Posted by: Wagons Ho | June 8, 2013

The sibling situation

The message from our social worker was short. “It’s Mary. I have a question for you. Give me a call please.”

My first thought was that she was calling about the letter. We send letters and pictures to our son’s birthmothers each year around their birthdays and the baby had turned two a couple weeks earlier. Then my brain went into panic mode. What if it was something else? What if something was wrong? My logical self knows that the adoption is final but that didn’t stop me from worrying. Marshall assured me it was nothing but it was the weekend when we got the message so I would have to wait until Monday to find out. I left a voicemail for Mary telling her the letters and pictures would be on the way soon and that I would call Monday in case it was something else. It was something else.

When we adopted the baby we knew he had three older siblings. Two lived with other family members in the birthmother’s home county, one lived with her here. What none of us knew, including our social worker, was that he actually has four older siblings. Mary had been contacted by another agency in the area regarding two half siblings. Turns out that the birthmother had a baby she placed before our placement, and then another one after using this other agency. The families in those two placements are in contact with each other and they were wondering if we would like to be in contact also.

Mary sent me the information for the social worker at the other agency and it has sat in my inbox for a week now without me doing anything other than looking at it. We’ll probably never know why his birthmom kept the first placement from our agency. She was open about having other children. We got to meet the one child living here and she gave us pictures of the two that aren’t here. Of course, why she didn’t tell anyone isn’t really an issue, it’s how we are going to handle it now that we know.

It seems like it should be such a simple answer, of course we want our son to know his siblings. In reality though it’s not that simple. We have what’s known as a semi-open adoption. This means we met the birthmothers, exchanged non-identifying information, and all our ongoing contact goes through the agency. I wonder about what kind of contact the other families will want with us and what kind of contact they have with the birthmother. Will they pass on information we would prefer they didn’t? Will they want to meet on a regular basis? What if we don’t like them? What if they don’t like us? We worry about how this will affect Trapp. Will it be hard for him to see his brother connecting with his birth family when Trapp doesn’t have contact with his? On the other hand, if we decide not to have any contact with these families how will we explain that to the baby in the future? We are open with the boys about their adoptions and share information that we have so even though he’s too young to understand this right now he won’t be forever.

We know these are issues that adoptive families deal with all the time, we just didn’t expect it to be something we would have to deal with. Of all the things we have already discussed with Trapp, and all the things we prepared ourselves for in the future, this was not even on our radar. So I guess, like everything else in this parenting adventure, we’ll have to learn as we go. First step, contact the social worker and see what exactly it is they want. From there we’ll find our way.



  1. […] couple of months ago we found out that AJ has two siblings living in the area (The Sibling Situation). I finally worked up the nerve to contact the social worker at the agency that placed them. She […]

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