Should You Adopt Your Child’s Bio Sibling

Dawn Davenport

35

Should you adopt Your child's biological sibling?

Sibling relationships can be magical. It might be especially nice for adopted kids to have a bio siblings in their adopted family. But what if you’re not sure you want another child?

You’ve wanted kids for so long. You’ve been pricked, prodded, and scoped both physically and emotionally through your years of trying to get pregnant and then trying to adopt. Finally you are a parent. You are living your dream. And then one day you get a call from your adoption agency or adoption attorney. Or maybe the call comes from your child’s birth mother herself. She is pregnant again and wants to place this child with you. Oh my.

If you want another child, this is the happiest day of your life. If you thought your family growing days were over, it is the beginning of many days of soul searching. As one mom asked:

How could we say ‘no’ to our daughter’s sibling? How would I explain to my girl that her sister doesn’t live with us? How would I live with the guilt?

To Thine Own Self be True

It is one thing to intentionally split up sibling groups when adopting, but what about siblings that are born after the adoption? That can be a sticky wicket for sure. What is considered the “perfect” family size is amazingly individual. It depends on finances, where you live, how time consuming your jobs/careers, your energy level, your age, and quite frankly what you want your life and family to look like. And it depends on all of these factors times two since the desires of both the mom and the dad must be considered.

In my opinion, the decision to have another child regardless if it is the decision to get pregnant or to adopt, has to be made based on what the parents want, not what they think their child wants, nor guilt they may feel. While this advice is easy at the extremes where the parents are clear that they want no more kids, it gets might murky in the middle where parents think they probably don’t want another child, or think they can’t afford another child, or think they may be too old to start over, or simply aren’t ready right now, but hope to be ready in a few years.

If you are sitting on the fence in the murky middle, then it makes great sense to throw into the mix of your decision making that it might be good for your child to be raised with his full or half biological sibling. This factor might just tip the scale. Personally, I wouldn’t get too hung up on the perfect timing or perfect age spacing. Most of us who have faced infertility or adoption know that planning for perfection is a joke.

No Guarantees for the Future

The woman I quoted above decided to adopt her child’s sibling, but then the next year the birth mother was pregnant again. After much agonizing they decided that their family was finished and another family adopted that child. Now another year later the birth mom is pregnant with twins.

We can’t predict the future, so the best we can do is decide what is best for our family at any given point in time, and then make the best of what develops. This family was able to suggest a friend to adopt the third child and now have a close relationship with that family. I hope they’ll be able to do the same with the twins.

What would you do? How would you weigh the benefits of your child being raised with a biological sibling vs. your plans for your family size?

 

Image credit: Joseph.Boss

16/10/2013 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 35 Comments



35 Responses to Should You Adopt Your Child’s Bio Sibling

  1. Ria says:

    We adopted 2 siblings, they are currently 2 and 3. The BM is now pregnant again and we await a call from SW.
    My partner has currently been very ill and is only just on the road to recovery.
    We only have a 3 bed house, which would mean two sharing if we took on the new baby.
    The medication my partner takes is very strong so he dosnt wake for the children in the night. I do everything, cleaning, cooking and school runs and kids clubs.
    My eldest goes to pre school part time, youngest is still at home.
    I know in my heart of hearts I couldn’t do anymore, but why do I feel so sad and guilty that we will be saying no to their 1/2 brother/sister when they are born ( due soon)
    Even our support network are stretched helping us where they can and don’t think another baby is a good idea.
    Didn’t really help that the letter arrived on the doorstep the day after I got home from having a radical hysterectomy.
    Feeling so emotional right now and wish there was an answer.
    Also can’t help feeling the BM is going to be a serial birth mother and this won’t be the last!

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      Ria, you are in a tough position. Only you and your partner can decide (and it sounds like you have), but I can tell you that in my opinion, your first obligation is the the two children you already have. Stretching yourself too thin will ultimately not be good for them or for the new baby. There will likely be many families waiting to adopt this baby. Would it be possible to ask the family that adopts him/her to have some form of contact so that the siblings have some type of relationship as children and can build on that when they become adults?

