4 facts about post-adoption contact May 18, 2017 by Sara Werner. The Adoption UK study on post-adoption contact in Northern Ireland (MacDonald, 2017) identified that face-to-face arrangements frequently characterised sibling contact, especially when siblings were also living in adoptive families or were fostered. Boyle, C. 2017. Post-adoption contact should be considered only in relation to the needs and best interests of the child, with no presumption for or against allowing contact. The maintenance of sibling contact… Let us review your familyâs situation today and explain the first steps you would need to take to seek custody of a sibling. I see this is an old thread and haven't read anyone's post here but yours. My second short point relates to post-adoption contact. Three powerful assumptions may outweigh the promotion of anything other than indirect contact: that expectations of direct contact will deter potential adopters; that post-adoption contact should and can … The sibling can sue for ongoing contact. Face to face meetings may not always be wanted by children or be practical or appropriate for a period of time. These comprised: (i) talking openly about adoption; (ii) children’s reactions to contact; (iii) support for contact and (iv) rapport between families. An Exploration of Students’ Experiences of External Supervision, Snapshot of Social Work in China: Outcomes of Stakeholder Competition, Racial Microaggressions at Work: Reflections from Black African Professionals in Australia, A Qualitative Interpretive Meta-Synthesis of Military-Connected Spousal Abuse Survivor Narratives, About the British Association of Social Workers, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adoption-statutory-guidance-2013, https://bettercarenetwork.org/sites/default/files/The%20Role%20of%20the%20Social%20Worker%20in%20Adoption%20Enquiry.pdf, https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Louise_Hartley2/publication/337171004_THE_JOYS_AND_CHALLENGES_OF_ADOPTIVE_FAMILY_LIFE_A_SURVEY_OF_ADOPTIVE_PARENTS_IN_THE_YORKSHIRE_AND_HUMBERSIDE_REGION/links/5dc9a95992851c818046aeae/THE-JOYS-AND-CHALLENGES-OF-ADOPTIVE-FAMILY-LIFE-A-SURVEY-OF-ADOPTIVE-PARENTS-IN-THE-YORKSHIRE-AND-HUMBERSIDE-REGION.pdf, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/, Receive exclusive offers and updates from Oxford Academic. 2018. BACKGROUND For California’s foster children and youth, adoption is one of the desired outcomes that the state child welfare system strives to achieve. siblings born after children are placed for adoption). Siblings can continue to be a source of support in adult life. Found in: Family, Local Government. The parents and carers of siblings may also need similar help to think though the pros and cons of sibling contact. Some may charge a nominal fee. Adopted children’s online presence may provide opportunities to contact, or receive contact from, siblings living elsewhere. Think about the goals of contact when deciding on how much and what type of contact. A shared family form, with similar interests and concerns related to the care of their connected children can sometimes lead to strong bonds between carers and mutual support for each other. Older birth siblings, particularly those who have helped look after their younger brother/s and sister/s, may experience strong feelings of loss and anxiety when younger siblings are adopted. https://contact.rip.org.uk/further-reading/, https://www.frg.org.uk/images/PDFS/siblings-in-care-final-report-january-2015.pdf, https://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/policy-institute/scwru/mrc/events2015/27Jan15-LMasonandAGupta.pdf, http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/siblings-contact-and-law-overlooked-relationship, http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/10952/1/Keeping%20in%20touch.pdf, https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/39144/1/2012OttawayHCPhD.pdf. A systematic review, Psychological Issues in Adoption: Research and Practice, Making sense of siblings: Connections and severances in post‐adoption contact, Rights and relationships of children who are adopted from care, International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, The Role of the Social Worker in Adoption – Ethics and Human Rights: An Enquiry, Siblings are special: Initial test of a new approach for preventing youth behavior problems, Adoptive family experiences of post-adoption contact in an Internet era, Sibling connections: The importance of nurturing sibling bonds in the foster care system, Sibling relationships in adoptive and fostering families: A review of the international research literature. Social media did not emerge as an immediate concern, but several families were worried about the future. When siblings are placed in other adoptive families or long term foster care, shared interests and concerns can sometimes lead to strong bonds between parents/carers and mutual support for each other. I think I get on alright with her, and so I think it goes alright… I usually take some photographs along, give those to Nan and say, ‘They’re for you to keep.’ We’ve got each other’s mobile numbers now (Interview). SETTLEMIRE FORMATTED.DOCX (DO NOT DELETE) 12/5/2011 2:53 PM 2011 POST-ADOPTION CONTACT BETWEEN SIBLINGS 167 those children had four or more siblings.11 Having recognized the importance of the sibling relationship,12 New Jersey requires in its Child Placement Bill of Rights Act13 that the State make “best efforts” to place siblings … Often a simple opportunity to share feelings can make a considerable difference to contact satisfaction. This can be difficult for some children to manage, but sometimes these different views can provide a good opportunity for adoptive parents to talk to their child about their family situation. Unfortunately, siblings in foster care sometimes are separated through the adoption process. This could expose them to dangers of unsolicited communication from others in the birth family, including with those they do not want contact. Cossar, J. and Neil, E. 2013. Some parents had wanted to honour their promise to retain contact with siblings, so had written without involving their child. Sometimes sibling contact may bring feelings of sadness and loss to the surface, as visits involve parting from siblings again. contact. (2012) Children’s Care Monitor 2011: Children on the State of Social Care in England, Manchester, Ofsted. This paper examines the experience of post‐adoption direct sibling contact from the perspectives of adoptive parents and birth relatives, including adult siblings. There were reports of parents being too emotionally exhausted to maintain contact, or troubled by the experience: I find it really difficult having contact. It is also open to the court to attach conditions to an adoption order, including to provide for post-adoption contact with siblings and natural parents. The British Journal of Social Work. 6 posts â¢ Page 1 of 1. winni Posts: 1019 Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2006 11:34 pm. Unless placed together for adoption, children cease to have a legal relationsâ¦ Are you an adopted person who was separated from your birth siblings… In the UK, contact arrangements between adopted children and birth siblings living elsewhere usually take one of two forms: (i) direct, or, face-to-face contact; and (ii) indirect, or, letterbox contact, where letters or cards (passed through an adoption agency) are exchanged between the adoptive family and the sibling(s). There are widespread assumptions that the stability of adoption placements will be undermined by contact with siblings still living with or in contact with their birth relatives; that expectations of direct contact will deter potential adopters; and that post-adoption contact should only take place with the … Children and Youth Services Review, 84, pp.247-254. These cases require special attention. In some cases interaction between siblings may need to be encouraged to help build relationships and ideal venues will facilitate communication (such as a theme park or zoo). We examined how adoptive families manage and respond to contact with children’s birth siblings living elsewhere within a nationally representative sample of 96 families who adopted a child between 01 July 2014 and 31 July 2015. In addition, children's experiences were reported via their adoptive parents. The information shared by the adoptive families illustrates the challenges they faced in promoting sibling contact; in weighing up the complexities associated with managing contact in the short term against the anticipated benefit for their child in the longer term; of balancing a commitment to sibling contact with the psychological needs of their child; and of organising contact within the context of interactions with other families involved and social work professionals. Of the N = 374 children placed for adoption in the study period, 325 (87 per cent) were known to have at least one brother or sister (full or half-sibling). 2015. Parents complained about inappropriate, missing and inaccurate information. Logan, J. and Smith, C. 2005. Adopted children and children in care generally want contact with their separated siblings. It might be assumed that some of the adoptive families were coping satisfactorily with the contact experience; however, for others, it might be that plans for direct sibling contact had been abandoned. Even when a child is separated from siblings, sibling contact can help provide links to a child’s birth family. Loss of sibling relationship as a consequence of adoption is widespread. Sibling conversations can also create tensions or pose risks (for example a sibling telling a birth parent where the adopted child lives). Adoption alters a childâs kinship network, including those connections with siblings. I like the life story idea… it’s trying to find that balance between giving the child enough information so that they know who they are and they understand their identity and that they’ve got a joint identity really… we don’t want [Child] ever