GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — If you ask each of the Potter siblings what their favorite part of the last year has been, you will get a different answer.
Isaiah, 12, said he was grateful for all the Christmas presents they received. Jordan, 10, said he loved the trip his family took to Seattle. The youngest, 4-year-old Sophia, said her favorite memory was a trip to get ice cream.
But, she wasn’t talking about just any trip to get dessert. She was remembering the way her family celebrated after the adoption papers became official.
“I love being adopted!” she squealed.
The three siblings hadn’t always been placed together during their time in the Texas foster care system.
“When we first came here, I thought we weren’t going to get adopted,” Jordan said. “The second house we went to, we didn’t get adopted because they only wanted to adopt Sophia.”
In fact, Jordan said he hadn’t seen Sophia since she was a baby.
“When we were away from her for a couple of months, I forgot what she looked like,” he said. “When she said we were adopted, I was relieved, because we didn’t have to move from house to house.”
Their adoptive parents, Shane and Adrian, said they couldn’t imagine separating them, and so they worked with DePelchin Children’s Center to foster and ultimately adopt Isaiah, Jordan and Sophia earlier this year.
“We were hoping to be their forever home before they even came in,” Adrian said.
Shane added, “All they really need is someone to care about them.”
Experts on the child welfare system say it can be difficult to keep sibling groups together, though.
“Various ages within a sibling group, various needs within a sibling group, and it can be hard to find a place or a family that can really do it all,” said Jesse Booher, Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer at DePelchin. “We really work in the community to make sure we can recruit foster parents that can provide a full suite of services.”
According to data from the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services, two-thirds of sibling groups are currently placed together; roughly one-third of children are separated from their brothers and sisters. A recent report also noted Texas foster children are spending an average of 18 nights sleeping in CPS offices and hotels.
Research complied by the Casey Family Foundation reveals several benefits to keeping siblings together:
- Greater placement stability
- Fewer days in placement
- Higher rates of reunification
- Increased likelihood of achieving permanency, outside of reunification
- Fewer emotional and behavioral difficulties
- Increased mental well-being
- Improved school performance
- Better adjustment to their new home
Shane and Adrian said it’s been incredible watching the three kids grow and thrive.
“There’s a lot that they need, but the most important thing is security,” Adrian said.