Adoption, Foster Care: These Siblings' Sad Story Highlights How Families Are Ripped Apart Due To Parents' Failures

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald February 03, 04:00 am

The Wagoner siblings from California have been ripped apart by their parents' failures and being in the foster care system did not help. Erica and her brother Eric are not sure if they will be able to see their twin sisters, Danielle and Shannon, ever again.

The twins were just 10-year-old when they were separated in 2012 from Erica, then 15, and Eric, then 16. Case workers had to take them away from their parents, Eileen Wagoner and stepfather David Helland, because drug addiction has made the adults incapable of taking care of four children, Cosmopolitan reports.

The siblings, however, lived in the same neighborhood but in different houses for a while. The foster care system believes that brothers and sisters have a better chance of adjusting into adulthood if they will still be able to continue to see each other if they cannot grow up together, according to a study published on Science Direct.

Eventually, Danielle and Shannon ended up becoming adopted kids of foster parents Margaret and Carl Ricki, while Erica and Eric became self-sufficient adults. In all those years in the foster care system, the siblings were not able to get together as regularly as they hoped they could.

The older Wagoners said they were not comfortable visiting the twins at the Ricki's residence because they always felt Margaret kept a close watch on them. Erica got the sense Margaret has been controlling the twins' interaction with her and Eric. Margaret said tshe was only protecting the younger Wagoners because they have been through a traumatic life with their former family.

When Danielle and Shannon changed their names to Avery and Abigail and became more adjusted to life as Rickis, Erica and Eric felt their twin sisters drifting apart. Unfortunately, foster care laws don't cover biological siblings' rights, especially when one of them is adopted by a new family.

The older Wagoners siblings are hoping a newly-enforced California foster care law, Assembly Bill No. 403, would help their situation as it will require adoptive parents and the siblings of the adopted child to have a contact plan. This plan, however, is still subject to the new parents' preference, especially if they feel it could bring harm than good to minors.

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