“The greatest gift our parents ever gave us was each other.” – Unknown
It is very common for adopted siblings to have different adoption stories. Adoptive parents can use this opportunity of varied personal adoption stories to impress upon the children how individual and special they are, proven by their unique adoption stories. One not better than another, just different, like snowflakes. The only real way two adopted children can have the same adoption story is if the same biological parents place a second baby for adoption with the same adoptive family, with the same Post Placement Communication Agreement, and even then there may be a different set of circumstances.
Because children don’t generally like to be singled out of feel different, you can point out the following “non-traditional families”:
Adopted Siblings/ Adopted Sisters/ Adopted Brothers
Foster Siblings/ Foster Sisters/ Foster Brothers
Step Siblings/ Stepsisters/ Stepbrothers
Half Siblings/ Half Sisters/ Half Brothers
Children generally want to be like everyone else, so adding words in front of -siblings, -sister, -brother, just gives a shout out that this is not a traditional relationship. My recommendation is to remove the differentiating word, and allow them to be just “siblings”, “sisters” or “brothers”. The precursor word, can create walls and barriers even if that is not the intention. Developing the close family bond means shedding the barriers and stop feeling the need to explain the origination of your family. Focusing on what’s important is the stability and permanence your children experience and parenting them to the best of your ability.
A difference is adoption stories should be handled with care to not over-inflate or segregate an adopted child’s personal history. The focus can be on how much this child means to the family and how their life journey will be very similar to his or her siblings, since they are in the same family. Changing the focus after discussing their adoption story to the present day, the here and now and their future, returns control and power back to the child. Power and control may be important the the child when he or she feels a lack of control, which may occur if their adoption story is compared to a sibling’s adoption or birth story.
“Sibling relationships…outlast marriages, survive the death of parents, resurface after quarrels that would sink any friendship. They flourish in a thousand incarnations of closeness and distance, warmth, loyalty and distrust.” -Erica E. Goode