Asked & Answered: Siblings in Different Homes

All responses taken from our Facebook groups: Foster Parenting Toolbox and Kinship Parenting Group.

While agencies typically try to keep siblings together, sometimes they live with separate foster or adoptive families. We asked current foster, adoptive and kinship parents what they do to help keep siblings connected even if they don’t live together. Here’s what they told us:

“Something a worker did that greatly helped my sisters and I was to host various holidays for us and encourage us each to bring a dish we made. As we got older (and eventually my oldest sister had her own apartment but we were still all in different homes) we continued and all went to my sister’s apartment. We would do this around Christmas, 4th of July and Thanksgiving. It was important to have it hosted just for us and at a place that wasn’t in a foster family.”

“We do FaceTime calls, get together for a visit and dinner, have siblings over for a sleepover. Depends on the age and location. Luckily we are within 2 hours.”

“Visits. Attend each other’s events. We attended adoption day for our boys’ older sibling, and fly to where he lives as often as we can for visits. They’ve done a couple sleepovers and our two families are going on a shared vacation before Christmas this year. It’s a lot of work and $$, but that is the commitment we signed up for.”

“We go on weekend camping trips. We have a camper and the other family gets a cabin. We do parks. We both have zoo passes. We try to do activities that they can have a little separation when they get overwhelmed. Our biggest mistake was too short of visits. We do birthdays and some holidays together.”

“FaceTime, Minecraft play dates, weekend sleep overs. Our children’s siblings are older and have done a lot of work on healing so when our kid has a tough time dealing with things related to their past they call a big sibling for emotional support. They find it comforting to talk to someone they trust that has shared experiences.

I have to say having a relationship with the children’s older siblings has been invaluable for all of us.”

“We use Kid Messenger (they literally chat daily) and plan so we attend the same events (dog shows, kid fairs, etc) and make plans for the two families to get together at one another’s homes and once, pre-Covid took a week long vacation together. It’s so vital to the emotional health of all the kids. We live about 90 miles apart so it requires effort but is so worth it.”

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