Caring for the Siblings

Did you have children in your family before adding more through adoption or foster care?

I’ve worked with many parents who are struggling with the changes in their families. Often, like me, they went into foster care and adoption because they loved being parents to the kids already in their families. They had a passion for serving children and felt foster care and adoption were the best way to do that.

Like you, we added children to our family who had experienced significant adversity and trauma. We knew it would not be easy, but we dug in to the hard work of therapeutic parenting. It wasn’t long before Russ and I came to the realization that we needed to learn an entirely new way of parenting.

So we did. We worked very hard to help our new children heal. We figured our other kids were healthy, had a good foundation, and had each other. They would weather the storm. But the needs of our new children were overwhelming and there was no end in sight.

We were a few years into being adoptive parents when we realized how much our original crew of kids was suffering. This began a long conversation with them as a group and individually. We came to realize that not only had our new children experienced trauma, now all of our children had experienced it.

Our kids had lost access to us. We’d unintentionally left them unprotected and unable to process what was happening in our family. This is a great sorrow to us.

Our kids had lost access to us. We’d unintentionally left them unprotected and unable to process what was happening in our family. Click To Tweet

Over the years my passion to address the needs of the siblings has grown. I began talking with other parents and have heard from 60 siblings who took a survey I created.

I want to be clear that I’m not talking about kids who joined the family by birth in contrast to those who joined  through foster care or adoption. I’m talking about kids who were in a stable family, however it was formed, when new children with early trauma joined the family.

My daughter, Annarose, and I recently did a live webinar where we honestly discussed her experience, the gap between what she expected life with new siblings to be like versus the reality of how our family was changed. We discuss the good and the hard.

We share our best tips for keeping all of your kids healthy by making sure their voices are not lost in the sea of needs.

My favorite part is when Annarose talks about how adoption and foster care have shaped her as a person.

If your children are struggling or if you find yourself grieving over the losses they’ve experienced, click here to check out the webinar.

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