Sibling relationships are very special; anyone with a brother or sister knows this. Brothers and sisters are your first playmates and first best friends. Sure, siblings fight and bicker, but when it comes down to it, they also take care of and defend each other; they laugh and learn together.
The majority of the children and young adults at Love & Hope Children’s Home have biological siblings also living in our home. Many also have biological siblings who do not live with us. Either way, they all share a very special bond with their family members. We love to watch them take care of each other.
During “sleepovers” in our dining room on special occasions, many of the siblings choose to sleep next to each other, arranging their mattresses so that they are as close as possible to their brother or sister.
A couple of the older girls sometimes ask how their younger siblings are doing in school. After we receive grades for their little brothers, they want to know how they did, concerned as we are for their success at school!
Our kids constantly share food with their brothers and sisters. If one of them gets to go out to lunch or dinner, they sometimes save just a little bit to take home and give to their waiting sibling. When someone has a bag of chips, the first person they seek out to share with is their sibling. Often when they have extra money to spend, they first think of their brother or sister while buying a snack at the tienda or pupusas for dinner.
One very special relationship that we have had the pleasure to observe for a long time, is the relationship that our twins share. Besides the different schools they attend (and that was a BIG change), the twins are ALWAYS together, inseparable. They don’t fall asleep on each others’ shoulders or walk arm-in-arm as much as they used to, but they do dress similarly, like the same things, and share the same sense of humor; they make us laugh a lot.
Many of our kids also have siblings that live with their biological families. They see these brothers and sisters from time-to-time at family visits and you would never know that they live apart. They seem to start the visit right where they left off on the last visit: talking, laughing, playing. Younger brothers and sisters that live with their biological families are always excited to see their older siblings. It is wonderful!
We at Love & Hope Children’s Home also do what we can to strengthen relationships between the sibling groups that live at our home. Every Sunday, a group goes out to lunch after church together. Rachel and Justin have also had family dinners during the week, inviting one group of siblings at a time to eat at their house. Occasionally, some kids even go home to visit their biological families for a night or two.
Our hope is that our children would also accept their Love & Hope family as their family. Many of them do, especially as they have gotten older. Our older girls, for example, are very close. They have overcome many obstacles together, shared happy moments, shared sad moments, fought, made-up, played, encouraged and loved each other. Rachel has a frame in her house with the quote: “The bond that links your true family is not blood but of respect and joy in each other’s life.” We certainly feel that our children and teens are learning to do this. Our kids have grown-up together and they live life together. That’s what siblings are, right?