Flummoxed, Perplexed and Bewildered

peppaI am perplexed…

Forgive my bluntness, and I’m sorry this blog won’t be more entertaining but I’m desperate for information so I’ve come here to get it off my chest and let it all hang out…
We brought our beautiful three year old daughter home 2 years ago as a 13 month old baby and were informed she was the youngest of five (to our knowledge) siblings and half siblings dotted around the country. All have the same biological mother but apparently (again – to our knowledge) one of them may well also have the same biological father making this a full sibling. This information was tantalisingly and casually dropped into one our many conversations with birth mum’s social worker who hinted at it but couldn’t say more than it was extremely likely.
Our daughter is an only child in our house and talks longingly of wanting brothers and sisters at home with her. I don’t want her to grow up not knowing these siblings if there is a chance she could have a real relationship with them. I also don’t want her thinking that we just didn’t bother; we have and are bothering and yet we are getting nowhere.
Social services did manage to track down one sister (which had me jumping for joy) but her adoptive parents made it clear they would reluctantly accept only yearly letterbox contact despite living not that far away and that this is non- negotiable. My partner and I were flummoxed, then angry; we cannot understand their decision. If it were the other way around, we would definitely be willing to support actual contact on a regular basis. We cannot help but think they are thinking of themselves, not their daughter. We cannot help but think their decision will backfire.

Another family seemed to be completely off the radar yet I was able to find them on a social media site with literally no information other than a name. I duly forwarded this information to social services who then used it to contact the family but got no response. It’s killing me that a sibling is so close and yet the family refuse to respond to invitations for contact.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a rose tinted picture of the Waltons all sitting round a big table in harmony, I just want the best shot at some sort of a relationship for her with her brothers and sisters but it seems impossible.
As far as the other two siblings go, one is literally nowhere to be found – despite having been adopted and therefore known and documented somewhere; and the other one is in the care of a member of the birth father’s extended family. Ironically, at a our meeting with birth mum she attempted to pass us the contact details of this closest sibling but it was intercepted and deemed inappropriate by the powers that be and we are now no nearer to having any contact with this one either.
I’m ranting I know, and it’s probably difficult to even follow the threads of all the avenues we have had to follow to try and find her brothers and sisters. But how do other adoptive parents feel? Is our experience typical? Normal? Do we just have to accept that she will not know her siblings until she grows up and even then, only if they and she feel like it? Couldn’t the biological connection of siblings be a source of security and warmth in her young world, and couldn’t it also have the very real potential to grow and develop into much more in adulthood? Her siblings all seem tantalisingly close yet out of reach and I find it really hard to just accept that it has to be this way.

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8 thoughts on “Flummoxed, Perplexed and Bewildered

  1. Such a tricky situation.
    We have various birth family siblings. We have letterbox contact with them as they remain in foster care. If they were adopted would I push for ‘direct’ contact. I don’t think so. I think it would be too traumatic and confusing for all involved, I think it would blur lines that for now are clear and provide safety and structure.

    So I can understand the other parents not wanting to agree to direct contact. It might be that their child isn’t emotionally able. My youngest for example would be totally freaked out at the idea, older 2 ‘might’ cope but there would be lots of ‘fall out’ and right now, that’s just more than we as a family can handle.

    So we maintain regular letterbox contact which they cope with and enjoy. When they’re old enough, I will support them in any decision they make.

    My advice would be to accept the offer of letterbox contact and take it from there. I’d also advise chasing up SS until they get answers for you regarding contact with the rest.

    Good luck x

    • I tried, 14 years ago, to contact my 9 month old, newly adopted son’s, 4 older siblings. I didn’t hear from 2 adoptive families. The third wanted only letter contact. 14 years later his 17 year old sibling made contact. Apart from the one family – we have never heard from – all 4 older siblings and my 10 year old and 14 year old adopted children, siblings, are now in touch. Not often – but they do have a bond. Ironically the 17 year old who initiated the contact all those years later isn’t interested in meeting up now. He satisfied his curiosity but is very mixed up and an angry 19 year old now. But his very emotionally traumatised sister is. I’m not sure if she is a good influence on my two as she self harms and takes drugs, so not the best role model to my vulnerable 2, but they love each other and meet every few months. I feel frustrated over all the lost years and the relationships they could have built up. In my view they had a right to meet each other from toddlers. My two long to see their 16 year old brother, they know his birth name and age but nothing else about him. I’ll do my best to search him out for them when they are all older. Good luck.

  2. We are in V similar situation two siblings adopted separately have ignored all attempts to make contact. I don’t know how I’m going to explain this to our little one without conveying my own feelings on the matter…which are that the adoptive parents are not acting in the best interests of their children. I know their situation might be more complicated than I know but denying them knowledge of their younger brother seems very misguided. I’d say if there’s hope pursue it! I write twice yearly to the sisters knowing that if and when they feel ready they will have lots to look at.

  3. We have 2 boys they both have many siblings, with many different contact arrangements. We have direct contact with two of our eldest’s brothers and it works really well.

    Two of littlest’s siblings are in an adoptive placement 5 miles away. They will not engage in direct contact. And it breaks my heart, because I see what an immense benefit it is to my other boy and to know they are so close and not willing to have any contact is such a shame. I have an email address so every few months I email an update on the hopes they will relent.

  4. Hi there,

    We have two boys who are part of a sibling group of 7. They are all full siblings , all adopted and have a wonderful relationship. They send and receive gifts, they see each other fairly often considering how far away we all live. They love the direct contact and have formed really tight relationships.

    I think the difference is the adoptive parents. All are very happy to keep up contact and over the years everyone becomes friends.

    We would keep pushing for contact. It definitely is a positive thing and it makes them really content.

    You never know, it can actually be like the Waltons !

  5. Hi
    When I adopted my daughter almost 4years ago I was asked about contact with siblings (all related through birth mother only) and happily agreed to being contacted when the other families felt ready. At the time her elder sibling had not yet been told that she had siblings which I feel is a decision that her family needs to make with her best interests at heart as, after all, I don’t know what their situation is like. Two of her brothers are with their birth father and their whereabouts is unknown. Her younger brother was only weeks old and was with a foster family who went on to adopt him but said they would be interested in contact in the future. As of yet none of us have attempted contact and that is fine with me as at the moment my daughter is at an age where she’s beginning to make sense of what ‘being adopted’ means to her at her own level so I’m glad there isn’t anything else for her to add into the mix. Further down the line I will be attempting contact and can only hope that it will be possible though.
    It is so difficult to find a midway ground when so many people are involved who are ultimately just trying to do what they feel to be the best for their families.
    I hope it works out for you.

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