Sibling Conract

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Sibling Conract

Postby Donotunderstand » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:19 pm

I'm never quite sure which section to post in as I am a kinship adopter so I think perhaps this one is my best bet.

Those on Facebook already know but I wanted to post here too. A very excited niece phoned me up on Monday to tell me she'd had a friend request from her adopted brother through Facebook and what was she to do about it. I said accept. Within minutes she was not only talking to him but also his twin brother and their sister! After not seeing each other for 10 years and only having annual letterbox they have a lot to catch up on. They've also got in touch with their non adopted brother and their youngest sister (our daughter) After much excitement things seem to have settled down a bit and our daughter says although it feels strange it also feels "right" She has never actually lived with any of the others but has always wanted more contact with them. We originally had video and twice yearly letters but the adopters cut it down to one letter a year and refuse our requests to increase it. They have only made contact with their siblings and not any adult family members which is good - I think it will be a long time before they'll want to speak to us.

We are slightly concerned that they have done it without their parents permission but they have said as they made the initial contact then they will take responsibilty for it. Having had time to think about it and discussed with friends, I have decided to give them a chance to come clean but will consider contacting our letterbox co-ordinator to inform the parents in the new year. Big sister is being very sensible and keeping it low key, resisting their requests for her phone number and telling them facebook only for a while. Adoptive mum is also on Facebook so I'm hoping that she will check in at some point or someone will tell her.

Phew, what a great xmas present!
Aunt to a sibling group split up by Adoption and Residence Orders. Mum to birth children age 28 & 26, and adopted 14 year old (youngest of the sibling group)
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Re: Sibling Conract

Postby Donotunderstand » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:33 am

I was chatting to big sis a couple of days ago and she says they haven't mentioned whether their parents know yet, Its constantly on my mind and I really want to get it out in the open but wondering if this is just to make me feel better and not about whats best for everyone.................
Aunt to a sibling group split up by Adoption and Residence Orders. Mum to birth children age 28 & 26, and adopted 14 year old (youngest of the sibling group)
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Re: Sibling Conract

Postby ladyarcher » Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:13 pm

Always difficult with a large family that is spread out geographically, to keep tabs on who knows what and if all the right people have been told so that no-one gets offended by being left out.........those of us with ordinary large families find it a problem and it must be zillions more complicated for you....

..however, they are in contact now........it is not your fault - if indeed it could be called a 'fault' in the first place - they can't now 'un-know' what they know about eachother.....

........if any of the parents involved try to make them break contact in any way, then the only thing they will achieve is to alienate the children.......they will then not trust their various parents and be far more likely to keep up contact secretly........ easy for parents to prevent communication in the days of ordinary telephones and letters with stamps on and postmen delivering them........but now, in the age of the mobile phone, computers with facebook and friends R etc..., e-mail, texting and friends who will also have access to all these things and can help them.............you don't have a hope in keeping kids from communicating with eachother.........and better that you know what they are doing, than have them hiding it....

...I suppose you can be grateful that they are only wanting to communicate with their siblings.......there are far worse uses for the internet........

LA
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Re: Sibling Conract

Postby Donotunderstand » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:07 am

Thanks for the voice of reason Lady A. Open adoption casuses just as many problems as closed adoptions. You are given a little crumb of information once a year and are supposed to not want more! Even harder for my daughter who has direct contact with some and indirect contact with others. She is coping very well with all this and is now "friends" with her adopted sister too, so all the children are in it together. :)
Aunt to a sibling group split up by Adoption and Residence Orders. Mum to birth children age 28 & 26, and adopted 14 year old (youngest of the sibling group)
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Re: Sibling Conract

Postby infinite2678 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:00 pm

I have an adopted son who had the same thing happen on facebook with him recently. Its impossible in the digital age to keep them from communicating somewhere. There's free internet almost anywhere you go now.
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Re: Sibling Conract

Postby Donotunderstand » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:30 am

Its been almost 3 months since the children made contact and no sign of them telling their parents. I was concerned because contact was extending to texting and Skype and I had visions of secret meet ups. So, with the help of a good friend I met through this forum, I wrote to the adoptive parents (via social services)to let them know about Facebook contact. It is obviously a serious issue because ss phoned the adopters immediately. A.mum "friended" me on FB after her phone call and messaged me. They were unaware of the contact and felt that the children had betrayed their trust. In my letter I'd asked her if we could work together on this and I feel that she is willing as she has contacted me direct rather than through social services. I don't find her very approachable but perhaps that will come in time.

