Questions for experienced adopters, please

(39 Posts)

Hi all, a few quick questions, please....

1) Is it normal/appropriate to buy a small gift or flowers for our social worker. She is only taking us as far as panel and not taking us on to matching?

2) When you start matching process do they normally suggest one child at a time? 3) How much info do you get on a child? 4) How long do you get to decided?

5) Are holidays with your new child appropriate in the first year?

6) If a child is placed with you can you have a holiday abroad before the child is finally declared your adopted child? 7) Might it depend where you go, e.g. close by overseas, France/Ireland where ever or far away overseas?

OK enough questions, would welcome any answers here or by private message, please.

Thanks.

Lilka Sat 17-Aug-13 12:11:12

1) I think a small gift or flowers would be nice and appreciated

2) Depends on how you and your social worker decide to do it. Some would bring you several profiles at once and then you can ask to see the CPR of any you are particularly interested in. Other workers might prefer to only show you one profile or CPR at a time. So basically they select the child they think is the best match for you before approaching you. Mine showed me multiple profiles/several form E's at once but told me which ones she thought were the most likely potential matches. She was right. I did it that way because I wanted to be proactive and see all the potential matches myself but many prefer to let the sw do the initial selecting.

3) all the profiles I've seen have been a few hundred words, and the form E's (old name for a CPR) were much longer and had a great deal of information in them. The profiles are only an initial introduction to the child so you can decide whether or not you want to see the CPR but the CPR itself should give you enough information to know whether or not you want to adopt this child. It should have a lot on the child background, experiences, development, behaviour, medical etc.

4) you should get as long as you need, I took a good 2 weeks with DD2' s form E before I said I wanted to proceed and adopt her. But I had a great deal to consider because she had many needs, some people don't even need an hour before they know they've found their child.

5) Depends very on the child and how you're all doing. I would personally suggest avoiding holidays in the first 6 months entirely, and then using your best judgement after that, and maybe try a short low key break in the last 6 months if you feel you'll all manage it.

6) I don't think there's any legal barrier to a child in lac going abroad for a week or two, although you would definitely need the permission of social services and a signed letter from them if you wanted to do so. However if your child doesn't have a passport then avoid it because getting a passport would be hard - they'd need to involve the birth mum and try and get her own bc etc and she might just try and obstruct everything. Plus social services would have to do some of the application and that takes time. Many people find it takes ages and a lot of stress so IMHO it's just not worth the hassle. Go somewhere in the uk and wait until you're all finalised before dealing with the passport office.

7) I don't think so

allthingswillpass Sat 17-Aug-13 12:15:27

1) no we bought no presents for SW's, we felt its their job, and they didn't go above and beyond.
Yours might be different.
2) We had no offers from our LA in 10 months so eventually took matters into our own hands and went on BMP & CWW and banged out emails to any children we were interested in. Finally found LO through NAR.
3) firstly we got profiles, different LA's work differently some hand out CPR straight away, others do not. We actually sort LA's that didn't practise competitive matching - it's bad enough IMO!
4) we read info ASAP and said yes if we were interested so they wouldn't look at other adopters.
5) depends on the child. They need to attach to you and your home. Our LO is used to family holidays, a lot of LAC are not.
6) taking a LAC away anywhere IME requires permission from LA. You will have one less obstacle if they already have a passport, however, then you have to go through customs with a child with a different surname to you and I believe this can be a pain but have no personal experience yet!
Hope that helps.

Kewcumber Sat 17-Aug-13 12:33:12

1 - I didn't buy presents for social worker

2-4 - Uk matching wasn't relevant to me

5 - it really depends on child AND you. I didn't but then I was so glad to be home and getting into a routine that the thought of disrupting it all was a nightmare. I also suffered from PAD for a while and really didn't want to deal with the stress of a holiday. I found holidays to be really more of a chore than a pleasure for a while (certainly the first year). But I was a first time parents and DS was very young and delayed and attached to me like velcro... the thought of doing that somewhere else without all my home comforts wasn't my idea of a holiday!

6 - technically you can but the hassle factor of arranging it would have put me off even had I wanted to (see 5 above) - I stuck to the UK for quite some time even after DS was legally mine.

7 - I doubt where you go will be relevant although friends of mine who have a house in France and go out there for the whole summer did get permission and went right from the beginning but tbh it wasn't really a holiday as such more a second home so the whole disruption thing wasn't so relevant.