to come to us and say, ‘You didn’t keep up contact with my siblings’. The findings that follow from the interviews and open-ended responses in the Wave 4 questionnaire, highlight the varied opportunities and diverse experiences of sibling contact in the cohort of adopted children. Making sense of siblings: connections and severances in post-adoption contact. Think about if and how the venue and activities might enable children to interact. We aimed to: (i) describe the birth sibling networks and associated contact experiences within a cohort of children placed for adoption between 01 July 2014 and 31 July 2015; (ii) determine the extent to which plans for contact between the adopted children and birth siblings living elsewhere materialised over time; and (iii) thematically analyse adoptive parents’ views and experiences of the contact, together with consideration of matters that had influenced (prevented, hindered and/or enabled) contact between the adopted child and their birth siblings. Several parents described the contact in only positive terms, others described children being both comforted and troubled by it: Brothers live down the road. September 2017;47(6):1781-1799. British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering. They did not provide any assistance to facilitate contact, nor engage in any discussion about the possibility. Sarah Meakings, Amy L Paine, Katherine H Shelton, Birth Sibling Relationships after Adoption: Experiences of Contact with Brothers and Sisters Living Elsewhere, The British Journal of Social Work, , bcaa053, https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcaa053. Another mother, who felt she had little in common with the adopters of her son’s sibling, was not confident that contact arrangements would be maintained: I think they’ve quite different opinions and values to us, so it will be interesting to see [how the contact arrangements evolve]. Even if a child can’t stay in touch with all their siblings, they are likely to value this information about them. Current adoption practice usually carries an expectation of openness, in terms of contact between adoptive and birth families and the extent to which adoption is openly discussed within the adoptive family (Jones, 2016). at issue, so too are siblings’ interests likely to be limited by those State interests, especially since they are particularly implicated in the foster care context. Contact plans were often seen as inflexible, with formalised and infrequent meetings. More occasionally, adoptive parents described the impact of contact on their well-being, as they tried to balance the benefits of sibling contact for their child, against their own capacity to engage with arrangements. Brodzinsky (2005) described the practice of exploring the meaning of adoption within the adoptive family as ‘communicative openness’. Lower frequency meetings or indirect forms of contact such as letters, phone calls, or exchanges on social media may be appropriate in the short term. whether the judge orders that ongoing contact is going to have to do with whether itâs in the best interest of the children. The 96 families who returned the initial questionnaire at 4 months post-placement formed the study panel and were followed up longitudinally over four time points post-placement. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide, This PDF is available to Subscribers Only. In such cases the most helpful approach may be to encourage parents/ relatives/ carers to develop their own ideas and solutions about how best to achieve the goals of contact. , Ottaway H. There were no recorded cases of paternal half-siblings placed together for adoption during the study period. When contact was reported to be working well, parents commented on the positive relationships with the parents or carers of their child’s sibling(s). Angel, BØ. What do we know about the sibling networks of adopted children? However, parental fears about the harmful consequences of sibling contact were not always founded. Although the importance of maintaining an adopted child’s relationship(s) with their birth sibling(s) living elsewhere is emphasised in UK national guidance, very little is known about how children’s plans and arrangements for contact unfold over time. More work is needed to establish how best to prepare and support all children as they transition to their new family arrangement. However, the local authority seemed to be offering an ‘all or nothing’ opportunity. If contact is wanted in order to enable siblings to build or sustain their relationship, face-to-face contact is likely to be more appropriate than indirect contact. Some parents expressed concerns that contact might be hurtful or destructive. The British Journal of Social Work. British Journal of Social Work, 26, pp.809-22. Where there is a strong need for siblings to stay in touch with each other after adoption, this should be given high priority in the matching process. [We have received] some letters and cards, but they always arrive when not