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Open Adoption:
Double the Love

  • Linda R. Sexton

Little Birth Siblings

Truth #19 Adopted Children Will Cherish Knowing Their Birth Siblings

In my upcoming book – The Branches We Cherish: An Open Adoption Memoir, one of the truths I espouse is the joy adopted adults and children can experience when they connect with birth siblings or half-birth siblings. Adoptees sometimes feel like life is a puzzle with missing pieces, and birth siblings can provide a comfortable fit.

In previous times of closed and secret adoptions, adopted children often did not have the privilege of finding siblings until they were older and searched for birth family connections on their own. With today’s practice of open adoption, the chance of meeting and connecting with birth siblings early in life is a good possibility and can be a great gift.

Last November, Finley (they/them), our oldest child, was unable to travel home from Texas to Florida for Thanksgiving because they were tied up with work commitments. But something wonderful happened. Finley’s birth parents, Jenna and Michael, who live only 3 hours away, invited them for Thanksgiving dinner and an overnight stay. This would be the first time that they celebrated Thanksgiving together. Twenty-eight-year-old Finley was excited to not only spend time with Jenna and Michael, but also to visit and play with their two-year-old son, Finley’s full birth brother. (Finley’s birth parents married each other when Finley was seventeen years old and years later, they had a baby!)

I was excited for them too because I thought this was a perfect opportunity for Finley to strengthen birth family relationships.

When I asked Finley to tell me about the visit, they gushed! Finley is vegan and the whole family went out of the way to have special vegan dishes prepared. Finley’s birth grandmother prepared a yummy vegan casserole and was especially happy to see Finley. It had been ten years since they had seen each other at Jenna and Michael’s wedding.

Later, I also spoke with Jenna and she said Thanksgiving was a perfect day. She and Michael have three teen-age children from previous marriages and two of those daughters were there along with Finley. Jenna was thrilled to see these sibling relationships forming too.

Jenna laughed as she thought about the logistics of serving not only a traditional Thanksgiving turkey meal but also preparing dishes for her vegan and vegetarian children. It was a lot of work but Jenna would do it all over again!

After Finley had the chance for a birth family Thanksgiving, the stars aligned for our daughter, Sofie, to spend a couple of days around Christmas with her birth siblings too. Over the years Sofie’s birth father and his wife have been very generous with making an effort for Sofie to see her little half sister and brother. Both our families were planning a trip to Colorado so we arranged to see each other. The look of pure joy of the faces of the little ones when they opened their presents to find T-shirts adorned with pictures of themselves and Sofie along with the words “Big Sis Sofie Loves Me,” was priceless.

Adopted children will cherish knowing their birth siblings and their birth siblings will cherish knowing them. Working hard at making this a reality is one of the best gifts you can give to your adopted child.

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