Sibling Connection: Lifelong Relationship
Sibling relationships and identity formation begins in early childhood. This is the time when memories are created, shared, and personal identity begins to develop. While one child may not remember every detail, each child has memories that will put the puzzle together. These memories are carried into each relationship developed and become something precious they will have for a lifetime.
A child who is adopted may not have intimate memories or know someone who can help them put the pieces together, or color in the spaces. They may have little or no knowledge of, or connection to, their birth family, heritage, or genetic background. This is why nurturing sibling relationships in foster care, if possible, is so important. This should continue once a child moves on to permanency. Acknowledging the child’s desire to remain “connected” to siblings can be difficult for some foster and adoptive parents. Parents should reflect on their own sibling relationships. Hopefully those were positive ones, nurtured by connecting with them whenever possible, especially on holidays and special occasions. Can you imagine not being able to do this? Imagine the devastation of never seeing someone again whom you love and with whom you shared a childhood. It would be as if all of the sudden the person was no longer there. It’s similar to losing someone to death.
The sibling relationship can be the most powerful, lasting, and influential relationship; more so than those with parents, spouse, or children. At the same time, when it is broken, the effects can be devastating and last a lifetime.
Patricia Corbitt, LGSW
CAS Social Worker
More Resources on Sibling Connections
- Sibling Issues in Foster Care and Adoption
- Siblings and Adoption
- Siblings: Permanency and Family Connections
- Sibling Adoption
- Adoption and Sibling Relationships