Sibling relationships are one of the most interesting relationships we can be a part of in our life. Sometimes we love our siblings, and sometimes we can’t stand them. Sometimes we want to share our deepest secrets and sometimes we want to keep them out of our business. Sometimes we want to protect them and sometimes we want to fight them. But irregardless of how we are feeling about our brothers or sisters at any given time, they are one of the longest relationships we will ever be a part of. There are lifelong memories and experiences shared that no one else can understand like our siblings can. What makes our siblings, well…our siblings? We share parents and DNA of course. But let me dive deeper here. Sometimes things are a little more complicated, and our siblings aren’t our siblings by blood relation.


I think that there is probably a lot of unknown about the complexities of siblings that don’t share genes. Currently around 5 million Americans are adopted and 1 out of 25 families with children have adopted children (source Understandably so, we have to assume that a good percentage of those families have biological children or other adopted children as well. As much as I wish there were a crash course in how to turn non biologically related kids into siblings and do this well, unfortunately there isn’t. I think this is probably going to look different for every family. I think being intentional here is so very important. Maybe it will come naturally and maybe it won’t but that is ok. I am an adoptee who grew up with one brother biologically related to me and one not. I have to give credit to my parents for fostering this relationship well. As an adult looking back on my life I can tell you, without a doubt, that my parents didn’t love any of the three of us any less or any more despite how we came to them. My mom often used to say adoption for her was just another form of birth. I even recall her telling someone once, two of my kids are adopted and one isn’t but I can’t remember which is which. And she has lived out that truth every day of my life. I remember as kids saying to my brother who was theirs biologically “they treat you better because you aren’t adopted” and he would retaliate with “they definitely treat you better because you ARE adopted”. It’s so funny how perspective could skew how we both interpreted how well we were loved. Like I mentioned though, my adult lens now has shown me just how equally loved we each were/are. I love both the brother I share DNA with and the brother I don’t, equally.


My upbringing prepared me for when I would have the amazing opportunity to both birth a child and adopt one within a 4 year span. I remember my mom saying the love was the exact same and it wasn’t until I lived it out in my own life that I was able to truly grasp the magnitude of that statement. My kids are both so equally loved and cherished. The Lord blessed my boys with matching chin dimples even though their DNA doesn’t match. While they fight and bicker like any pair of brothers would do, we remind them often how blessed they are to have each other. I count it such an honor to get to raise and love two boys who had two different starts to life but both so equally mine.


While I paint a pretty picture based on my personal experience, I’m not lost on the fact that it’s not always so. Adoption in families can sometimes lead to someone feeling isolated if not addressed and talked about. This is where intentionality comes into play. Know your kids, listen to your kids. We often take each of our boys on one-on-one time with either mom or dad in order to focus on them personally, to listen to them and hear their hearts. In order to rear healthy children, we need to be present and mindful of their feelings and emotions. Thank goodness, there is good news here too, it’s so often seen that siblings of adoptees grow up to be adoptive parents themselves or seek professions where they advocate for at risk children.


When done right, sibling relationships between adoptees and biological kids can be beautiful. It’s worthwhile work.