Most of us with siblings couldn’t imagine growing up without them. The shared laughs, adventures and even disagreements are woven together into the very fabric of our childhoods. The relationships with our siblings can be the longest-lasting family bonds that we have, but for children in our community who are transitioning into foster care or adoption, it is often a struggle to stay together.
More sets of siblings have entered the local child welfare system in recent months, especially those ages 9 to 15. The reasons for this are varied and complex, ranging from tough economic times putting additional pressure on vulnerable families, to parents struggling with addiction, mental illness or even generational cycles of abuse. But the challenge is simple and direct: These children and youth need safe, loving foster and adoptive homes where they can live and grow together with their siblings.
Children who have suffered abuse and neglect from parents or other caregivers often form especially close bonds with their siblings. Research has proven that these children have better outcomes if they share a foster or adoptive home with their brothers and sisters. They experience fewer behavioral and emotional difficulties. They are more likely to settle into their new home successfully. And they enjoy greater levels of support, as older youth help their younger siblings adapt to their new surroundings. When siblings move into a new home together, the positive benefits touch every aspect of their young lives.
Local people choose to become foster or adoptive parents for sets of siblings for many reasons. Some seek to welcome a “ready-made” family into their homes. Others are moved by the children’s stories. Many foster or adopt brothers and sisters because they understand how vital the sibling bond is. Almost all who do so act from a deep sense of calling—a spiritual conviction that this is their purpose.
Only you can decide if you feel called to open your heart and home as a foster or adoptive parent to siblings. The need is real, it is now and it is right here in our own backyard. Please ask yourself if fostering or adopting is right for you and consider making a difference for life.
To learn more about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, please call Paula Mealy of Kids Central, Inc. at (352) 387-3487 or visit KidsCentralFosterParents.org for more information. Kids Central, Inc. is the nonprofit lead agency charged with caring for abused, neglected and abandoned children in Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter Counties.
Kids Central, Inc. › 901 Industrial Drive, Ste. 200, Wildwood › (352) 387-3487 › KidsCentralFosterParents.org