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Adopting siblings - things to consider?

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We've recently been approved to adopt 1 or 2 children and in my heart of hearts I never really believed that we could take on 2 children. However a near perfect match has come up for us in the form of 2 baby brothers - one is 18 months and the other 6 months. I feel very emotionally connected to them. If my partner and I could have children biologically, these boys would be them! However I have so many concerns about adopting not only 2 children, but 2 so close in age. I feel like there are so many cons that it's scary. How would we cope, physically, emotionally, mentally, financially?! I wonder if there are any of you out there who could share their experiences of adopting very young siblings? Furthermore could anyone shed any light on things/issues to consider that perhaps we haven't even thought of?


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Pros and cons? Well, it'll be hard. The sheer logistics of two children so close in age will be tricky to manage. Think car journeys, shopping with them, nap times - different sleeping patterns. One dropping one day time nap so awake while you get lo to sleep. Bedtimes! Getting two such young ones to sleep could be tricky. Two lots of nappies! Double buggies so ? Boot space in car?. One still likely to be on formula - one not. At least you'll be able to hand down clothes if they're a year apart as the clothes will match the seasons!


Do they have older sibs? How are they doing? Any issues with them? Why did she have them so close together? Was she drinking, doing drugs, chaotic lifestyle, diagnoses, mental health? What about birth father? Same one or different? His history? Go further back. Grandparents, other birth family members.


Consider genetic issues. One child, for example, with ADHD can be difficult. Two more so. Ditto fasd, Asd etc. Manageable maybe but won't be easy.


Are they together in fc? Do they have a relationship or are they placed separately?


Try to look past them as they are now and think ahead - school, teens.


There are no guarantees of easier/harder with younger/older. I had my three as babies and I'm glad I was able to experience that part of motherhood. Two of mine are close in age - not as close as these two - and in some ways it was easier when they were little because they could do the same activities. Gets harder though as they get older.


What help/support will you have? Hands on help?


I know you say if you could have had biological children, it would be these two but in reality how likely would it have been to have an age gap of just 12 months?


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Hi, Our children have a smaller age gap but did not come as babies so I can't comment on that aspect.

What I am finding difficult at the moment is trying to handle behaviours with 2 of them there. For example if 1 child was being controlling and refusing to get in the car we could not go where we were going or be late. However, if I do this then the other one is also affected and gets upset so I need to (try!) and think of another approach.


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Cor that sounds like a challenge! The closeness in age coupled with them arriving in your home together would give me a lot to think about. Not sure if they have both been in FC since birth but if the older one spent time with BPs and suffered neglect etc then you're likely to have both children operating at the same emotional age which brings its own set of challenges. My bright 5yr old is still stuck in the toddler phase in terms of her emotional development due to the neglect she suffered. I don't have experience of adopting two at the same time and, whilst I was approved for up to two children, I adopted one and am now in the process of adopting a second and I'm so glad I did. I don't know how I would have devoted sufficient time to two children in the early weeks/months. Good luck


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Just to give you a 'pro', my boys are 12 months apart, albeit they came to us at 1 and 2 and from a very secure, loving FC. Yes it's very hard, but if you know no different then you just get on with it. At least they are generally doing the same thing, so I can take them both to the same activities, groups etc rather than finding different things to suit them both. Also, for me the intensity of the relationship if I'd just had 1 child would have been a bit much, especially in the early 'lockdown' stage. I can't imagine having been stuck at home just me and a LO all day every day! But then I'm only a year older than my sister, my husband and his brother are close in age, and all my nieces and nephews come in pairs so I am used to 2 children together.

My 2 have not so far demonstrated any specific areas of need (not to say they won't in future) so they have been relatively 'straightforward'. I never had a young baby so I can't imagine how hard it is dealing with all of that plus a toddler, but I think it all comes down to the specific children and their individual needs. I would never rule out siblings close in age purely due to financial/logistical reasons but if I felt that their needs combined would mean I wouldn't be able to give them each the time and support they needed, then that would be a consideration. Try to find out as much as you can about their in utero experience, how their relationship has been in FC, whether their genetic background may indicate potential future conditions or difficulties. Just arm yourself with as much information as possible to help you decide.

