Monday, May 12, 2008

Family Relations Matter

I had never given this much thought but since I'm thinking about, I thought I might as well write about it. I hope to get some feedback and perspectives as I've read many on other sites over the last week.

I have always assumed that adopting two children at once that they would be siblings. Some one asked me recently if I would consider adopting two children at the same time that are not biological siblings. I guess my first answer is why not? I'd never thought much about it because many of the agencies prohibit it.

Like everything in adoption there are a lot of opinions. I actually read an article that accused parents who adopt unrelated children of rushing to build a family without any understanding of child development. It said that the parents were thinking only of their own needs and not those of the children. Another article I read accused agencies that would allow the practice of being unethical.

Here's what I've heard or read and the questions I have:
  1. Adopting unrelated siblings does not give the children the individual attention that they need to adjust to a new family and the culture. Would this be different if they were biologically related?
  2. The children may not get along, they may be adjusting to liking a new mother and then have to adjust to a new sibling too. Will they get along if they are siblings? Won't they each have their own adjustment to me as a new mother either way?
  3. Adopting siblings provides support for each child in a way that unrelated children cannot. Siblings probably come with some of the same family traditions and habits, but won't two children from Ethiopia share those similarities related or not more than the Ethiopian children will share with existing children in the US family?
  4. They share no actually family bond. Do our adopted children share an actual family bond or are we attempting to create one? How are these unrelated siblings different than the unrelated sibling situations created with existing children?
  5. The children or one child may have attachment issues or other psychological issues that need to be addressed. Would this be the case for a single child or one or both of a biological sibling pair?
  6. The child's needs should come first and it is complicated with these artificial sibling bonds. How much do we talk about the difficulty of children who are adopted as singles but have left behind siblings that they have grown up with?
  7. Another though just came to mind...what about biological siblings that are being adopted that don't have the same mother and father.
I haven't resolved this. I'm just thinking out loud. What do you think -- pros and cons?

Here are two articles. Article 1 or Article 2


Katy said...

I like the idea of adopting biological siblings because it means that those siblings would not be split up. And they would ALREADY have a close bond prior to complete upheaval. But often those siblings have OTHER siblings who are not placed for adoption, so siblings are still split. I know some agencies will not split up sibling groups and I don't know if that is true for all. I imagine that if agencies did not have a rule about not separating siblings who come into thier custody, then people who wanted to adopt more than one child might be referred children who fit thier age requests, without regard as to whether there is a sibling outside the parameters of that request? I don't know. Just thinking while typing. It seems like if there are two unrelated children, both in need of families, both without siblings available for adoption, then I think it would be wonderful for them both to find the same family.

Anonymous said...

I think those same arguments can be made for every family having only 1 child. (whether that child came into your family via a more traditional method or thru adoption) Wouldn't a single child thrive more if he/she were the only child and getting all the attention and all the things (physical/mental/spiritual/medical/whatever) that they needed. Surely by creating families that have more than one child we are taking away from that child somehow.

Now I don't believe this at all but the reasons people are giving for not adopting 2 unrelated children at a time seem full of similar holes in their theory. Wouldn't a child coming to a completely new home/world benefit from having someone like them, where they don't have to navigate the new world alone? If they come from an orphanage situation, wouldnt coming to a home with 1 or 2 parents to 2 or 3 kids (whether related or not) be a better place with more individual and together time with a mommy and/or daddy be more desirable than an orphanage situation?

Whether these kids are related to each other via DNA or via adoption, they are still siblings and will benefit from having each other.

People would say that having a child with down syndrome takes time away from my son without down syndrome. They would say adopting more children would take away from the other 2 kids. I say they are wrong. I say my kids are better people for having each other and are continually blessed by each other.

Just another opinion.


Anonymous said...

Before adopting, I did not think that it would be a problem to adopt two unrelated children at the same time. Do not under estimate what it takes for a child to bond with an adoptive parent, and a parent with a new child. I adopted biological siblings, but I would never choose to adopt unrelated children at the same time. Ethiopia is a large and diverse country, and while they share being Ethiopian with each other, they may speak different languages and have entirely different customs. All children want to be the center of their parent's universe, and competing with a stranger for the affections of their new parent(s) could be very stressful and slow attachment. It's tough enough when they are biological siblings, but when they are virtually strangers it seems a bit unfair and unnecessary.

VALARIE - Single, mother-to-be of two bright-eyed Ethio children. said...

Thanks for these great comments. One more thing in adoption to think about.

Original Court Date: April 18, 2009
Final Court Date: May 18, 2009
[607 total days & 165 days w/IAN]