I told the children here that it was me who "spilled the beans" and all is fine so I wonder if they are also relieved that's its now above board. They are still all in touch so the adopted children haven't been banned. I am looking forward to a more open relationship between the children and who knows, we might be able to organize a meet up sometime sooner than their 18th Birthdays!
Aunt to a sibling group split up by Adoption and Residence Orders. Mum to birth children age 28 & 26, and adopted 14 year old (youngest of the sibling group)
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Re: Sibling Conract

Postby ladyarcher » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:51 pm

I have to say I don't like the a.mother's view that the children had 'betrayed her trust'........surely it is the other way round with the SS and a.parents betraying the children by preventing them having contact with their siblings for so long......... I know how it feels to be separated from one's siblings for a lifetime, in my case my full sister we were lost to eachother for over sixty years, and for forty of those years I was searching for her......

However, perhaps it is best not to voice the idea that a.parents had a hand in keeping these particular siblings apart.....if I remember rightly the a.parents, or a.mother did not encourage the letterbox contact, or refused it, or something like that..........anyway, at least she has 'friended' you.......just to be pedantic I believe the word should be 'befriended'........but that's just being married to an English teacher......as she has 'friended' you, it would appear that she is a bit more open to communication between you now........of course, to an extent her hand has been forced in that the 'contact genie' is out of its bottle, and there is no way she can put it back in..........

There is the possibility though, that she too is uncomfortable with SS arrangements....and having them arrange things sort of third hand..........she has now sort of contacted you direct, even though it is the dreaded FBook........perhaps she could be persuaded to be a little more adult and to communicate in a more normal way by 'phone calls/e-mails, or even, shock horror, real letters.........but probably a 'real phone call' on a land line, not texts on a mobile, is a better way to communicate, at least you know you have spoken to the person, and are not left wondering if their mobile is working or not........

So, let's try to view this latest development in a positive light, hopefully, and that the children can continue to communicate with each other happily and unselfconsciously, and most importantly without guilt.......there is nothing more damaging to relationships than being made to feel guilty......it breeds secrecy and resentment........neither of which emotions should be part of a child's relationship with its siblings or it's parents.......or indeed, the world in general.....

LA
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Re: Sibling Conract

Postby Donotunderstand » Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:30 am

Peoples view on sibling contact appears to depend on which side of the fence you are on. Although social services agree that it can be beneficial it seems that it should be kept to a minimum to allow the adopted child/ren to settle in their new family. I can understand the thinking behind that but as my oldest niece once said - "you can't split up a family and expect them not to want to keep in touch" The children in my family had lived through difficult times together for 5 years and it seems clear to us that they will want to keep in touch. The adopters however want the children to be a full members of their family) and therefore reluctantly agree to the minimum amount of contact.

Since I passed on the information to adoptive mum the children are not replying to my daughters messages. I don't know if this is because of adoptive mum, or anger at me or perhaps now thats its not a secret it lost its appeal. Its possible they have beeen shocked into silence and will need time to get used to it. I don't have any rapport with adoptive mum but I am thinking of contacting her soon to ask why the children are snubbing my daughter - I feel its mean to seek her out and then ignore her.

(I refer to "friended" rather than befriended as contact on facebook is made by sending friend requests. I admit my grammar is appalling now but I do remember it, I've just become lazy!)
Aunt to a sibling group split up by Adoption and Residence Orders. Mum to birth children age 28 & 26, and adopted 14 year old (youngest of the sibling group)
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Re: Sibling Conract

Postby ladyarcher » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:15 pm

It's not your use of words I was being pedantic about, it's the FBook/text speak which is used by the FB site.......I know, I am a dinosaur.......you should hear my husband on the subject of use of words and punctuation and upper and lower case letters........sitting waiting for hospital appointments and reading the notices in the hospital sends his blood pressure up alarmingly........now about to fall into my own trap I was going to put 'lol' after that remark.......help .....I am being dragged into this century.......

