Some children are adopted with their siblings while others are not. It is highly recommended siblings are adopted together because they help and support each other through difficult changes and maintain family connections for a child who has lost so much. There are instances when it is not in the best interest of siblings to be adopted together, such as in the case of sibling abuse. Adoptive parents must learn all they can about their child’s sibling and sibling-like relationships. If siblings cannot be adopted together or if a child is being separated from a child who is like a sibling, the adoptive family should develop a plan for allowing the children to maintain contact with each other. The parent might plan regularly scheduled visits between siblings when possible or arrange for regular communication via videoconferencing, e-mail or letters.
Children react differently to the stress that comes from being adopting into a new family. Some are very fearful and show great anxiety about the change initially. Anxious children may seem nervous or angry, depending on their temperament. Other children act like everything is fine; they may be afraid to show what they feel or they have learned to survive different situations that they seem to adapt easily but this may just be a period of good-behavior (the “honeymoon”) followed by not-so-good behavior (the honeymoon is over). Some children, due to neglect, start gorging food and hoarding food, valuables or nonsense items like old paper/trash. It is important for a parent to understand what is the typical pattern of their child during times of stress—this information can be obtained from a previous foster parent, adoption worker, teacher, therapist, etc.—and you probably want to get all their perspectives so you can understand whether the behavior you see is typical or unusual for your child. You just need to know that there is a period of adjustment that can be challenging and chaotic as children test the commitment of the parents and try to figure out what it means to live in this family.