I am a very lucky adopted child. Not only was I adopted into a very loving family and given endless opportunity, guidance and support, I was adopted with my older sister, Carling.
Most people don’t understand what it’s like to not know your parents, not know why you ended up in the home you are in or understand why it happened to you. Our society heavily emphasizes family history, so I was always wondering what happened to my birth family. I don’t know much about my story about how I became the third Forbes girl, but I do know that it is the biggest blessing that I am with my half sister, Carling. Being adopted with a sibling gives you a family within a family, someone that understands exactly how you feel when you can’t find the words. Even in the incredible situation that I was placed in, I constantly found comfort in knowing that I have at least one blood relative in my life.
I was very lucky, but so many children aren’t.
When I traveled to Central America with Kitechild last year, I met a lot of children in our partner homes. Many were placed there alone while their siblings were left on the streets, in their previous homes or their whereabouts were simply unknown. Imagine yourself, as a child, being separated from your parents and your siblings, your whole world, basically everything you know. And being forced into a new environment filled with other kids as scared and confused as you. Imagine how lost, scared and sad you would be lying in bed at night.
There were some children at the home that had come together with their siblings. If you have ever visited an orphanage and seen this, or even know anyone with a situation like mine, you will have seen in a heartbeat the incredible importance of keeping children together. Having some sense of belonging, unity and family is such a special gift, despite all the unfortunate circumstances surrounding you. Although almost all children would love nothing more than to have a loving family and a home, if that meant separating from their brother or sister, they would never even consider it.
I am writing this to encourage anyone who has the power to keep siblings together in their youth to understand its importance. I was lucky I didn’t end up in an orphanage when I was given up for adoption, but straight into a loving family. So many children don’t have that, and that is why I am on Kitechild’s team- I know the feeling of wondering about my birth family, and why things happened the way they did. I want these children to have the same opportunities and love that I did, even if they have no other choice that to live in an orphanage. We all have the power to make a scary, vulnerable, unfamiliar and tragic experience so much less alone.