Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Openess in Adoption from Foster Care

"Here come my brothers!" E shouted with excitement as Fudge and Calvin walked up the hill toward him.
" Let's go play in the fort" E exclaimed again and off the 3 of them ran to play together chattering away to one another, all of them equally thrilled to be together. To an outsider they look like any other sibling group but they are not like any other group of siblings because they are not growing up in the same home.

E is Calvin and Fudge's younger biological sibling. He was not adopted by us but by a family with whom he was placed as an infant. Calvin and Fudge also lived with this family for a time but Calvin and Fudge are a handful ( or 6) and the 3 of them together was not manageable. When we first met the boys we did not understand what the problem was, then we go to know them and now P says " Mother Teresa and Ghandi could not of handled the 3 of them together." He is right, they are a handful.

When they boys file was  presented to us we were asked to be open to remaining in contact with the foster family who had adopted their brother and the family that had their older sister as well. We agreed not really knowing what that would mean or how it might work out.

We thought at the time ( and still do) that the more people that our children have in their lives who love them the better off they would be. We were open to having relationships with their siblings families, we had no idea what that would mean but we were open to it.

When you adopt children from foster care there are less options for open adoptions than there are when you adopt children privately as infants. Kids who are in foster care are usually there because there first parents where unable to meet there needs and in some cases where the perpetrators of abuse. It is hard to know what the right choice to make is in regards in birth family access is, there is no easy answer.

Our kids have no access to their birth mother, we send her cards and photos twice a year and we talk about of her often. Calvin is moving forward and understands why that is the case, Fudge does not. It is further complicated for our children as they are part of a sibling group, they have an older sister ( T.)still in care, their brother (E.) and a younger sister who still lives their birth mom. Their older sister has visits with their birth mom while the 3 boys do not and have not seen her in over 2 years.She also sees their younger sister and this is hard for the boys as they do not have relationship with her at all.

We work hard to get all 4 siblings together when we can but it is hard given that T is almost 13 and not in a family situation where developing new relationships is easy. It is a much different story with their little brothers family though, we have become family to one another through our children's shared biology. They parented my sons for over a year before me and although the boys moved on I am thrilled that we have become such great friends.

I can only speak from personal experience in regards to my own kids but I know that having an open relationship with their siblings makes their lives richer and mine too. I have come to love T,  E and his parents and I am thankful that they are interested in having the boys remain a part of their sons life because we are richer for having them all in ours.

If you adopt from foster care do not be afraid to include your children's birth family when possible, it can be a blessing. .


Vintage Mom said...

We are adopting from the foster system and will go to court to make things final on Sept.14. I read your post with interest as I have never considered including C's siblings and parents into our family. His situation was a pathetic one. His family is full of selfish poor choices. Sadly he does have 2 siblings that he has only ever seen at the occasional family get together. We live in a fairly small town and I see some of his biologicals in Walmart on a fairly regular basis. They dont know me, and I dont take him with me. I hate living like this, but I dont feel like I can invite them to church after I would actually talk to them. They did some very cruel things to C and so..... well I'm sure you understand. I will consider the siblings as they live with their fathers who are, of course, different than C's father. Appreciate yourpost!


marythemom said...

Great post. The system is certainly not set up to deal with siblings, birth family, and any openness in adoption. Our children were dumped into foster care by their mother, just as she was dumped into foster care by hers. She chose to keep their two younger siblings and has since had a baby (all the children have different fathers and most of the men in their life were abusive). My children were 9 and 11 when they last saw their sisters who were about 4 and 7. They've never met their youngest sister who is almost 2.

We want to keep them in contact, but we don't really want to open all the trauma wounds that being around birth mom would inflict. My son is severe RAD so he's bot as affected by this, but it tears my daughter up.

To top it all off they live 4 states away and the state was done with us when the adoptions were final so any contact made has to be initiated by us and we have to coordinate with birth mom who is not that mentally stable.

So I schmooze with biomom and send her pictures of the kids, and restrain myself when she makes comments about "her" kids, all so my kids can continue to have contact with their sisters. She has given me baby pictures and filled in some gaps for me about the kids childhood and medical history so I think I can honestly also say include the biofamily if possible.

Mary in TX