“My brothers and sisters – you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown”
The longest relationships we shall have in our lives are with our siblings. In most cases, we will be part of our brothers’ and sisters’ lives much longer than our parents, our spouses, or our children. With our brothers and sisters we share a lifelong bond and the loss of a sibling is one of the most painful losses we can experience.
God speaks to us so much about the love of siblings in scripture. There are literally hundreds of references to brotherly and sisterly love in the Bible. This love is a natural thing and it is to be enjoyed and longed for as God instructs us to also love one another as brothers and sisters.
“Love one another with brotherly affection…” Romans 12:10
The Bible uses references to this love over and over again to teach us about love between believers. For most of us, this love between our brothers and sisters teaches us about the love we shall have for others all of our lives. Can you imagine being torn apart from your siblings at a young age? Losing track of them and having to go through your life missing them and wondering where they are or what became of them?
Unfortunately, for many foster and adopted children, this became a reality. Still today it happens more than should be allowed. When children come into foster care, all too often there is a lack of space in available homes. In recent years, our child welfare system has worked hard to rectify this, but it can still happen, especially when a large sibling group comes into care.
Kids Central works very hard to alleviate this occurrence as much as possible. We have managed to keep our brothers and sisters together in over 80% of our placements… but we continue to strive for more. To reach higher and work harder in order to have enough homes so that no brother and sister should ever have to be separated during their time in foster care or when adopted.
In my time as a foster and adoptive parent, I have seen both the loss of siblings and the continued connection of siblings, and how they have affected my family. One of my children was separated from siblings early into their stay in foster care and subsequently never reunited with them even post adoption. To this day, these brothers and sisters have no contact – they just lost touch and it saddens me still to see this loss of relationship. Though they are all grown adults today, it is almost as if they ceased to exist for each other.
Another of my children has kept the bond strong with her sister all through her life, and she clings to it still today as a life thread that gets her through tough times and great times. There is a joy in this that is filled with love and light.
So how can YOU make a difference for foster children? Say YES to siblings, say YES to brothers and sisters, when we call and ask you to take siblings. Remember – a sibling “group” can be just two children. They are not always a group of many. But, they are children who are frightened, concerned, confused and need something to hold onto and in many cases….that is their brother or sister.
So when considering becoming a foster or adoptive parents – PLEASE be open to all of the requests that will come your way. Please open your heart and home enough to stretch beyond your limits to keep these brothers and sisters together. We will work with you to make necessary accommodations for keeping children together as long as you have the heart for it.
For those of you who are parents – close your eyes for a moment and think about your own children – being lost and alone without their “best friends” – those brothers and sisters. Think about your own relationships with your siblings – can you imagine losing them, even temporarily?
We have so many needs in the world of child welfare today. The need for more homes, more families, more funding, more training – the list goes on and on; however, one of our greatest needs is the need to keep our families as intact as possible. To keep brothers and sisters together! It is one of our greatest priorities at Kids Central. We want to make sure our children – for all they have lost during their family’s time of need – will not have to “long for their brothers and sisters”. YOU can help us. Will you?
By: Rosey Moreno-Jones