  2. Suzy Brackeen Gidden Suzy Brackeen Gidden says:

    I’m raising bio sibs. There are also 2 other bio sibs to the 2 we have that are in 2 other families. For us the water was made more murky by the fact that our 2 have a genetic condition that might prevent them from having biological children one day and that would make it harder to find a family for the 2nd one. We decided that it was important for them to have that biological connection that they might not have with their eventual children. Also, already having 5 kids, it wasn’t as hard to add a 6th as it might have been if we only had 2 or 3.

  3. Greg says:

    Marilynn,

    That all makes sense. I’m not an adoptive parent though my wife and I may pursue adopting one day. At least for me if we became adoptive parents being able to have legal authority in terms of decision making for the child (up until 18) is all we would need. I wouldn’t have an issue with the adoption decree you described. All it is a piece of paper. Just like a marriage certificate. It didn’t change my love or relationship with my wife. We wouldn’t want to deny the child access to certain things just to boost our ego and cover up insecurities. Our role would be to raise the child and become a part of its life joining its family and they would be joining ours. No, we will never have a biological connection. We wouldn’t fool ourself into thinking otherwise.

    All of this is great stuff, thank you for sharing and enlightening me.

  4. marilynn says:

    Greg your making me cry. You know what you and your lovely wife will get if you do what you said? A deep bond with that person that goes to the bone where they won’t have any fear of hurting your feelings if they hang out with their siblings in fact every now and then they sleep over and you help them remember their Grandma-Susie’s birthday (because kids forget stuff like that if you don’t remind them). I reunite a lot of separated families and it is so sad that people have all this love for their adoptive parents but don’t want to hurt their feelings so they go behind their backs. And that is with ones that were totally open with the kids about the adoption all along so it seems it would have to be more than just open but like loving them for who they are. Lots of people have mentioned that they felt they had to play a roll and reject their family in order to be worthy of being raised by their adoptive parent or with donor offspring be worthy of having their one bio parent raise them. That to me is really sad that someone would feel unworthy of love unless they covered part of their identity up. I just think how much more beautiful and lasting the bond would be if they were not counting the moments until they were 18 to have contact with their other family. And if those people are not such great shakes they’ll have grown up seeing that reality from the side lines and be able to keep it in perspective the way we do with our relatives that walk that fine line..we make it through Christmas dinner with in-laws and steps and somehow. Really your going to make me cry. I’m going to send this to the 200+ families I reunited by email. Nobody ever said that to me before. You’ll be such fantastic adoptive parents. Ahh. Muwah

  5. marilynn says:

    Thank you Greg. I really feel like adoptive parents probably would not mind having their names on an adoption decree stapled to the front of a birth certificate filed in the same drawer at the vital records office. What possible beef could they have with allowing a person to legally remain a member of their family while becoming a member of their adoptive family so long as the adoptive parents get full parental authority over the minor that they are adopting? The law really should view the families as growing and being interconnected. For instance you have the right to your relatives vital records and to the vital records of family members by marriage step family and in-laws. So a father-in-law can dig around to get marriage certificates on his daughter-in-law if he thinks she’s lying about being married before or having no kids before. Well adoptive parents kinda need to know what’s going on with the parents and relatives of the kid they adopted and the relatives of the kid need to know the identity of their relative as well so it would be healthier all around to help the extended family function more smoothly if the flow of information was not impeded by identity changes and sealed records. If a person is truly in danger the government does witness protection programs or you can pull restraining orders against your family but it does not stop them from having the right to know who their family is and have access to the vital records, it just protects them physically from harassment or assault. The perceived right to privacy of identity is just out of step with how the rest of society operates which is why its such a stumbling block. I’d think adoptive parents would really want to know about the health and progress of any siblings or cousins and would want to share info on the child they adopted as well. Information like that is gold in keeping kids healthy and on track in school.

    I really hope that adoptive parents don’t go into adoption thinking that they are building their own family and that the other family lost their chance and now they don’t need to have anything to do with them. Saying if they want to know something at 18 they’ll support them seems like trying to build a wall and pretend that they made the child themselves with a little biological material from someone else. Its going to be different than raising your own kid cause they have their own family already. Even if they really suck, like this one girl I helped her father was not on her birth record because he raped the mother on the street and went to jail for it, died in prison. She wanted to meet her other relatives though, she wanted to have his name on her birth record so she’d be the niece of her aunts who wanted to meet her and she had siblings too. So they are together but they have no kinship rights. That was for her protection from I guess the shame of being conceived in rape or something. So lame it was not her fault he was a bad guy.