I don't really think you can decide this in advance because age and behaviour makes a big difference - but you might find a child who has challenging behaviour makes holidaying very stressful for you and not a break at all.

Bucket and spade holidays close to home for many years until DS was about 5 worked well for us.

Kewcumber Sat 17-Aug-13 12:34:38

Oh and if you have a child with food issues going to another country can cause big problems even if you have learnt to deal with it at home. Sleep issues (from experience!) can sometimes be exacerbated terribly in strange places.

Thanks so much Lilka, allthingswillpass and Kew.

allthingswillpass, what is NAR?

Thanks so much. The only holiday we might want to consider would be to visit friends where we could shop at local supermarket and buy food we knew little liked etc. We have had a bit of an invite abroad for next year and due to passport issues I think it is best to decline for now and see if we can do it another year. I very much hope little one will be with us by next summer but doubt they will be legally one of the family so it is just too many 'ifs'!

After little one comes to live with you, now long before you actually adopt them legally? I mean on average etc.

Thanks

KristinaM Sat 17-Aug-13 20:36:31

I wouldn't do a holiday with friends, even in the uk. Too unsettling . Most kids have many moves, they need stability and structure. Adapting to a new home and family and nursery /school is quite enough for them.

It's really not like having another baby ( born to you) where you just expect them to fit into your existing routine. Everything has to be adjusted to suit the adopted child. Every decision you make you have to think " how might this affect x? "

Even if they see quite flexible,too much change is very stressful for them.you want them to use their energy to attach and bond, not cope with MORE changes.

Thanks Kristina wise advice.

Lilka Sat 17-Aug-13 23:20:44

NAR = National adoption register

KristinaM Sun 18-Aug-13 09:23:03

If you think about it,for most of us, packing up our cases and leaving home means going on holiday, a happy positive time. We go with the ones we love, we are in control. We have choices. And we know everything with be back to normal in 2weeks.

For many of our children it means the terrifying experience of leaving everything you know ( even if its bad) ,your family , home,school /nursery, bedroom, family, toys, family food and smells, routines and moving to mars. It could only be the other side of town but it feels like mars to a 2yo. It's like being abducted by aliens. It doesn't matter how nice the aliens are, if your SW tells you it's your "forever family" and they show you a nice picture book of their home and cat. .its still mars and they are still aliens .

Thanks, Kristina, for reminding me what is important.

KristinaM Sun 18-Aug-13 18:11:59

Of course, if you don't have a child placed by next summer you will be mad with me for spoiling your holiday ;-)

I there any chance you could decide nearer the time ?

Of course, I just wanted to give our friends a heads up, they all seem to have more money than us and so the reunion holidays are going from a day visit to a weekend locally and then to a week internationally. It is (for us) our main holiday and does involve staying in somoene's house. For our daughter it is bliss but I am aware another child may find it all much more difficult. I am hoping in time family holidays will be part of the picture and that the stress and sadness associated with moving to a place for a week will go away but maybe I am kidding myself!

KristinaM Sun 18-Aug-13 20:42:54

I hope it will too. I think most adopted kids are ok with holidays or days out after a while, but some always find them difficult. I think it's probably hardest for toddlers, as they can't verbalise or rationalise their worries or feelings. I've no evidence for that BTW, it's just my opinion :-)

Do you mean when they are toddlers or those who are adopted as toddlers always feel that way, am assuming the former.

MuseumOfHam Sun 18-Aug-13 21:22:22

We did give a small gift to our SW.

We were only told about one child at a time. We initially saw just a very out of date A4 page about DS, the when we said we were interested we also got to see the CPR, meet his SWs, medical advisor and FC. Any movement on their side was pretty glacial, so how long WE got to decide was pretty much a theoretical question.

We took DS for a low key short break after he'd been on Mars with the aliens (like it KristinaM!) for 6 months. It was, um, a mixed success. DS is 6 now and likes the idea of holidays, and does indeed enjoy them, but still gets anxious and manic, with lots of behaviour we thought we'd seen the back of.

MuseumOfHam Sun 18-Aug-13 21:30:44

Oh yeah, Don't forget to tell them that you will be coming BACK from holiday. Or that there will be a toilet there confused. Two years ago DS was particularly away with the fairies pre holiday, and I decided to show him pics of the hotel online to reassure him about where we were going. The point where he visibly relaxed was when he saw a pic of bathroom, turns out he'd been worried about where he was going to GO.

