To mark the launch of a new campaign alongside our partners Adopt Coast to Coast we’ve put together our list of reasons why adopting brothers and sisters at the same time is something prospective adopters should seriously consider.  Over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing articles and real stories of families who have adopted siblings through our 'Better off Together' campaign.

When looking into adoption there are often lots of questions and unknowns and it can all be a bit overwhelming, so many people automatically presume they will adopt one child.  However, latest figures show that 43%* of the children who wait the longest to be placed are part of a sibling group, meaning agencies like us at ARC Adoption and our partners at Adopt Coast to Coast are always on the hunt for adopters for brothers and sister groups.  Here we share some of our favourite benefits of adopting siblings:

A special bond

Brothers and sisters have a unique bond like no other – in fact a sibling relationship is often considered as the most long-standing relationship in life, and for children who have already had a tough start in life, maintaining this important bond is essential.

Sibling groups are harder to place, and some do end up being separated which is heart-breaking. I can’t imagine our two without each other. Brothers and sisters already have a bond and being adopted together is one less separation for them to experience.

Jess and her husband adopted a brother and sister

Wellbeing

Of course, brothers and sisters will have their usual sibling squabbles and ups and downs, but research shows that having a relationship with brothers and sisters can support mental health, emotional wellbeing, and social skills. Children learn social skills like sharing and caring for each other from being part of a sibling group and they learn to give and take. Not just things like toys, but it also encourages them to share emotions and feelings too. Keeping brothers and sisters together helps develop well-balanced children.

Shared understanding

A lot of time and attention is paid to helping prospective adopters understand the impact of neglect on children and as much information as possible is given to the adopters about any children they are matched with to help them understand their past. This is done by adoption agencies both during the application process and through post-adoption support. But no matter how hard we try, you may never know exactly what happened before your adopted child came to you. But his or her sibling was there. Being with each other can help them release their emotions and deal with their past, plus it can help with any questions they may have in the future. For siblings, they have an extra level of reassurance in knowing that their brothers or sisters have a shared understanding of their past which might help them support each other better throughout their lives.

The reason for adopting two brothers is that we believed that if they didn’t want to talk to us about their feelings, they would always have each other. Also, to keep their family together as much as we could.

L and her partner adopted two brothers

Settling in

Children are introduced to an adoptive parent or parents by social workers in a very considered and carefully planned way to make sure it’s right for each individual child, and to support the new parent throughout. For children who are placed with their brothers and sisters, being together and having a familiar face throughout, can help them settle more quickly into the new family and home environment.

Sense of identity

Brothers and sisters could have some personality and physical traits that they recognise in each other which may help with their identity and sense of belonging throughout their lifetimes and offer reassurance too.

Our two girls have two older sisters who have also been adopted. Although they don’t live together, they do come together often, usually every school holiday. Seeing the girls all come together is wonderful and very lively; it is great to see them flourish, watch their relationships progress and also to hear them talk about their connections, their birth family, and their experiences which will last a lifetime!

Jordan and Andrew, who adopted two sisters

One application

Prospective adopters only undertake the adoption application process once meaning if adopters always imagined their family as being bigger, adopting siblings saves time and applicants don’t have to go through the adoption process twice.

When you adopt a sibling group, one of the children is always going be older, which means that you won’t always get to see the 'traditional' firsts. But you’ll get lots of other firsts, like the first time they call you mummy and daddy, and it’ll not be because it’s a name they’ve been given, but because they mean it.  The first time they go to school, or the first time they tie their shoe themselves – there’s plenty of other firsts to enjoy.  Another huge benefit is that you only have to do the assessment once with siblings, plus for us, a bonus was that we didn’t get the sleepless nights!

Beth and her partner adopted a brother and sister

A complete family

The decision to adopt is often borne out of a deep-seated desire for a family. Adopting brothers and sisters gives you that straight away. Imagine your sense of reward when you see them together. When you adopt siblings you create a family unit quickly, which means you can put a lot of energy into building your new family at once, rather than in stages.  In addition, it’s not always as straight forward to adopt for the second time as the needs of the first child need to be considered, so if you see yourself with two or more children it may be more practical to adopt siblings.

Within just three months of being approved our sons were living with us and it completely changed our lives. The best thing about adopting the siblings for me is that we have our family now. This is what we pictured our family to be.

Andy and his husband Steve adopted two brothers

Most importantly we advocate sibling adoption as it helps to keep families together and gives children the shared experience of growing up together, as brothers and sisters are meant to.  Just like there are with birth children, there can be highs and lows with adoption but most often, the highs outweigh the lows.

If you are interested in finding out more about adopting siblings, we would love to talk to you. Please complete our enquiry form and our experienced team will be in touch at a time convenient to you. 

* Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board 2020/2021