  6. Greg says:

    I never knew that Marilynn about adoption and the challenges adoptees face with kinship situations. I’m 100% in agreement with you that it shouldn’t be that way. I believe the way you get laws changed in this country is to get involved politically by influencing politicians either by writing to them or start contributing money to campaigns of politicians who support your platform. It shouldn’t be that way but unfortunately that’s how things work in this country.

  7. marilynn says:

    Greg you my feelings align with yours on never altering the original birth record. But I’ll take you one further while we are dreaming of legal changes to put adopted people on equal footing with their non-adopted peers – try never severing their legally recognized kinship to their relatives no matter what their parents may have wanted in terms of privacy because no other person with offspring has this right to privacy that undermines the rights of their entire family to identifying information and copies one another’s vital records. You know that none of us have the right to block a relative from obtaining our vital records or even records of our under aged children because a record that my child exists is relevant to defining my brother as someone’s uncle, it is his right to know he has that kinship roll and therefore not my right to withhold the documentation. Right now the law is set up prevents adopted people and their relatives from accessing those records and that needs to change. Right now the law is set up so that the government won’t recognize or grant benefits of kinship to people with their relatives that were adopted as children. Its absurd to punish people for the actions of their parents, they have no control over their choices and it does not change reality, they are still related and should still have the same exact rights as they would have had the adoption never occurred. Adoption should address the parental authority of the relinquishing parent and that’s it nothing else. Add fully recognized legal kinship in the adopted family the two can exist simultaneously without the sky falling in as it does in marriage which is another way of forming family with court approval.

    So I agree there is tragedy in kids aging out of foster care but in terms of maintaining their rights within their family its great. Their parents are still their parents. That termination of parental rights impacted their authority to make decisions on behalf of their minor child it did not sever their legal parenthood the way adoption does and should not as I just said. Parental authority over a minor can be ended as it is in many divorces where one parent gets sole custody, it does not end the legally recognized kinship that their offspring has a right to that all the relatives have a right to.

    I don’t know how to go about it – I’d love to learn to be taught how to change the laws that make adoption unfair to adopted people. How can they be included as members of their adopted families without having to loose legal kinship in their own families. Its sad enough that they had to loose out on having their parents raise them, must they also loose out on getting to be themselves, living authentically with their identities intact and rights to accurate medical records and legal kinship? Someone explain how laws are changed. I really want to help make that change. We can prevent the unnecessary losses.

  8. Greg says:

    Marilynn,

    Am I understanding you correctly that you believe not having birth records altered is the lucky part rather than aging out of the Foster Care system? I just want to make sure you are implying that children aging out of the Foster Care system is a good thing. I believe we should look to prevent children from aging out of the Foster Care system and at the same time not alter their OBC.

    Personally I think when it comes to adoption the OBC should never be altered. A person’s biological parents will always be no matter what. Rather than having a replacement document I believe there should be an accompanying document when a child is adopted that states who the child’s legal parents are. That provides all parties what they need in situations where a child is adopted.

  9. marilynn says:

    Janette
    I reunite families separated for all sorts of reasons and I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out how to articulate exactly what rights are interfered with in those situations because “needing to know their roots” just is not a convincing argument for real legal change. If you aged out of foster care without ever having your birth record altered you are among the people I consider lucky. I don’t mean to diminish the trauma of being separated from your family and don’t know if your foster family experience was good or bad for you, but you entered into adulthood with your rights to all your relatives vital records intact also all your inheritance rights intact. Had your bio parents passed prior to your 18th birthday you would have received their social security death benefits. You retained your own identity. One woman I’m helping now is looking for 5 of her siblings. She and her older sister aged out of foster care and luckily they have a right to obtain all the original birth certificates of their siblings so they can get some accurate birth dates and names to work with. I’ve only found one of the sisters but were it not for the eldest aging out of care it would be much harder. It is always best when the biological parents are named on the birth records of their offspring and if those birth records are never altered. Like you were saying you are currently prevented your rights to access your siblings vital records is being interfered with because their birth records were ammended upon adoption and now your right to identifying information on your siblings their birth marriage and death records is being blocked. The rights of entire families are interfered with placing whole families in a compromised position unable to access vital information about themselves in relation to their family. If your sister had been born over seas and was living with foreign adoptive parents and she wanted to immigrate you should be able to sponsor her but because your birth records don’t match her right to be recognized as the U.S. Citizen she really is would be hampered.