I love having 2! But it wouldn't be for everyone. Good luck x


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when we were approved, we were thinking of taking on a sibling group....but after a long two year search, and having to step back from two links which went all the way to appreciation day, we realised something pretty important.

ultimately, adoption in today's world is not about trying to build your family around your own needs and fantasies, but how you may manage the needs of the child or children you may choose to adopt.

we were finally matched with a single child and couldn't be happier. Its hard work though, far harder than anything you would ever expect, and looking back now, I remember all those longings and fantasies I had as a childless person with a considerable degree of wryness.......I think our world of social media, advertising and such tends to romanticise and glamorise parenthood and doesn't dwell too much on the relentlessness, the grind and the stress.

good luck in your decision, but do spend a lot of time trying to understand the needs of these children, where they come from, the kinds of challenges they might present, and how you might honestly handle the very sudden transition of having to handle two little souls on a 24/7 basis.


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I think I'm being more realistic about how hard it would be with just 1 child, let alone 2 that are so close in age. Biologically they have the same father and mother so they are true siblings which is great. We would always have sought to adopt another child down the line if we only had one initially - this way we avoid disruption down the line by having them at the same time.


One of the most attractive aspects of the boys is that Mum doesn't appear to have abused alcohol or any other substances during her pregnancies. The older boy has speech and language delay but that will be due to inconsistent care/neglect as opposed to anything being biologically amiss. So health-wise they appear to be the most straightforward children we have come across thus far.


I just don't want to end up with a situation that becomes unbearably difficult, where I end up regretting my decision. I know that there is no way of knowing what it will be like until we're in the thick of it. I guess I'm just fearing the worst...


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Doesn't appear to have abused alcohol or drugs? Is that for sure or just a sws guess? How about outside of pregnancies? Mum or dad drinking, doing drugs then?


Specific learning diffs? Any older siblings you could ask about? I have half sibs (and a third). My one half sib has pretty much sailed through to his mid teens with very few issues. His sister not so. I now have two out of three with ASD and it's been a long and constant battle to get them diagnosed, supported, statemented etc. Not to mention the dreaded dla forms. One was hard. Having to go through it all twice has been knackering. Not to mention expensive as we're now in the realms of solicitors and tribunals.


It's a decision only you and your partner can make but go into it with as much information as you can get and as far back as you can delve. Assume nothing!


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hi

I adopted siblings with close age gap ( but they were older when placed) looking back I should have viewed them more like twins as our relationship with them started on the same day - this matters as the oldest has not had the benefit of being with you by himself

Another thing to serious thing to consider is your experience of having siblings ( or not as the case may be) I had more fantasies about this and my partner was more realistic

I presume there is a clear plan to place them together and no suggestion either needs individual attention - check this out first


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Hello there Daddydearest,

We had always been sure we wanted to adopt a sibling group. I am close to my siblings and we have plenty of nieces and nephews between us that we had lots of experience of caring for. I also work with children, so we had an idea about some of the ins and outs of managing more than one child at a time.

However, we expected to be matched with children who were 3+ so when our SW suggested two siblings who were less than a year apart in age with the eldest being 18 months we felt just like you! We had sleepless nights thinking about how we would cope physically, emotionally, mentally, financially. But when we read their CPRs we were hooked and once we agreed the link and saw their photos we were pretty sure it was the right match! Now we know they are definitely the right children for us and most of the time, we are the right parents for them!

It is the very closest you can get to having twins and so purely from a practical point of getting two babies in the car, needing two cots, double buggy, having two sets of nappies to change and managing how quickly the wheelie bin fills up with them(!)… sounds a nightmare, but it is possible and it was/is our norm. We didn’t have time to dwell on how different it would be with just one!

Financially, we have managed. You look out for offers on nappies, wipes – supermarkets often have baby events and one of us would go to the supermarket in the evening and bulk buy! We had lots of toys that came with our children and as many donated from friends and family. We bought some things from e-bay and bought some things new. It has meant that hubby has been a stay-at-home dad for longer than we had anticipated, but we have just made sure we live within our means.

You will be tired, you will be busy but that would be the same with any child who is adopted. Our children came to us with a very established routine which made it easier for us when we were exhausted and working on auto-pilot. It sort of re-set our body clocks to the routine. It’s likely you will have one mover and one who doesn’t get quite so far yet which is helpful. They are likely to still have a nap (though ours didn’t have them at the same time but that meant frazzled mummy got to enjoy a bit of time with them individually!).

