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Selection of evidence on the adoption of siblings and the needsometimes to separate brothers and sisters in their interestsKosonen (1994) identified several factors in the birth family whichcan negatively influence the relationship between siblings. Theseinclude: poor attachments to parents which can result in intense sibling conflict; a conflictual relationship between parents which can result in poor sibling relationships with boys particularly affected; neglect and parental absence resulting in strong compensatory sibling relationships, often where an older sibling provides some parenting of a younger child. Such bonds can become abusive.Burnell, Vaughan and Williams (2007) argue that, in theirexperience, children who have suffered very poor attachmentsneed to develop a secure attachment to a safe adult or adults. Thatsometimes requires the separation of siblings because, if placedtogether they may inhibit the formation of healthy adultattachments.Gerrilyn Smith, has identified six indicators of where keepingsiblings together may be damaging for them
when there is intense rivalry and jealousy between children; where there is child on child exploitation often with boys dominating and exploiting girls; when there is chronic scapegoating of one child by others; where there are unhelpful hierarchical positions with one child stuck in the role of victim or bully; where there is highly sexualized behavior between children; and where children can trigger trauma in one another, often unconsciously.Lord and Borthwick(„Together or Apart‟ 2001) listed the followingconditions which may indicate that siblings should be placedseparately: • intense rivalry and jealousy, with each child totally pre- occupied with, and unable to tolerate the attention their sibling(s) may be getting; • exploitation, often based on gender, e.g. boys may have been seen and see themselves as inherently superior to their sisters, with a right to dominate and exploit them; • chronic scapegoating of one child; • maintaining unhelpful alliances in a sibling group and family of origin. Sibling patterns of behaviour may be strongly entrenched and may prevent re-parenting or learning new cultural norms;
• maintaining unhelpful hierarchical positions e.g. the child may be stuck in the role of victim or bully; • highlysexualised behaviour with each other; • acting as triggers to each others traumatic material potentially re-traumatising each other. The triggers may well be unconscious, unintentional and mundane.Quotes:FAMILY FUTURES:“Children placed for adoption today have in the vast majority ofcases been removed from birth parents by the courts because of„significant harm‟. The „significant harm‟ leaves these childrendevelopmentally traumatised with all aspects of theirdevelopment impacted by the early poor parenting. Therefore thetask of adoptive parents of „developmentally re-parenting‟ thesechildren is more demanding than normal parenting. Having to dothis with a sibling group makes the task extremely difficult.We need to change custom and practice from a presumption thatsiblings should be kept together at all costs to prioritising thepotential for children to form a secure attachment to adoptiveparents which may require them to be parented as „onlys‟ ratherthan siblings.”
BARNARDO‟S“Children, particularly young children have an overwhelmingneed for stable secure loving homes if they are to grow intohealthy resilient adults. This need must be allowed to takeprecedence over a desire to have contact or to be placed with theirsiblings. If they can be placed together, well and good, but if theneeds of the sibling group are too great for any one set of adoptiveparents to realistically meet them, or the search for such „superadopters‟ delays their placement, then the individual needs of eachchild must come first.BAAF:The decision whether or not to place siblings together or apart foradoption is one of the most profound decisions that a localauthority can take. It is a decision that will impact upon a childand their siblings for the rest of their life… For some children weagree that separate placements will be the right decision. It is adecision that must always be taken with great care and on thebasis of sound assessment evidence.