By Laura Troup
Children who come into foster care often are separated from their present and future biological siblings. According to research, about 70 percent of children in foster care in the United States have a sibling also in care. Children from foster care may experience many types of sibling relationships, including with their birth family siblings as well as children in their foster or adoptive families.
For many children in foster care, their brother or sister has been the only constant presence in their lives. A brother or sister may be the only person who understands and shares their experiences and can help them make sense of their new lives.
"When we enter foster care we lose everything…our moms, our dads, where we lived. Everything is just so unfamiliar. To have your sibling there is what you need in order to move on, or to move forward in life, in foster care.” ~ Noy, who first entered foster care at age 3, speaking in the Epic Ohana video Brothers and Sisters: Keeping Siblings in Foster Care Connected.
Sibling relationships help children achieve developmental milestones as well as provide emotional support, companionship, and comfort in times of change. When children are separated from their siblings, research indicates that a number of children feel “they have lost a part of themselves,” which compounds the anxiety and pain they feel over separation from their parents and transition to a new home. Siblings placed together use their relationships to understand who they are. Not only do siblings help children to adapt to such new and frightening situations, but also they remain important figures throughout their lives.
If you’d like to help AGAPE serve these sibling groups in foster care, join us for an Informational Meeting on June 3 from 6-8pm or June 30 from 2-4pm at the AGAPE Main office, 4555 Trousdale Drive, Nashville. No decision or commitment is expected. Once you have attended an Informational Meeting, you have qualified to attend PATH (Parents As Tender Healers) training to become a foster parent. Our next training series begins July 25.
Not every family can provide foster care, but you can still support children in care by giving to AGAPE.