As we look back at 2015 and into the new year, we are overwhelmed with the amazingly happy stories that have been created for siblings who wait. There were many children this year who needed extra attention and flexible families in order to find permanent, loving homes. The children in these sibling groups have so much hope and promise, and we are so thankful to our friends, families and partners who helped us advocate for them and match them with adoptive families.
Because of you, children have found loving, permanent families and bright futures.
This Spring, Non-Traditional Siblings Were Matched with a Family
In December of 2014, we started advocating for two boys, H and Y, whom our staff met on an orphanage visit in Asia. Many times, when children are institutionalized within orphanages, group homes, or a foster system, they grow up unattached to any single caretaker or loving person. But these boys were different. When we met the two boys, we could immediately see that they had grown attached to each other. Though there is no official term, many professionals working with children witness strong familial-like bonds between specific children. This bond is commonly referred to as “Psychological Sibling Relationships.” Children who live, play, and experience life together as siblings over many years bond in exactly the same way as siblings growing up in a family. They are each other’s brothers and sisters.
H and Y conveyed this relationship—H would help Y with his homework, Y would help H with different activities that were more difficult for him due to physical differences, and the two would truly shine when they were in each other’s company. Knowing the two shared a sibling bond, we understood they should ethically be placed in an adoptive family that recognized this relationship and was open to adopting both children. For this reason, we began advocating to find a family who would adopt both boys into their home. It took a few months, but with the help of our readers, Rainbowkids, Red Thread Charities, and so many others, we found an amazing family for H and Y. They have been matched with this family since spring of 2015 and have plans to join them in 2016.
This Summer, Four Brothers Remained Together
In June of this year, we were notified by one of our Latin American partners that they planned to separate four brothers. While everyone understood that the siblings wanted to remain together, the eldest brother had agreed to be separated in a month’s time because he hoped it will improve his brothers’ chances of getting adopted. While the generosity of this boy was courageous, we wanted to make sure that every avenue was exhausted to find the boys a home where they could remain a family together. We began an advocacy campaign highlighting these wonderful boys: boys who loved soccer and football, enjoyed painting and hanging out with friends, or dreamed of becoming a doctor. Because of the outpouring of support from our families, readers, Rainbowkids, and others, we were able to find a family for the boys before the month was up. We are overjoyed to know that in February of 2016—just eight months after being at risk of separation—these boys will be joining an adoptive family, together.
This Winter, Siblings in Foster Care Joined Family and Friends
This year, we were working to find families for a brother and sister living in foster care who could not be placed together but had a strong bond. There were two families who had expressed interest in the children—one in the boy, and one in the girl. The families met with the recruiter from Ampersand and learned their stories. The families got along well, and even thanked each other after the meeting. They told each other how helpful it was to meet another family going through the process.
Both families walked away from the meeting with a strong desire to create a home for the kids—one hoping to provide a home for the brother, the other for the sister. When our social worker and the recruiter told the families they were hopeful this could happen the families grew even more excited. The two families stayed in contact through the collateral meetings and transitions. They would call each other and process how everything was going.
When we moved the kids into their homes, they had already met both sets of parents and knew who their sibling was going to live with. They finalized on December 23 in the same court room, making this “THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!” (an actual quote from the kids).
We are so thankful that these families have grown and flexed to meet the needs of these siblings. The two families trick-or-treat together, they go to each other’s school events, they have play dates, and they spend Christmas together. They went on a road trip all together to visit the kids’ former foster parent, and during finalization, the kids were already making more plans to see one another again.
It amazes us to see this relationship form between two families that may normally never have had a friendship. This, however, has become more than that. This is a family.
Thank you to everyone who has made this year and the joy of these kids possible.