Ask AF: Should We Try to Adopt Our Children's Biological Sibling?

"Our children have a younger sibling in a different foster home. Should we fight to get custody of this child, whom we're told has a strong bond with her foster parents and foster siblings, or leave things be?"

Q: We recently adopted siblings who have a six-month-old sister who is still in foster care. We weren’t considered for placement for this child when she was born because we were on hold from another adoption. We were heartbroken. Should we fight to get custody of this child, whom we’re told has a strong bond with her foster parents and foster siblings, or leave things be? I’ve contacted the baby’s foster parents to see if we can at least have visits, but have had no luck.


Members of respond:

“I would contact the social worker about visits. Starting that process should give you a good idea of where things stand with the foster parents and whether they are even considering adoption. You should also be able to tell how the county feels about the siblings’ relationship.”

“I have mixed feelings on this. If the foster parents are bonded and want to adopt, I think that may be the best option; your children have not known the baby and have not bonded. I would continue to try for visits and, if that’s not possible, see if the adoptive parents would at least be willing to exchange updates.”

“It’s a tough situation and really unfortunate the baby couldn’t be placed with you from the beginning. While it’s ideal for biological siblings to be together, I think it’s more important that the child (all children) have as little disruption as possible. While hard on your end, it’s probably in the best interest of the baby to stay where she is unless the foster parents aren’t considering adoption. Try to think of it from the foster family’s perspective and also that of the baby as she grows up. I’m guessing the foster parents are hesitant because they know or fear that you will want custody of her.”

“In a perfect world, the kids would have been together from the start. Of course, if the world were perfect, we wouldn’t need foster care or adoption. Babies bond to Mom first, then Dad, then siblings. Some people, whether adopted or not, don’t even speak to siblings as adults; others are very close. Destroying a parental bond, on the other hand, can cause life long issues. Think of this: If a father had an affair and there was a baby, would you remove the baby from a birth mom to be with siblings? Of course not. To the baby, the foster parents are the only parenting parents she has known. It’s a very difficult situation.”



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