Siblings Matter, Part 2
This is the second part of a series on the importance of siblings. Read the first part here.
“To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.” - Clara Ortega
In my time working with children in foster care, one of the most poignant comments made was from a young lady. She questioned, if a child only gets to see their siblings for one hour twice a month, how can they know each other or have a relationship with a connection that equals one day a year?
That is a great question that we should all consider.
You can support the sibling bond in the following ways:
- Ask if the child(ren) you foster have siblings. If they do, establish a relationship with the respective foster family (or families) and make a plan for connection they can count on.
- Consider the sibling relationship in adoption.
- Find out each siblings birthday. Make a commitment to celebrate in some way – a phone call, card, gift or going to the party.
- Seek activities they would enjoy doing together or watching each other at practices, games or performances. Find connection between sports teams, dance classes or playing games at a local recreation center.
- Invite siblings to special events such a holiday dinners and graduations.
- Invite siblings to church or temple services.
- Ask permission to take siblings on family outings or vacations.
- Plan a supervised visit away from an office.
- Create a circle journey where one can write and send pictures in a journal to their sibling, who writes back with pictures in the same journal and sends it back.
- Set up a schedule to talk, or even Skype, by phone.
- Encourage conversations about sharing favorite colors, what a typical day looks like, what music they like, who their friends are, something great that happened, something hard that happened, and what they want to be when they grow up.
- Contact Camp To Belong to see if there is summer camp in your area. Many of the member camps and their partners have year round sibling preservation programs, too.
- Google other sibling programs in your area – or bring siblings to other programs such as the Boys and Girls Club.
Many kids have a brother or sister, or they may have a best friend who is like a brother or sister. Think about the memories all along the life cycle. What a gift you will give the children you foster or adopt by ensuring they have childhood memories together … to last a lifetime.
In foster care and adoption, some siblings can’t live with each other. You can ensure they won’t live without memories together.
Lynn Price is a former youth in care, foster parent, adoptive parent and founder/president emeritus of Camp To Belong, International. She has received numerous accolades including the Points of Light President’s Service Award presented by President Clinton and the Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network Use Your Life Award. As a professional speaker and published author, she gives keynotes celebrating the child welfare community and workshops about sibling connection. Her books include Real Belonging, Give Siblings Their Right to Reunite® and Vision For A Change, A Social Entrepreneur’s Insights From the Heart. www.lynnprice.com – firstname.lastname@example.org