Oh MuseumofHam (very interesting name!) how lovely, I think going to the loo etc is quite a worry for some kids. I do usually remind me DD about it when we go out and if we go to a friends house she has not been to be before I sometimes ask the friend to show her where it is. DD is not adopted but like all kids she might feel worried about stuff so I can see where your ds is coming from. Thanks for the tips.

Any more tips about travel with children adopted into your family very welcome. (DH tells me we will not be going on any more holidays for a while anyway! sad

I mean the friend who is a child her age! Like a girls go to the loo together type thing sometimes! They are sometimes both in the loo chatting!

Lilka Sun 18-Aug-13 22:52:20

Oh God girls and their toilet breaks!! As soon as they get to about 11 they want to go to the toilet in little gangs! What an enticing place to have a gossip hmm They've grown out of it mostly at 17 but a few years ago, if DD2 was with friends, they would all want to go at the same time without fail. If one goes 'I need the loo' suddenly they all do.

Kristina has great advice smile

I agree you have to reinforce the concept that you are going home again. Many children in care won't have experienced holidays before adoption even if they are older children so you are introducing a new idea to them which as Kristina says also involves leaving home with a suitcase so might be very anxiety provoking. Because my kids are quite visual I have used pictures timetables in the past of where we are going, what we are going to do there and include the return journey with pictures of home at the end Eg on the last box it might say when we get home we will eat a small snack and go to bed, with picture of the kitchen attached. The holiday timetables would get displayed on the wall throughout the holiday so they could see we were going home by looking at it (as well as when we were eating dinner that day)

However I think for many children although preparation and anticipation helps, it's really only the experience of actually coming back that convinces them. You can say anything but deep down they might not believe you until you have really pulled up in the driveway. After the first holiday subsequent holidays should hopefully be less worrying for them as they have already experienced coming back.

How best to introduce the idea, Lilks a weekend or just a nighht away? Would it be easier if first weekend away was relaties (with or without other kids?) or to a B and B or hotel (travel lodge??). We don't do fancy hotels?

Devora Sun 18-Aug-13 23:43:11

1 - Normal but not necessary. We gave posh chocolates, because our SW had been a star.

2 - What Lilka said.

5 - I think it depends, but tread warily. We didn't go away for nearly 2 years.

6 - What Lilka said.

yy to telling exactly what will be happening and that you will be coming back. I still forget this sometimes but it is important. I met an adoptive dad once who said that they moved house about a year after adopting siblings. He thought they were very well settled, and was shocked when his dd went into a meltdown. Turns out she thought the parents were moving house, and leaving the children behind sad

Oh how awful about the moving house thing. Yes, will make a mental note to explain all carefully! Is it good to ask them what they think and then explain or just explain?

Meita Mon 19-Aug-13 09:37:03

I hope you don't mind me adding a question here, as people have been giving such good advice: How about 'holidays' that are basically just 'travelling to grandparents' house' (but, gps live far away or even abroad, and the travelling may involve getting on planes or such)?

Surely visiting grandparents would be possible at some point, but would the added distance likely make things harder?

When you helpful ladies (thanks!) say you didn't go away for x years, does that include not going to stay with grandparents?

KristinaM Mon 19-Aug-13 09:58:06

Yes, for me that's included going away at all. It's the packing, leaving home , travelling , living elsewhere with different people, food, smells, noises and routines that's so upsetting for traumatised children .theonly thing that's slightly better about staying in a home rather than a hotel is that you MIGHT have a littel more control over foods. Otherwise it's just like moving foster homes again, or from their birth famiy to foster care.

If grandparents who live abroad want to see the child, they can always travel to you.

If they are too unwell to travel, then it's probably better for one of the parenst to go and see them and the other remain at home with the children, although that's not ideal. TBH if you have very elderly frail parenst who live abroad and you have to vistsi regularly, then you already have your hands full and probably don't have enough time and space for an adopted child in your life right now

I know this is hard, people always say" of course we will alter our routine to suit an adopted child" but she it comes down to the reality of it, many aren't so keen .

If a child doesn't attach and feel secure , then you are MUCH more likely to have seriously problems later on, especially in teenage years. It's not just that you might have a difficult holiday . It about the child's long term psychological development .

Of course I'm not saying that one holiday will create all these problems. But it's it really much to ask , is it, to have a " staycation " for one or two summers? Anyway , as other have said, you probably won't be able to take the child abroad until the adoption order is granted and then you have to apply for the passport, so that coudl easily be a year or so .

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