    If we adjusted the Uniform Parentage act to state that people are the parents of their own offspring regardless of their intentions and regardless whether or not their parental authority over the child has been terminated because legal recognition of other family relationships hinges upon the parent being recorded on the birth record. This is a matter of public health safety and welfare, it is not a statement of whether or not the biological parents are fit to raise children. Nobody else has a right to conceal the fact that they have offspring, everyone is required to be named as a parent on their offspring’s birth records, their is no privacy in this regard for anyone else. Marital presumption has allowed for fraud to go on and false presumption to stand and in those cases individuals impacted should have the right to request corrected medical and vital records if they can provide dna evidence of their kinship.

    Again this is not about who does the work of raising the child or who ‘deserves’ the title based on sweat equity. Naming biological parents as parents is critical because the flow of accurate vital information and accurate vital statistics is impossible without it. If we don’t stop falsifying vital records and amending them in the case of adoption we should just scrap the birth certificate altogether. If it makes no difference if the child is their offspring or not why bother with court approved adoption at all? Let people just contract in and out of parenthood privately and if adopted people and their relatives don’t deserve accurate medical records then nobody else does either. If it’s good enough for adopted people and donor offspring then lets make it policy and stop using dna tests in child support cases. Let’s settle up and see equal rights in this area. Again has nothing to do with who people bond with emotionally as parents.

  10. Janettee says:

    The older of my two adopted foster siblings (who are biological sisters) just posted a photo (which I’m not going to post here) of her three youngest bio siblings, who I believe still live at home… Her caption, I think, is really relevant to this conversation…

    “I remember the day i met these three loves they r my birth brother and two sisters we have our ups and downs but i still have hella of love wont forget the damage but will forgive cause they are my blood ….”

  11. Janettee says:

    I have legal ties to *neither, not either.

  12. Janettee says:

    P.S. I didn’t think about it now, but I also am a victim of this… I have an adopted sister (from my father’s first marriage) whom I’ve never met, and a half sister (from my mother before my father came into her life) that was adopted at birth. I have legal ties to either, and barely even have emotional ties to the one I’ve met. Now, she and I are one super toxic combination, so perhaps it’s a good thing we didn’t grow up together… And my grandmother (who adopted her) was verbally (and sometimes physically) abusive to me when I would visit, so I’m pretty glad she didn’t adopt me too… But had there been a better family to adopt my sister, maybe EVERYTHING would have been different between us.

  13. Janettee says:

    Marilynn, I totally agree! Your point goes right along with a blog post I wrote back in May about being a “legal orphan” once I “aged out” of foster care, not having been adopted.

    I’d appreciate it if you’d be so kind as to leave a comment regarding how “legal orphanhood” relates in the case of siblings adopted by separate families and/or where one or more children simply “aged out” of the foster care system without legal ties to their other siblings.

    You can read the post here: http://strengtheningfamilieschanginglives.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/i-wish-i-wasnt-a-legal-orphan/

  14. Michelle says:

    Very true! I can imagine that it is a very difficult decision, considering everyone involved (the adopted kids, the sibling/s, the parents).

  15. Heidi says:

    Although it needs to be said — depending on what happened to the kids prior to coming into care — even this may be problematic, as we found out the hard way. If for example, older sibling were abusing younger ones, continuing contact can keep the younger ones from working through their issues. (Their highest priority would be maintaining contact with the sibling, and their loyalty to that sibling.)

  16. Michelle says:

    We adopted our two boys as a sibling group from foster care.
    I’m so glad we adopted our boys together–they argue and get into spats like any siblings close in age tend to do, but have an ultimately close bond that I can’t imagine us severing. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and as Jannette mentioned above, sometimes it *isn’t* the best decision to keep siblings together, but it was the right decision for us, and I’m glad we have both boys in our lives as our forever sons and brothers to each other. 🙂

    • Michelle, I think the harder decision is for parents faced with the decision to adopt a subsequently born sibling. If they want more kids, it is often a no-brainer. But what if they feel that their family is complete? Hard decision.