agreed, always contain things they shouldn’t (Wave 4). By Dawn J. Some parents expressed frustration at the length of time it had taken for the agencies to mediate. Some may charge a nominal fee. Redefining family relationships following adoption: adoptive parents’ perspectives on the changing nature of kinship between adoptees and birth relatives. Several parents reported feeling frustrated by not knowing the contact intentions of the sibling’s family; some did not know why contact had been refused or withdrawn. My daughter becomes very anxious for weeks before contact and has suffered stress migraines as a result. The significance and importance of sibling relationships for a child should feature in contact planning. Some may need help dealing with feelings of loss. Nevertheless, the absence of life story work was not always a barrier to contact. The sibling relationship in the context of child maltreatment: What do we know? They may need to be reassured with photos and videos or simply information about their siblings if meetings are not practical, unsafe or not wanted. Just one mother identified an unmet support need to help facilitate contact with a recently born sibling. Ofsted. The idea of reviewing contact plans, post-adoption has also been suggested by the judiciary and in a recent publication from the Nuffield Foundation. Open communication between the families was also considered important. (Ed.). In the main, parents were committed to supporting direct sibling contact and usually plans for such contact had materialised four years post-placement. Alternative methods of maintaining some connection could be considered in such cases (including through adult only meetings or other methods of communication). With evidence that in most cases sibling contact is wanted by children and can be rewarding and beneficial, it should generally be considered, promoted and supported (at least with key siblings) unless there is good reason for it not to occur. If you are an adult sibling or a sibling who still lives at home with your birth parents, and you want to visit with a brother or sister who is in placement, you can call the DCFS Advocacy Office for Children and Families and ask about creating a Post Permanency Sibling Contact Agreement. Child Abuse Review, 25(5), 373-385. Contact refers to any kind of contact between an adoptee and their birth family. Young people prevented from seeing or not able to see siblings may make contact over social media exposing them to dangers of unsolicited communication from others in the birth family with whom they do not want contact. Some less complex sibling contact situations may require little support (for example visits between two adoptive families who get on well). 2006. Some forms of sibling contact can be problematic or negative when pre-existing problems in the sibling relationships are not addressed. Children placed apart from brothers and sisters may have little, or possibly no, further direct contact with siblings. Section 51A of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 now specifically allows for individuals to make applications for post-adoption contact if they are related to the children. Children in Permanent Placement and Contact with Their Birth Relatives, Adoptive Parents’ Experiences of Post Adoption Contact and Their Support Needs, The influence of adoption on sibling relationships: Experiences and support needs of newly formed adoptive families, The support needs and experiences of newly formed adoptive families: Findings from the Wales Adoption Study, Siblings, Contact and the Law: An Overlooked Relationship, We are Family: Sibling Relationships in Placement and Beyond. Others had not talked about the existence of birth siblings or had shared very little information about them. Adoption legislation in England and Wales (Adoption and Children Act, 2002) sets out a requirement to consider and where appropriate plan, for contact with birth family (including siblings). means contact. http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/10952/1/Keeping%20in%20touch.pdf (accessed 15th May 2018), Ottaway, H. 2012. They may also need a safe space in which to air their worries about sibling contact and to talk through how these worries may be addressed. Although sibling relationships are commonly characterised by both positive and negative dimensions, it is well-established that warm, harmonious sibling interactions are related to positive outcomes in childhood and later life (Feinberg et al., 2013). Selwyn J. Report for the Family Rights Group. Several parents described repeatedly prompting social workers to liaise with the families with whom birth siblings lived so that arrangements could be made. 2 The written agreements specify the type and frequency of contact and are signed by the parties to an adoption prior to finalization. At nine months post-placement, just five children had seen a brother or sister living elsewhere since moving into their adoptive home.
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