To be serious......I think that of your thoughts as to why the contact has dried up, the one about the adoptive mother being responsible seems the most likely......... there are a lot of ways of influencing children without actually forbidding things point blank........children are very sensitive to what they think they understand as a problem ........ little 'sighs', little twitches of facial expression, little comments........overhearing things that they think they are not supposed to hear, but which in fact have been said deliberately .....playing the martyr ........ all very easy for the a.mother to do, without actually forbidding contact.....all calculated to make the children feel guilty and uncomfortable........and to be fair, it may be that she genuinely thinks that she is doing the best for the children........

However, in these childrens' experience, they have been a 'proper' family, and as you say, spent five years together, and the fact that they were difficult years it will be even more important to the children that they keep that 'together in adversity' feeling........the loyalty to each other........it is totally unrealistic for the a.parent(s) to try to make them 'theirs' and to try to negate their previous lives........in fact it is downright cruel, it is denying the children a large part of 'themselves' and who they are.........the a.parents perhaps do not understand this........perhaps their preparation for the adoption was not adequate, or did not address these sort of issues ....... or perhaps they are just plain arrogant/ignorant and think that they know best......... the fact is that no-one knows how it feels to be cut off from their background if they have not had that experience.........it is very difficult to describe to non adoptees what it feels like to be adopted........please understand, b.mothers who are reading this, that there is no intention to upset you in saying this ........it is a subject that is usually, especially in the past, totally glossed over when adoption is discussed......... adopting parents are not always to blame in that they too have been 'fed' the 'happy ever after' story, and cannot be blamed for thinking that their love is enough........it may well be enough in itself, but it does need a particular extra understanding of how people relate to their past........

LA

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Re: Sibling Conract

Postby Donotunderstand » Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:04 pm

Lady A - I completely agree with you. Last year I tried quoting snippets from research about sibling contact but a.mum has very strong views and I don't think she'll ever be swayed. Thinking back to our very first meeting with her to discuss contact it seemed that she wasn't as keen as us as she faltered when face to face contact was suggested and only agreed to it subject to the children settling well. Letterbox contact has always been led by me and I sometimes wonder if she'd have bothered if I didn't write first. It can be too easy to let things slide and pretend that it doesn't matter, but I know how much it does matter to the children. I'll just have to see how it pans out although I am not prepared to let it drop -I think that the adopted children obviously need contact with their siblings and I will do my best to help it continue.
Aunt to a sibling group split up by Adoption and Residence Orders. Mum to birth children age 28 & 26, and adopted 14 year old (youngest of the sibling group)
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Re: Sibling Contact

Postby Donotunderstand » Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:51 am

Surprised and happy!!! With the help of my diplomatic internet buddy I decided to approach a.mum sooner rather than later. I sent a message suggesting we updtae each other as its been a week since I wrote to her. I wanted to let her know thta her children were not responding to my daughter and asked what we could expect from the facebook contact. I had a lovely reply tellimg me that after the inital shock they now have an understanding with the children thats its ok to have contact but to be careful of what info they pass on. She was going to have a word with the children to encourage them to reply to my daughter and........

She thinks a meet up will be beneficial!!!!!!!!!!!

The timing of it depends on their daughter who is doing her GCSE's now and also undergoing intense CAHMS therapy so perhaps it will happen during the summer holidays. She has obviously had words with the children because the girl has messaged my daughter telling her that she uses facebook mostly on her mobile phone which doesn't tell her if someone is trying to chat - I think this is true as its similar on my phone - and she might not pick it up for a while until she remembers to check. She assures her that she is not ignoring her and will reply to messages when she sends them.

I am extremely pleased with all of this and its far more than I hoped for after last years letter telling us that we could only have one letter a year and face to face contact will be after they've reached their 18th birthdays.
Aunt to a sibling group split up by Adoption and Residence Orders. Mum to birth children age 28 & 26, and adopted 14 year old (youngest of the sibling group)
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Re: Sibling Conract

Postby ladyarcher » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:59 pm

So glad that you are getting a bit more of a positive response at last........I sort of wonder what the a.mum means by being careful about the sort of info they pass on..........hopefully, what she means is not to broadcast their private family circumstances on a rather open site........personally I have no idea who can see what, when I occasionally post.........do all the friends of relatives see my posts because they are friends with my adult children, and my adult birth family in Canada.......even though their friends are not 'friends' with me....

