Adoptive Parents Who Are Contacted By Their Agency About a Sibling Placement & Struggling with Decision

Adoption social workers often build deep genuine relationships with expecting and birth parents, with the hope that they will extend far past the  placement process.  Because of their closeness and the  positive support received in the past, birth parents feel  often feel less hesitate to reach out if they find themselves facing an unplanned pregnancy again in the future.

As an agency we support the idea of keeping siblings (full or half) together, if and when that is an option. When presented with a situation of a birth parent returning with the potential to place again, we always ask if they have considered the possibly of placing with the same adoptive family they previously placed with.

It is common for birth parents to want to keep siblings together by placing again with the same family especially if they have had a positive open adoption experience. It is important to remember that through our discussion, we always prepare the birth parents that not all situations allow placing with the same family, though that is our priority when possible and if desired by the birth parents. We don’t necessarily want to build their hopes up, however, we can always pose the question to the adoptive family.

Making that phone call to a previous adoptive family is exciting. After the common initial reaction of shock, most families are extremely appreciative that they were reached out to first and presented with the opportunity to make a decision.

The decision to accept another placement that is presented out of the blue can have layers of questions that need worked through to come to a decision. While initially most people want to say “YES” to keeping biological siblings together, it is crucial that a family really takes some time to consider all the factors involved:

Are you emotionally prepared to add a child

It is important to consider your current child(ren) before deciding if you would take in a sibling. Some children do struggle, emotionally and medically, and those are important factors in determining the responsibilities of a parent and whether they are open to adding a child.

Not only that, parents often have a general idea of their family dynamic and the number of children they envisions when creating their family. Families may have been in a place of being content with the size of their family and may not have been planning to add more children. It can be hard to work through all these thoughts and emotions. Social workers are there to help talk it out and come to the decision that’s best for your family.

Are you financially prepared to add a child

Most adoptive families, who are not already in the process of adopting again, are not necessarily ready to grow their family. Being financially stable, is one of the important reasons most birth parents choose adoption to begin with. You may have had a financial change since adopting the first time that will impact your decision. We would not want  a family to jeopardize their financial stability and the future of their child through a second placement.


It is really important for a family to consider whether they have the right support and resources around them to adopt again. Since going through the adoption process the first time, they have a better understand of what it actually takes and what they need in way of support to feel comfortable

Age & Health of Adoptive Parent(s)

Some time has passed since you first began the adoption process and your current state of health  may be different. Maybe you started the adoption process later in life and being presented with raising another child from infancy at this point in time might not be the right fit.

Details of Current Placement in Question

The first time you adopted, you wrestled with the questions presented on the profile key and completed it to show the situations you were open to. Just because this is the same birth parent now considering placing for a second time doesn’t mean all the details are the same. This situation might lie outside of your comfort level for some reason and that’s incredible important to explore. Your social worker is able to help you navigate this decision as you gather the details and weigh the options.

It is so important that adoptive families are really honest with themselves and their social worker when facing the opportunity of a surprise placement. They need to consider themselves as a parent, their current child(ren) as well as the new baby and birth parents. In the event that a family is unable to move forward with adopting again, social workers work hard with the birth parents to find another family they are comfortable placing with.  And with the birth parent’s permission, the agency will also connect the adoptive families together for support and to allow the siblings to know each other.


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