The Story of One Sibling Group’s Connection… Thanks to Project Visitation

Jun 9, 2023

At 16 years old, when she was first introduced to Project Visitation (PV), she had two precious years of rebuilding the relationship with her five other siblings. At the time, she didn’t realize what was taking place, but years later, she looked back at the old photos and finally understand what it all meant. The following is her story – the story of how Project Visitation helped her reconnect with her siblings through a unique program created to ensure that siblings in Hawaii’s foster care system maintained their connections through in-person visitations and events.

While Patty was living with her Resource Caregivers (AKA Foster Parents), her four brothers had already been reunited with their Dad. One day, completely out of the blue, Jackie and Peter (her Resource Caregivers), announced, “Megan is coming for you at 11:00 am. Get dressed for the waterpark. You’re spending the day with your brothers. And that was it. No explanations but no questions, either.

And sure enough, Megan was right on time, Climbing into the car, Patty casually asked, “So, what EXACTLY are we doing?” Megan smiled and answered, “Project Visitation. You’ll be hanging out with your brothers and I’m driving you there.” And before she knew what was happening, Megan suddenly brought out a portable camera and snapped a picture of Patty sitting in the front seat, Once today’s pictures were developed, they would all go into an album called “First Day” to commemorate the sibling’s experience. Patty had to grudgingly admit that it was a fun day hanging out together—swimming, sliding down the waterslide, splashing each other, and just enjoying each other’s company. The whole event was filled with other sibling groups, too, doing the same things. And the whole time, Megan was taking those pictures.

From then on, once a month, Megan always picked them up to meet at some location. Once, they went on a picnic at the park. Another adventure was spent at Waimea Bay, jumping rock. And the siblings even discovered that Hawaii had a roller skating rink! Patty started to look forward to these monthly visitations. And slowly but surely, the siblings began to rebuild their relationships. Tentative “Howzit’s” turned into big hugs. And goodbyes were always tearful when leaving one another after a really fun day.

Patty looks back at the two years she spent visiting her brothers through Project Visitation, and realizes how valuable this time was in becoming a family, again. They were making memories that no one could take away from them. And to ensure that every moment was never forgotten, Megan continued to take pictures of each and every visit, creating photo albums of their experiences together. By the time Patty was 18 years old, she had at least five full photo albums of memories! For Patty, it was so
important that their childhood wasn’t completely erased even after all they had gone through.

Project Visitation began the re-bonding process that had come to a halt when they were separated from one another. PV created an opportunity for each sibling to maintain the strong connections and healthy relationships they can proudly say they still have today. At the moment, they may not have realized the importance of the visits, but as adults, Patty attributes their strong bonds to the visits that Megan arranged for them, the time they spent in the company of one another, and just the love that grew from one month to the next. It opened their hearts to friendships with other people and showed the siblings that they were good enough to feel the love of their brothers and sisters. distance, joined by love. Sibling connections knew no time nor distance. It was just there. Always.