  17. marilynn says:

    I reunite separated families of all sorts for free and I only can say from the back end that even if adoptive parents opt not to adopt and raise any new siblings born after the child they adopted, it does not mean their family is not growing – they just are not the one’s raising those kids. Their family that they’ve put together is growing and siblings are being added to the fold that they will have to be mindful of and care about and make an effort to reach out to them. Their family grows as the family of the child they adopted grows. It’s a peculiar position in fact I don’t think that there is a word for “my siblings adoptive parents” yet. Maybe it would be closer to an an in-law than a step parent. adoptinlaws? Whatever the case I’d think their birthdays would be on the card list and they’d be on the list of people to worry about who goes to whose house for Christmas and Thanksgiving. I don’t think adoptive parents would owe it to the kid they are raising to take in another child but they really have no choice but to take them on in terms of making them as important to visit and keep in contact with as any of their own relatives which are the child’s relatives by adoption. Their relatives should be kept front and center on a par with the adoptive relatives so that they feel included for who they really are which is someone that came to them with a bunch of their own relatives already. I don’t think an adopted person would be upset the people raising them did not take their sibling if every effort was made to treat them as family otherwise. People have financial limits.

  18. Robyn says:

    DS’s birthmom became pregnant when he was almost 3, but chose to parent. We could not have adopted his sibling at that time – I had just started a new job, and DH was close to losing his.
    Both of my children’s birth mothers have other children whom they have not placed for adoption. I wrote a blog post once about worrying about what would happen to their siblings if anything happens to their (birth) mothers. The children who are older than my DS have significant special needs, and we’re not equipped to deal with that. The others are in between DS and DD, and I don’t know what we would do. I know DS really wants his siblings to come live with us.
    It’s really tough, and there really isn’t an answer that’s right for everyone.

    • I have heard from other adoptive parents that their child/ren have expressed the wish that their bio sibling could live with them. I liked what Marilyn had to say about establishing a relationship with the family that adopts (or birthparent who parents) the sibling, so the children have the basis for an ongoing relationship as adults.

  19. Greg says:

    C,

    This piece has nothing to do with what you are talking about. This piece is about situations where one child has been adopted and whether those AParents would then adopt siblings who are available for adoption for whatever reason. Similar to what you see in Foster care where sibling groups are available for adoption.

    It’s interesting to read stories of those who have adopted from Foster Care and their experiences. My question to those who have what are the positive and negatives you have seen from it and are they better off being separated?

  20. @c. Actually, there are other possibilities about “serial” birthmoms. We all have our areas of emotional need and emotional brokenness. We all look for love, and sometimes not in the best of places. While adoption is never the “perfect” solution, it can spare the children of a woman unprepared to parent a world of trauma in the form of abuse and neglect.

  21. Suzanne says:

    Sorry about all these typos: *should *adoptees *the *one

  22. Suzanne says:

    Know your limits. My husband and his wife had planned to adopt one baby but the birth parents had two more they gave away. The birth mother had even said her five older kids were difficult and “beginning to get in trouble” yet my husband amd his ex took each new baby becauae they didn’t want them separated. As teens the adoptive mom literally abandoned them because they were too much. She doesn’t work, I do yet we took them in. She has admitted now that she ahould never have adopted three kids. It was a good-sounding idea that didn’t play out well for the adopteea or tje adoptive mom. Maybe I’m the lucky ine.

  23. Janettee says:

    One of my foster mothers (the one I call and consider “Mom”) adopted a baby right after birth in 1987. Then she started taking in foster children. I arrived around 1990, although I ended up leaving in 1993 because her father had Alzheimer’s, had to move in, and was becoming violent towards me.

    Around 1998, I moved back in. Around that same time, she found out the biological mother of my younger sister had had another baby. At the time, I think she was two or three…

    My older sister and her husband made the decision to adopt her, but when they decided to divorce, they changed their minds and my mom took her instead.

    My sisters have had a lot of the same issues growing up… Interested in sex way too early, drugs, stealing, etc… My youngest sister got pregnant at age 12. Shortly after she decided adoption was better for her daughter, there was an incident and she was diagnosed with Bipolar.

    Her older sister has been in and out of court about theft and drugs since she was a preteen… This ultimately resulted in her losing her daughter to child welfare.

