brought her home at 9 months, she knows no different at the moment and I have talked about how she came to us books meet with foster career once a year., you get the gist she is happy and contented, I’m now not sure it sort of feels like I might be opening a can of worms. Must add I have often felt embarrassed about my lifestyle even at adoption trying the trainer made a comment about our flash car as she put it so that’s were I’m coming from, which is hard just want to do the right thing for dd. Would really appreciate advice we are totally self made as well never a penny from anyone, and I mean literally both come from difficult backgrounds, but what you said Ted27 has made me nervous am I being over sensitive it’s just that over the last 19 years that we ha be been successful I have had so many people be rude about our lifestyle, that I could see it being a problem maybe.

user1497873278 Thu 27-Feb-20 16:45:40

Must add also we are not flash at all we don’t own expensive jewellery watches etc, I have spent most of my life with nothing, so buying my clothes from next and mattalan still feels like a treat to me. But we have a large lovely home and I could buy within reason whatever I want. My priority is good quality food actually as it’s something from childhood I never had fruit etc, sorry just feel like I need to explain myself more, my problem I know.

Ted27 Thu 27-Feb-20 17:56:46

@user1497873278 you should never feel embarressed about your lifestyle.
Its something to be aware of when thinking about how another child and family might respond.
And its not even really about 'stuff'. I have a very modest lifestyle, don't drive so no car flash or otherwise. We live in a bog standard wobbly, drafty Victorian terrace. We travel abroad every two years or so.
But my son has the security and opportunity provided by stability, a home which values education, a family which thinks he is the bees knees. He sees a mum going to work and knows that if he wants a nice life he has to earn it, he already has a paper round so is earning his own money. We have great holidays in Wales and Scotland. We go to theatre and movies and sports events. We stay in YHAs and Premier Inns on £30 a night deals. Scouts has given him wonderful opportunities to do so many things.
His brother by contrast has been shunted around birth family, in foster care and now in a residential unit miles away from birth family and us, his education has been severely disrupted, spends most of his time on the PS4 and had four nights in a caravan for his summer holiday. I fear for his future. We have a lot of contact with this child, probably way more than you are envisaging for your child, I would not dream of stopping it, but I do have to manage it very carefully for the sake of both boys. I can't really say more because this is a child in care.

If you feel contact would be valuable, then pursue it. Its just something to be mindful of, and what you absolutely don't want is your child feeling guilty for the life she has.

user1497873278 Thu 27-Feb-20 20:28:31

Thanks Ted27 that’s exactly what we are providing for our little one, loves the theatre and has been going since before her first birthday, I have re-read the letters from the siblings,guardian and adopted parents and it made me realise that one of them especially is worlds away in lifestyle, there has been a split up and are living in a bed sit very Frank but nice letter. Think I may be overreacting as I find it hard sometimes with her overthinking everything, have happy kind grown up children with great careers and I just want the best for her to be honest we all do one of my children is a lawyer in an American law firm and has offered to pay for her education bless him he’s only just qualified after years of study, she is so adored by them all. I think I need to calmly think about what would be best, do you think one meet up a year would be enough just asking as you are way down the line and I’m so worried about getting this wrong. Feel overly anxious at the moment she had just started nursery, and unfortunately I had a very bad accident in September that has left me house bound and unable to do very much as in looking after her so distressing for her but I’m slowly getting there managed to stand long enough to cook a quick dinner today though pain is pretty bad, she is witnessing this and I think I’m in panic mode about how I want everything to be as good as possible for her and at the moment of course its not. Thank you for your advice my close couple of friends just don’t understand in the same way, they are always so black and white, and as we know there is a lot of grey areas along the way.

sassygromit Thu 27-Feb-20 21:23:21

A child in care is a very different situation from the other children referred to here, though. It is almost always dire in care, and so I can imagine the comparisons will be stark, poor things. But @user1497873278 I don't think that you should worry needlessly or make assumptions yet, it is impossible to know what you will find and the better you know the other family the easier it will be to know how to approach things. I'd say just pursue it, see what you find, but be sensitive about not brandishing wealth, or high end cars! I am sorry to hear about your accident, it is miserable to be limited in what you can do physically.

Ted27 Thu 27-Feb-20 22:03:09

I know a child in care is in a very different situation, this particular child spent most of his life with birth family. Their half siblings are with birth family, they dont have the opportunities my son does.
My original answer was to another poster. It just something to be mindful of and sensitive to, rather than something which should prevent contact taking place.
@user1497873278 once a year to start with sounds fine, its easier to increase visits rather than reduce if things arent working out.

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