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The Positive Impact of Placing Siblings Together for Adoption

Keeping siblings together in adoption is one of the most powerful ways to give brothers and sisters available for adoption the sense of home they long for. This article explores the positive impacts of this decision, some effective strategies to nurture sibling relationships, and how adoption agencies can help during this transition.

The Benefits for the Siblings

Why should siblings remain connected in their journey to finding their forever homes? Let’s explore five proven sibling adoption benefits. 

older brother hugging younger brother

Preserves Stability and Unity

Keeping siblings together in adoption provides a consistent support system for the children, instilling a sense of stability and belonging. Research and practical wisdom support this, showing that children have better permanency outcomes when placed with their siblings in their new family environments.

Siblings support each other emotionally during the transition and feel comfort in the continuity of their bonds. Such stability and unity will help them adjust and feel more comfortable in their new home.

Nurtures Long-Term Relationships

A sibling is likely to outlast all other relationships in a person’s life, including those with their parents and future partners. A graduate study from the University of Denver explains that siblings play various roles in several phases of an individual’s life, from playmates to long-term support systems. 

Before and during the adoption process, they are each other’s constant companions. This enduring bond strengthens their ability to navigate challenges and develop resilience as they transition into adulthood and build more connections.

Emotional Well-Being and Coping Strategies

Emotion is a delicate matter, especially for children in adoption. It is crucial to ensure they have a supportive environment to openly express their feelings, receive validation, engage in shared activities, and access proper counseling when necessary. One of the best ways to reinforce this setting is to keep siblings together. 

Children who had greater access to their siblings developed stronger support systems, self-esteem, income, and sibling bonds as adults, according to a study by Adam McCormick from the University of Texas. Thus, placing siblings together in the adoption process is essential in nurturing resilience and coping strategies.

Adoption Agencies’ Role in Supporting Sibling Placement

siblings playing on the windows of the apartment

Adoptive parents may have questions about adopting a sibling group, but they are not alone. Adoption agencies supporting sibling placement exist to help prospective parents learn the ropes of the process and ensure all parties involved are well-informed and supported. At Open Arms Adoptions, our comprehensive training program is designed to help prepare adoptive parents to welcome a sibling group into their family.

Adoption agencies’ additional roles in supporting sibling placement include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Identifying sibling groups in need of placement
  • Advocating for sibling placements
  • Pairing siblings with suitable adoptive families
  • Guidance and counseling services
  • Assisting with legal representation
  • Providing ongoing support
  • Conducting post-placement follow-ups

Openness with Sibling Groups and Previous Caregivers

It’s clear that maintaining sibling connections during adoption has positive impacts on their long-term well-being. Let’s discuss openness as it relates to sibling groups and their previous caregivers. 

For many children adopted from the foster care system, their foster parents may have been their primary caregivers and source of stability for many months or even years. Additionally, while the children’s biological parents’ rights have been terminated, it is possible their biological grandparents have played a nurturing role in their lives. By maintaining these relationships, adoptive parents can grow their children’s support network, providing them with another source of stability and emotional connection.

This is a sensitive topic that requires careful consideration of the children’s emotional and developmental needs, as well as the dynamics of the relationships with their former caregivers. Adoption agencies work with adoptive parents to determine an appropriate level of contact, if any, with the children’s former caregivers and family members. While not legally bound to maintain these connections for their children, adoptive parents should use the information from their adoption worker to make an informed decision in the best interest of their children. Contact can include phone or virtual calls, letters, or meetings at neutral locations such as parks or museums. It is crucial that boundaries be established and respected by all parties.

Nurturing Sibling Bonds

twin sisters paying paint together

Engage in Collaborative Activities

Nothing fosters instant connections like engaging in joint activities. Encourage siblings to participate in collaborative tasks, such as sports, creative projects, virtual games, and other shared hobbies. When everyone enjoys the same activity, the bond becomes even stronger.

A more practical form of collaborative activity is decision-making. Involving siblings in discussions related to their families allows them to feel valued and empowered, nurturing their connection amid the changes.

Encourage Open Communication

Supportive and transparent communication is key to maintaining healthy sibling relationships and family dynamics. Adoptive parents should encourage siblings to discuss their thoughts and feelings about being adopted, as well as other subjects that arise. Teach siblings constructive ways to handle conflicts, like taking turns speaking and using “I” statements to express how they feel. The discussions that arise from this teach siblings to listen to, respect, and trust one another. 

Celebrate Sibling Bonds

Parents can help sibling groups recognize the powerful impact of sibling connection and reinforce its value through celebrations. There are several ways to celebrate the joys of being part of a sibling group. 

  • Designate a “Siblings Appreciation Day” where each sibling can share something positive about their siblings. This can include having a small gift exchange or a special dinner.
  • Establish sibling bonding rituals like monthly board game nights or family sporting events.
  • Organize a “Siblings Day Out” for the siblings to join together in an activity they enjoy, such as going to a park, the zoo, or a movie.
  • Hold a siblings-only sleepover. Each sibling gets to choose a snack for everyone to enjoy and pick a television show or movie, bringing their sleeping bags and pillows into one room for a fun night!


Through their interactions, siblings learn how to communicate, compromise, and love. They may be each other’s only connection to their past, sharing experiences that can only be understood by one another. As brothers and sisters, they influence each other’s development in numerous ways, making their relationships among the most significant in shaping who they become as individuals. 

Keeping siblings together in adoption reinforces their sense of identity and belonging as they navigate life together as a family. Open Arms Adoptions is eager to lend a helping hand to prospective parents looking to start or grow their family through adoption. They understand and appreciate the unique journey of every child, birth family, and adoptive family and have an unwavering commitment to creating forever families for every child in need. 

Contact Open Arms Adoptions today to learn more about their sibling adoption program!

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Open Arms Adoptions is 501(c)3 non-profit agency licensed by the State of Ohio.

Our mission is to provide a loving, stable home to every child in need. We work tirelessly to create an environment that embraces the unique set of circumstances each of our birth parents, prospective adoptive parents and children bring to us. 
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