Separated by the Child Welfare System: The Journey of One Set of Fraternal Twins
This study explored the separation of twins in foster care and examined how their lived experiences relate to their interpersonal relationships as adults. Many researchers have studied the long-term impact of nontwin sibling separation in foster care, but little is known about the separation of twins, leaving a significant gap in existing literature. The purpose of this study was to examine the lived experiences twins who were separated in foster care as relates to their interpersonal relationships during adulthood. A qualitative, narrative approach was used to gather the lived experiences of one set of twins. The research questions examined how one specific set of adult fraternal twin sisters interpreted their personal experiences of being separated from each other while in foster care and whether this experience had an impact on their interpersonal relationships. The study relied on the theoretical foundations of attachment theory and family systems theory to support the use of existing literature and to integrate the research findings into current child welfare practice. Through personal interviews, each twin was asked to recall experiences from foster care and comment on the impact of being separated from their twin. Thematic analysis of the interview data and observations of the interview process helped to identify four themes: forming successful attachments, mental health issues, trauma history, and number and type of placements experienced. To encourage social change these results can inform the child welfare system, add to the body of existing research, and influence future placement decisions regarding twins in foster care.