“Just give it another try.” I heard it many times. Sibling visits were something I despised. My siblings had been precious to me in the moment of removal from our home, but prior to that I wanted nothing to do with them. I loved them with my entire heart, but the hatred that was bred in our home made it difficult to connect with them on any level.
Being an older sister is a difficult responsibility as many people know, but for me it seemed exceptionally harder. I wanted to nurture my siblings and give them the love and attention they deserved and needed, but I was destructive in my behaviors and I spent my time hurting them rather than protecting them. Through my own growth in foster care I found it difficult to convince my siblings to move past the damage we had lived. When my siblings were removed from our first foster home, I was angry and unsure of what would happen to them. My siblings meant the world to me, but I knew I couldn’t be around them.
States are now moving towards keeping siblings together, some of this is mentioned in specific states laws regarding separation and the damage it can cause on relationships. I do believe this is a leap forward for the child welfare system, but I do hope state’s do not forget about the siblings that need to be separated for growth to occur. While many siblings spend years trying to reunite, I spent time trying to remain as separated as possible. My siblings have spent their lives going through rough things, and their foster care experience is theirs to tell; as for me, I can truthfully say being separated from my siblings did help me to feel connected deeper with my foster family as well as improve my self-confidence.
My siblings were not removed from the home as a result of me asking, I only took the opportunity to grow when they were placed in a different home. It should be said my siblings and I participated in verbal abuse to one another; that was our downfall. We had grown up around destructive behaviors; intentionally we would each try to tear apart each other’s self-esteem. My siblings and I were more than willing to verbally destroy any confidence the other siblings had. We would belittle each other in hopes of making ourselves feel better. This is why my growth was able to occur when my siblings were removed.
I had hoped my siblings and I could remain in the same home, but in order for us to succeed, we had to separate. Currently we choose to communicate on our own time and we choose to limit the amount of time we spend together. In some cases this is the most beneficial way for siblings to love each other in the safest way possible. I love my siblings and I choose to continue to hold them in my heart, but I’ve come to the conclusion we grow best when we are apart.