We want to create a network of empowered families where the children already in the home are well supported and have the tools to navigate the changes that adoption or fostering brings to them personally.
Our motto to parents is: when you know better, you can do better. When parents learn along with their children what is needed for healthy adjustments when a new sibling comes to the family, everyone benefits.
WHAT WE DO
Suddenly Siblings takes a unique approach in the foster and adoption support realm by focusing on how bringing in a new child from a trauma background affects the children already in the home. We provide expertise and support for “resident siblings” before, during, and after the fostering or adoption process.
Support and Training
- Educating foster and adoptive families on the issues that commonly arise for resident kids which could lead to secondary trauma in them if not attended to.
- Educating families and kids on the critical steps necessary to mitigate, alleviate, or eliminate where possible, the secondary trauma stresses that resident kids face.
- Supporting parents to help their resident kids speak up for their own needs.
WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO
Suddenly Siblings™ was born from a passion project that first came into being as a graduate thesis assignment of the founder, beginning in 2016. Being an adoptive mom herself, with five biological children who were already in the home when they adopted, she saw first-hand the results of not knowing how to support the ‘resident children’.
With so much understandable focus on the needs of the newest children, she was unprepared for the more silent needs of the ones who came before. The graduate school project allowed her to research and discover that this population of resident siblings is greatly under-served. Suddenly Siblings™ hopes to change that. Her daughter, herself an adult ‘resident sibling’, came on board to offer her wisdom and perspective to parents eager to understand what their own children might be feeling.
Our resources are written by a mother-daughter team. Meet the authors:
Molly Heaton is an adult resident sibling, a big sister for 15 years to Russian-born, orphanage-raised, twin adoptive brothers with special needs due to early trauma. Although Molly was excited gaining new brothers through international adoption, as a young child, she was wholly unprepared for the changed family dynamics that affected her. As an adult, Molly has been able to process much of her past and offers her unique insights to parents through the platform called Suddenly Siblings™, which supports resident children like she was.
Her speaking engagements are popular as she shares both the good and the not-so-good parts of being a sibling to children who need so much from their parents, sometimes to the detriment of the resident siblings. Molly works in partnership with her mother and co-author, Gail Heaton, MA, to bring training to both resident children and their parents who want to offer their children the best support possible. She is often asked to share her wisdom and perspective to parents eager to understand what their children might be feeling about the changes in the family brought about by adoption.
Gail Heaton is the biological mother to five children (resident children) and an adoptive mother to twins. In an effort to help her adopted sons heal from their early abuse and trauma, she gained valuable experience and training as a Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) practitioner and Circle of Security Parenting facilitator. This led to a consulting practice for foster and adoptive families and working for an international adoption agency, supporting parents in both the pre- and post-adoption phase.
As a parent to resident children who were struggling with secondary traumatic stresses, Gail desired to learn all she could to support all her children. This desire led her to completed a graduate program, which allowed her to research and write about the needs of resident child in foster and adoptive families. The result of this research and education became Suddenly Siblings™, the support platform she founded for resident children and their parents. Gail is a speaker at adoption support groups and has written for the print publications Homeschool Enrichment and Adoption Today and the on-line magazine Adoption.com.
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