Saturday, November 17, 2012

Finding Lil Sis

Last month I wrote about my daughter's sister. For the last four years we've wondered where she was and worried about what she might be living with. My daughter asks about her frequently and often requests to see her. Yesterday, I got some answers...

I had a long phone conversation with one of her foster fathers. Turns out she has been in foster care a bit longer than I expected but his report of how she is doing seems positive. They hope to adopt her, if she becomes legally free and, from the sound of it, she wants to be a permanent part of their family as well.

We discussed the possibility of letting the girls meet to see if they can have a relationship. It looks like that may be a viable possibility. So, the next step is to figure out how to best navigate that so that it can be the most positive experience for both girls. I am also so appreciative that he sent me photos of Lil Sis. So, even if nothing else can ever come from this, at least there's one more piece of the puzzle that is her story.

I was, perhaps foolishly, surprised at how strong the opinions were that I received as feedback on this issue. I have been advised that I should take custody of Lil Sis so that they can grow up in the same house. I have also been told that I am not considering the best interest of my daughter by even considering allowing them to see each other, that I am putting her welfare at risk by doing so. So, clearly there is a variety of opinions on this...

I tend to think things work best in the grey areas. While I agree that raising siblings in the same home is best in theory, given the facts of the particular situation, I don't think it's the best option. I had previously closed my home to new placements, on the recommendation of the counselor that my daughter was seeing. Though she has come so far, her time in foster care has left her with insecurity and fear. If a child were to come into our home and then have to leave, it would be devastating for her. Also, she tends to look at other girls as competition so, having a sister in the home could cause a great deal more stress for her. Also, taking into account that Lil Sis is bonding in the home that she is in, disrupting her would likely only cause her more unnecessary trauma. So, it seems at this point, that the best solution to be made from the ingredients that we have been given to work with is to keep the girls where they are and try to allow a sibling bond to form. If, by some horribly unforeseen circumstance, Lil Sis was not able to stay in the home that she is in, then I might reconsider placement. However, I sincerely hope that she can remain where she is so that she will not have to suffer another disruption.

As for the accusation that I am not considering my daughter's welfare, I resent it but I understand it. I understand that people can't stomach the thought of children going through pain or turmoil. It is difficult. However NOTHING in adoption is simple or fair. It's not a perfect world. Either way, there is risk. Do I have the right to rob my daughter of the opportunity to know her sister simply because it might cause her some stress? To me, it's not an all or nothing proposition. It's yet another case of navigating the grey areas. We, as parents, can take our cues from the girls and be there to support them when they need it. Will it be simple for them to process all the emotions? No, life doesn't work that way. Are they guaranteed to bond? Certainly not. All we can do is weigh the odds and make the decision that we think is best. Then again, that's all any parent can do when making decisions for their kids.


  1. I don't care what anyone, my friend, are one smart cookie!! You're doing great!! :)

  2. I think you are doing the absolute best job possible!!! Hang in there and ignore the nay-sayers!!