    Both sisters have been in contact with their bio family since they were teens. The bio family has two younger girls still in the home… One a few years younger than my youngest sister (so probably 15-16 now), and one who is likely a preteen now.

    The oldest of the two girls still at home briefly moved in with my mother before the youngest got pregnant, but they got in too much trouble together so my mom made the decision not to keep them together.

    Sometimes it really isn’t best to keep siblings together. My sisters likely would have had similar issues no matter if they were together or not, but they might also have stabilized without each other… We will never know.

  24. Whole Child says:

    I agree with Heidi that when siblings go through abuse and trauma together they OFTEN need to be separated in order to heal and not trigger each other. So many disruptions are simply b/c the kids never should have been placed together.

  25. c says:

    If possible, I would much prefer my bmom to be raising any sibling. My own siblings (twins) were premature and did not survive but I am sure she was going to parent them and I think I would have felt a bit ‘betrayed” if she had chosen adoption again. That is my opinion based ony my own bmom and her intrinsic qualities – other adoptees may not care so much.

    I do wonder about “serial” birthmothers. Are they mostly CPS cases? Or at the other end, are they bmoms who were so “successfully” counselled with their first relinquished babies that they then think that adoption is the “only” loving option? I personally would be concerned by an agency, attorney or facilitator that had a large number of “serial” birthmothers because I would wonder exactly how the emoms are being counselled and certainly some facilitators raise red flags.

  26. This article is about adopting infants born subsequently, but I’d also suggest that there may be times — such as when the children come from foster care out of situations of sexual abuse — when separating older children may be in the best interest of those kids. Even raising them like cousins (staying n touch with the other adoptive family) may turn out to be too much contact. If you are considering this, be sure to get the advice of mental health professionals who can assist you in setting up an appropriate safety plan, and give you adequate training in what behaviors to look for. The dangers are too great.

  27. c says:

    “This piece has nothing to do with what you are talking about.”

    Actually, Greg, I didn’t make it clear but I am quite aware that many of the women who “place” through the private system are women already “in the system” or with families in the system, whether due to mental ilness or drug addition, who would otherwise have relinquished their children through the public system. These are often the ones who do relinquish multiple times due to difficult situations. These women can be treated very well by the private system and of course in many ways that is a good thing.

    However, I do feel that some (not all) of the private agencies can deliberately create such a “positive” atmosphere during the woman’s pregnancy that those women who might have certain types of mental illnesses can end up wanting that “positive” experience time and time again and do get pregnant deliberately in order to achieve that experience. I am saying that even though an agency should treat their emoms well, they need to be responsible in how they deal with emoms who do have certain mental disorders.

    Also, I’m not just talking about bmoms who have placed twice or even 3 times. I’m talking about those who place 10 times and some agencies/facilitators seem to encourage that practice – that’s why I said it can be a red flag if an agency talks with pride of the number of serial bmoms they have.

    A good agency who truly cared about their bmoms and children would actually never want to see their clients again re other pregnancies – then they know they’ve done a good job – i.e. they would help their clients improve their situation, whether by helping with contraception, helping with getting out of a difficult situation etc (this is regardless of whether they place). However, there are agencies/facilitators who look forward to these women coming back, thus creating a ready supply of babies for their clients. I have a particular small agency in mind when I say this – many of their bmoms are “from the system” but I also think that they “enable” the bmoms so that they will keep coming back.

  28. c says:

    “@c. Actually, there are other possibilities about “serial” birthmoms. We all have our areas of emotional need and emotional brokenness. We all look for love, and sometimes not in the best of places. While adoption is never the “perfect” solution, it can spare the children of a woman unprepared to parent a world of trauma in the form of abuse and neglect”

    I do get what you mean Heidi and I also realise that in some cases, there is not much that can be done.

    However, one of the main complaints of many bmoms, whatever their feelings about their adoption, is that for many of them, they didn’t receive much counselling re their general situation. As I said in a previous post, a good agency would want to make sure that they helped their emom clients to improve their lives in such a way that regardless of whether they placed or not, they would be in at least a slightly better position than before. Before anyone accuses me of being naive, what I mean is that when a NON-PREGNANT person in difficulties goes to a human services agency for help, they receive help re their general situation and hopefully, they are in a slight better position to face the future. However, when a PREGNANT person in difficulties goes looking for help, often the concentration can be mostly on the pregnancy so that the client can end up being in exactly the same position or even worse than before they contacted the agency.