...perhaps a less risky way for them all to talk to each other would be by e-mail, and that would get over the problem of some not seeing a contact because it is on a 'mobile' and thus upsetting the one who feels ignored or shut out......I know that facebook is popular with the young because a 'conversation' on it can be so instant, and each can chip in with a 'witty' comment..........but often the ill thought through supposedly funny come back can cause a lot of bother when taken the wrong way.........which if you watch Jeremy K, it usually seems to be..........encouraging them to write 'proper' letters to each other albeit on e-mail, at least will keep them in the habit of expressing themselves with forethought........and that can only be good when having to communicate their thoughts in a disciplined way, such as is necessary in exams and cvs etc.......at least communication is allowed, and even a meet up is on the 'table' so, for now, it is all good......

Pardon my ignorance, but what is CAHMS therapy.........is it adoption related, or is it for an illness.........

LA
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Re: Sibling Conract

Postby Donotunderstand » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:39 pm

We have a definite date and venue to meet up. :P

The issues regarding privacy is more to do with protecting them from us! The last thing they want is birth family turning up on their doorstep, or telephoning. After all, they have made a family and have to be allowed to live without fear of birth family intruding. However, a.mum knows that the children had a strong bond and have separation issues. So, having followed the adoption agency guidelines re contact all these years, she is now listening to her children and is going all out to help them with contact. We will only contact through private messages on facebook for the time being. I have asked the children not to refer to it openly on FB and only talk about it between themselves. We need to build up some trust and don't want the wider family to find out about it until after the event although I don't feel that they will want to jump on the bandwagon as although they all saw the initial contact on facebook none of them have interfered.

CAHMS stands for Children and Adolescent Mental Helath Service and is available for all young people via gp or school referral.
Aunt to a sibling group split up by Adoption and Residence Orders. Mum to birth children age 28 & 26, and adopted 14 year old (youngest of the sibling group)
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Re: Sibling Contact

Postby Donotunderstand » Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:59 pm

What a lovely day we had for our meet up! We met at a country park where we had the space to spread out without causing a bother to anyone or drawing attention. The children got on so well and there was never a lapse in the conversation. They split up into pairs, then regrouped as one and then split up again, Played football, catch, cricket, had races, then sat down just to talk before doing it all again. All the time they couldn't stop touching each other, arms across the shoulders, the girls doing hairstyles on each other, the boys doing strangleholds on each other.

Adoptive mum and I had a really good chat and learnt a few things. She wanted to know which family members were involved in the decision making pre adoption and I had an insight into how life has been for them. The biggest surprise I had was when she asked me why we hadn't done face to face contact before. I told her honestly that I thought it was because she didn't want it. She dwelled on this for a very long time and then remembered that she was advised not to go for it because the oldest two siblings were still involved with birth mum and social services thought information about the adoptees whereabouts might be disclosed.

We realise that the children will want to meet again and a.mum has said that she'd be happy to deliver and collect her lot - on neutral ground again - and I agreed that I'd be happy for our daughter to do the same as long as big sis would take responsiblity for her. We haven't sorted out the details yet but I will contact her soon as I'd be interested to know if there was any fallout from our "big day".She mentioned that our letters caused a lot of excitement and unsettled them and thats why they reduced it to once a year.

So, a wonderful day, and more to come. I feel so priviledged to have been involved in such a momentous day in the childrens lives.
Aunt to a sibling group split up by Adoption and Residence Orders. Mum to birth children age 28 & 26, and adopted 14 year old (youngest of the sibling group)
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Re: Sibling Conract

Postby ladyarcher » Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:40 pm

How absolutely amazing DoNotU........the description of the children wanting to do such normal things like hair dos and hugs and wrestle with each other is so touching.......brings a lump to the throat......... so good that it has happened before they are 'grown up' and the distance so great that they would be too 'polite' and embarassed about acting spontaneously .......

Good too, that you and the a.mum have had a chance to set right each others' misunderstandings about motives ........ there is nothing like a proper face to face communication to take away the 'unknown ogre' syndrome.......and realise that you are all human with human fears and concerns....

....hopefully this will lead to a regular 'family reunion' for the children.......depending on distances etc......perhaps something that they can look forward to quarterly or some such space......... a special one at Christmas .........or maybe each time one of the children has a birthday........if they are suitably evenly spaced through the year that could be a nice way of keeping a 'togetherness' feel for each of them.....making each child feel 'special' to their siblings.....which is the most important relationship for each of them in the long run as, to be realistic, it will outlast any parents ........

LA

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