You and your partner will really have to look after one another. Two is the perfect number to have one little person each to manage at bath time and for cuddles and milk before bed. For us it was and still is a tag-team operation, especially when you are funnelling in the early days. At the start, our youngest would use the older one as an emotional barometer and also had no interest in me so that meant hubby made a bond there whilst I was bonding with the clingy, koala-like eldest! Also, our eldest being so clingy was a good distraction from thinking about being rejected by our baby (attachment issues after a complicated journey through the care system).

Finally, as a couple, we were both very honest about how we felt about embarking on becoming a family with our two babies (terrified but excited) and I really think that helped us get through the shock of suddenly becoming parents. We knew we were in it together and feeling it equally-ish together!

The fact that you are both making sure you are really thinking this through strikes me that you will make great adoptive parents to whoever becomes your family! Good luck with whatever you decide!


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Morning. I think you'll do what you'll do anyway. But. These are my thoughts. I would not, in modern adoption, advocate taking more than one child at a time. These kids have had trauma beyond the imaginings of most. They will be impacted differently & are obvs different people. Their needs are very individual therefore and it's not going to be a case where you can give the 2:1 support needed to each child

There's a difficult question around trauma bonds which are rife in children who have suffered trauma together. Find out about trauma bonds. If your prospective 2 have one they should not be placed together as they will retraumatise one another.

Think about their trauma timeline. Fill in what you know as to what happened and when and plot which developmental stages will therefore be impacted. The move to you / onto adoption will form part of this and should be counted as further trauma. (Nothing personal to you guys at all, but the loss when they can't process it with speaking must be awful)

I have a friend who has 2 lo's that sort of age. Really, it's like having 2 babies. Lots of family around to support. So maybe look at your support network and if they could help you regularly ?

They will be cute, lovable little fellas but try and keep your head. You'll still make a decision yourselves but I hope you are able to think on some of this and work through some planning ahead

If you've got questions about what I've put by all means pm Smile

All the best


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Thanks for all the replies and input. We are finding it incredibly difficult to decide and swinging from one way of thinking right through to the other. You've all given us even more food for thought. Ultimately, I think it's about getting more information and learning more about these particular boys before we can truly feel able to make a decision.


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Hi!


We are in exactly the same boat.... just wondered if you had reached a decision yet?


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Well we've met with the boys' social workers yesterday. We are the only family they are meeting so we're just waiting to find out if they will proceed with the link - we are VERY keen to! They said they'd let us know by tomorrow (Fri)... !


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Your situation feels like mine but a week ahead! It's such a weird time - good excited times and then proper fear!

Good luck with your decision, let us know on this post if you don't mind?


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It's all going ahead!!!!!!


Surreal, daunting...


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Congratulations!!!


Amazing news x


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Congratulations!!!


Amazing news x


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Thanks! x


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How are you getting on Daddydearest? We are also considering siblings although we are yet to be matched and have the exact same fears. My last pregnancy was with twins which sadly ended so we have already considered the implications of having 2 the same age albeit the reality is likely to be a thousand times what we are imagining in every aspect!


As we are currently the only adopters in our area considering siblings, we were asked about a group of 3 girls this week. Our immediate internal thoughts this this were NO WAY! But as soon as we saw their pictures and profile we were absolutely smitten. Gradually the doubts started creeping in and the more we learnt the more doubts arose until we inevitably had to say no with a heavy heart.


I don't think any of us can know what will be right for us until we are right in the thick of the situation. All we can do is obtain as much information from as many sources as possible and ask lots and lots of questions so that we can make a sensible decision that is right for everyone.


All the very best of luck to you and the boys x


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zippyzoe, thanks for your comment. I think it's so important that you go with your gut and it sound like you made the difficult but right decision regarding the girls. As for us, I keep having moments of sheer panic, but all my friends who are parents say this is perfectly normal! We're meeting the foster carer next week in her home - sadly the boys won't be there, but we wanted to at least get a sense of them through seeing their surroundings, bedrooms etc. We've also had matching panel booked in officially, now so it's full steam ahead!


x


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Hey. Sorry to be a pest - just wondering how things were going with your adoption process for the boys?


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Hi Dadtobe2017, I'm afraid it's not good news. The birth father has put in an appeal to court against the boys' care order. We've spent the last month in limbo with no news whatsoever, with no indication of how long it could take. It's been an agonising wait and we've made the difficult decision to begin the search again...


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Ah no way. So sorry to hear that!

Good luck with the search, fingers crossed that something comes your way soon!!


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