    So to me, I do believe the best agencies, private, public, etc are those who treat their pregnant clients on a holistic basis. Many of you may well have adopted from agencies like that. However, there are agencies that don’t really do much to help their clients improve their general lives at all.

  29. Greg says:

    C,

    That is completely untrue how non pregnant people receive the help they need when they contact a human services agency for help. All you have to do is take a look at the rehoming situations where adoptive parents in some cases are unprepared to handle difficult situations. I think it’s completely unfair for you to demonize those people and think that only pregnant people are the ones not getting help.

    A good agency will help both sets of adults not just one set. If they help enable pregnant women to be irresponsible just so they can keep the child leading to situations where CPS gets involved they aren’t helping the general lives of the children. If these agencies don’t help prepare and support adoptive parents for the challenges they may face then they aren’t improving the general lives of those children.

  30. c says:

    As usual, you completely miss the point. First of all, I was referring to “women in general” when I said that, I wasn’t even talking about adoption. Also, by “human services agency”, I am actually referring to charities, not just government agencies. For example, in the US, the Volunteers of America are what one might call a human services agency in that they help with a wide range of services – here in Australia, there are charities like Anglicare/Centacare (the charity arms of the major churches). Thus if a person in trouble contacts them asking for help re particular issues, those agencies will do their best to help those people with those issues. Where being pregnant can be a “problem” is that when a pregnant person who also has other issues contacts an adoption agency, their “other issues” may well be pushed to the rear. This is why I think adoptionis best done as an “auxillary service” by a “human service agency” such as VOA, Centacare, Anglicare etc.

    As you will see from above, I was talking in general about non-pregnant people with issues having their issues addressed and how being pregnant can mean that the other issues are not always addressed. How you managed to interpret that as demonising adoptive parents who can’t access services is beyond me.

  31. c says:

    Btw I also wanted to point out that I actually had myself in mind when I said this:

    “Before anyone accuses me of being naive, what I mean is that when a NON-PREGNANT person in difficulties goes to a human services agency for help, they receive help re their general situation and hopefully, they are in a slight better position to face the future.”

    That’s because there was a time 20 years ago that I ended up homeless and I was able to turn to Anglicare for help and they helped me get on my feet.

  32. marilynn says:

    Something that we don’t often think of is that the law is quite cruel to adopted people in terms of not recognizing them as being kin to their own relatives anymore if they are adopted. This can impact siblings long after adoptive parents and parents are passed away in when one sibling might wish to care for a disabled sibling and would be denied family leave act or denied the ability to claim their sibling as a dependent relative on their taxes or denied time off work to attend a funeral. So yes adopting their siblings will allow them to exercise their rights to benefits that legal kinship brings. That burden is too heavy though for adoptive parents to bear though if they had not planned on raising any additional children so I do think making every effort to operate like extended families tend to with visits and parties and emails and facebook is important. Also active sharing of school information and medical information and possibly sharing the same pediatricians dentists and attending the same schools could recreate some of the advantages siblings have over only children. Obviously only children are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to not having others who have gone through sicknesses or school problems etc that they can learn from and possibly cut short those problems head them off at the pass. There are also discounts on things like braces if three kids need them and they go to the same orthodontist. Hand-me down clothing and other things of the like are helpful too. Even if the older siblings are dangerous to be around I’d think sharing physicians and dentists would be wise or at least have your pediatrician in contact with theirs. You’d have to just think like you have more kids cause you do, its just someone else is raising the other ones.

    A last note about those cruel laws that don’t recognize adopted people as members of their own family in addition to their adoptive families… Individual adoptive parents can’t do anything about those laws all by themselves but they can think to themselves, hey this is not fair, this is not what I want for a child that I adopt in their future and do what they can at home to make everyone related to that kid be treated like they treat their own out-side-the house family and think about working to change the laws. Imagine they can’t sponsor their own sibling for citizenship later on in life stuff like that. These changes would not alter the experience for the adoptive parents but would make a world of difference later on in life in how adopted people feel about having been adopted. You can help make life better for them and for their siblings in the long run even if you don’t take them in and raise them yourselves.

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