Parents Abduct 8 Kids Back from Foster Care
Last week, the NY Times reported on a couple suspected of abducting their eight children illegally out of foster care during a family visit. Lawyer Norman Steiner says he met with both parents, 34-year-old Nephra Payne and the mother 28-year-old Shanel Nadal. The children were placed in foster care in 2009 after charges of parental abuse and neglect.
Police found the couple in their parked van with seven sons and an infant daughter safe inside. The children were described as being disheveled but in apparently good condition. He said the couple wanted to unify the family amid fears their children had been abused during the last two years in foster care.
Steiner says the abuse and molestation complaints for the children while they were in foster care are documented. He said, “I expect the parents to be fully exonerated and cleared of all charges,” he said. “Their actions were not only justifiable, but expected; it is exactly what any biological parent would do.”
This news story got me wondering: Large families with multiple siblings who love each other have a very hard time being separated into twos and threes when they go into foster care. How do these multiple siblings maintain contact over the months or even years they spend sadly apart? How do they communicate and commune and play and bond through the years?
I found one (of a few) well-credited organization that take in foster siblings so they can spend a week or two of summer vacations just being with each other again. A camp in upstate New York offers siblings who have been separated in foster care a chance to spend precious time together.
Nearly 30 children from New York arrive for a week or two each summer loaded down with swimsuits and bug spray to spend a week with siblings who live in different foster homes. Founded in 1995 by Lynn Price, a former foster child who was separated from her sister growing up. It seeks to create healthy sibling relationships for foster children, who often have difficult family lives.
In developing the camp, Price said, “There were no memories of birthday parties, sharing clothes or helping each other with homework or talking about boys. I thought about the kids who will miss out on something that is so critical to their growth and feelings of unconditional love.”
My heart bleeds for these separated sibs. If you are considering adoption or fostering, could you adopt a sibling group?