April 15th, 2011
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503222_74416132After a short intermission, I’m back with more for the special need series. In case, you missed the first few posts, you can get caught up by looking here. Today’s special need is found in just about any adoption program in the world – a sibling group. A sibling group is two or more children who are biologically related. Most are usually physically healthy and slightly older. Sibling groups are under the special need category because they are typically difficult to place in permanent homes.

Why? There are a few reasons.
1) There is more than one child.
2) They are usually older than age 5.

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3) Many sibling groups have more than just two children. Due to these reasons, many prospective adoptive parents feel that they are ill equipped to parent a sibling group.

My friends, Sara and Brandon, were such people. Shortly after marrying, they unexpectedly got pregnant and delivered a healthy baby boy. When the time felt right, Sara and Brandon began trying for another baby. After a few years and two IVF rounds, they decided to adopt through the local foster system. They were like many other prospective adoptive parents. They wanted one child under the age of 3. Their social worker told them that their wait would be several years. But, if they were open to a sibling group the youngest child could be under the age of 3. Sara and Brandon decided to go for it. Five months later… they were referred a sibling group of four! The youngest child was six months and the oldest was seven.

It was not an easy transition. Due to the trauma experienced in their birth family, the older two had many behavioral and emotional issues. They did not know how to function in a loving, stable family. They also started noticing jealous, attention seeking behaviors from their biological son. Brandon and Sara sought counseling for their entire family.

For months, they dealt with issues of trauma, abandonment, and attachment. But then one day, they started noticing just the tiniest bit of difference. Their oldest daughter hugged Sara without any kind of prompting. Over the next several weeks, other signs of attachment started popping up and destructive behavior lessened. It took almost one full year for the family to develop a sense of normalcy and it was not easy. It involved counseling, education, and a “we’re not giving up” attitude from Sara and Brandon.

This was five years ago. Since then, Sara and Brandon added another sibling group to their family – a set of 4 year old twin boys and their 8 year old sister from Ethiopia. This, too, was a rough transition. But with education, counseling, and a good attitude, this family of ten is thriving!

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