This is a guest post from a friend in the adoption community who needs to remain anonymous, but wants to share their experience of meeting their children’s birth siblings in the hope of helping others.
We have been a family brought together by adoption for over 10 years. There are a few of us in the family, however, it always struck me that given we read our children’s CPRs and all the other information we receive, if we are lucky enough to receive it all, there are extended family who naturally become our family.
My children’s siblings are always a part of my life, they are family too.
Over the weekend we were lucky enough, after three years of trying, to meet the now adult siblings of our children. A surprise message out of the blue three years ago instigated this meeting. It has taken us all this length of time to be able to feel able to do it. Our children were not involved. You may think that cruel, but right now they are not ready for it, and they may never be.
We met in a train station coffee shop – we felt that it needed to be somewhere that we could all feel as comfortable as possible – as we all knew that the anxiety for us all would be immense.
I hugged sister – I was not sure how it would go, but she hugged me back. I got emotional but kept it together.
We bought coffees and we began to chat. There were no awkward moments. It flowed.
Our first lesson
We knew all about them. They knew nothing about us – NOTHING. They lived for the first few years not knowing what had happened to their siblings. No one had told them they had been placed for adoption. Youngest was removed from a holiday he was on – and that was the last she saw of him.
Our second lesson
Appreciation that they had been adopted. Despite the first few years of their not knowing, they have learnt enough about our children to know that they have been well looked after, and cared for, attempting to repair the damage that they have all experienced. They acknowledged that the trauma will have been more intense for our children as they had differing placements and the worst experience of our care system you can imagine.
Our third lesson
If only we knew then what we knew now… Yes, contact is a scary thing, and it would have needed careful planning, facilitating and reviewing. But had I known that these siblings sat not knowing, not knowing where they were, who they were with, were we monsters, were we cruel, did we love them – that could have been easily remedied.
Their first lesson
They now know that their siblings have been loved and cared for. To see the relief on their faces was worth every single minute of over ten years.
Their second lesson
They discovered that their siblings have very similar issues with attachment, trust, anger to them.
Their third lesson
Never assume adoption is always a bad thing. Family and friends had been rather critical of adoption, as you would expect, and that was the siblings impression as a result. They see the difference it has made.
I did cry. I felt so patronising and insulting to these two brave souls in front of me, who had been through just as much in their childhood as my children – and I was the one crying. To be told that they are grateful that their siblings have such fantastic parents blew me away. I sniffed, sister held my hand, and I gave myself a good talking to – this was not about me.
We spent three hours together, and we have so much in common. We’ll meet them again, and that was a mutual decision by us all. We feel they are more a part of our family now than ever.
Their decision to share what their message will be when they do all eventually meet was upsetting, and I leave you with some of it:
‘If you are expecting to meet our parents and for them to be the parents you hope for, then don’t – you will be very very disappointed.’
Thank you for reading.
Have you met any members of your adopted child(ren)’s birth family? How did it go? Has anything changed for you or your children as a result? What advice would you have for others considering direct contact? Maybe you’re weighing up the pros and cons for your family at the moment. I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts too. Please leave them in the comments so others can benefit.