Relationship with foster cares how to manage, research on transition etc

(35 Posts)

Hi all we are approved to adopt but not yet matched. Reading of others experiences with foster carers, and knowing in real life a totally wonderful foster carer, I wanted to think about advice for 'managing' the relationship with foster cares and research on transition from foster care to the new 'forever' family!

Any advice, links to websites or guidance very welcome. When we finally do get matched I want to go into the whole thing well prepared and know how to have a positive relationship with foster carer for new little ones best interests! If that makes sense.

Thanking in advance....

musickeepsmesane Sat 16-Nov-13 20:53:37

Every one is different. I have had enthusiastic promises of 'we will keep in touch'. Doesn't work like that. Real life gets in the way and that's how it should be. I have been handed over to and been a hander over. The chances are it will be easier than you think. The majority of carers want the best for the kids and an adoptive, permanent home is, hopefully, a happy ending. Hopefully instinct with what is best for the children will guide you. Good luck with it all.

MissFenella Sat 16-Nov-13 21:38:16

I echo that, the disappointing answer is you won't know how it will pan out until you are there and the relationship won't be down to just you. Sorry! But on the positive, you have a good outlook so just anticipate all will be well and go from there.

excitedmamma Sat 16-Nov-13 22:02:32

I was a foster carer and am now "just" waiting for our adoption order... thankfully I've not had to move a child on to adoption.. it was always something I dreaded...

We have adoption training courses... we are warned how difficult, emotional and intense they are... I think from talking to others, many find it difficult to let go, to think you can't care for the LO's better than they can and to trust that everything will be ok after basically a short time of intros when the child isn't yet attached to you...

One of the best bits of advice I ever got was that kids always want the best of what is available... so during introductions, although you will be 'interesting' they know and feel safe with their FC... they will turn to them for guidance, comfort etc... but once you are the only one 'available' that is when the real bond/attachment begins...

Saying that, I know many who do an amazing job and are warm, welcoming and put the interests of the child first and their feelings & emotions second...

Some FC may have wanted to keep the child, so more emotions are in place... many may have had the LO's for a long time, perhaps from birth...

I'm not defending them... but being on sort of both sides of the fence, I know its incredibly hard to leave emotions outside... sometimes you just don't click... adoptors may be nervous yet excited... FC's may be already grieving and dreading the final day...

Having not been in that situation I cannot imagine how traumatic a time it is for everyone involved... goodness knows what the LO's make of it??

Am I getting confused Italiangreyhound... I thought you used to be a Foster Carer... ?? apologies if getting you mixed up with someone else...

Kewcumber Sat 16-Nov-13 22:02:37

I think you know that DS wasn;t in foster care but was institutionalised. Transition was still an important part of the early days for us and something that we talked about quite a bit on my prep course because when you are transitioning a child from an institution to a home, one country to another, one food to another and one language to another the cahnge is even greater for example you virtually stand no chance of keeping their food similar.

Unfortunately everything that was suggested (and sounded sensible) on our prep course didn;t work for DS and we had to work our own way through it.

The things which make it difficult to predict are - age of child, their degree /speed of attachment to you, how able you are to keep some things similar eg food sleeping toys etc.

One good piece of advice I was offered was to be certain you find out how they go to bed - one their own, in the dark, with a night light, in silence or with music what they wear etc.

Sleeping in our case was (along with eating) the trickiest transition.

namechangesforthehardstuff Sat 16-Nov-13 22:20:08

Thank heavens for you Italian, always asking the questions I want the answers to grin You're like a one-woman FAQ page. Keep it up!

Hope you're OK - is the wait horrible?

excitedmamma thanks, I have never been a foster carer. I and my DH are approved to adopt and not yet matched. I have a birth dd. I have a friend who is an amazing foster carer.

namechangesforthehardstuff thank you for that lovely comment. How great.

Kew thanks, please please please remind me of all this wisdom when the real situation arrives. I feel like the bit in Frasier where it goes 'And if you only take one thing from this class..and they've missed it!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylJ5PP3W9zQ From 2.00-2.47

Season 8, Episode 11 Motor Skills

(whole episode at www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_WB9GiOb0k and it's at 8.25-8.59 !!!! I am a huge Frasier fan).

Music and MissFenella thanks so much.

roadwalker Sat 16-Nov-13 23:03:58

I dont know if you go on AUK but on the old boards (I dont know how long they will be there
http://adoption.live.rss-hosting.co.uk/s/forum/108012/forum/
and search there is an extensive list of what to ask FC
it covers what washing products they use to routine, favourite foods etc

Of course it all depends on the FC and how they feel about LO being adopted. My DD's FC didnt have a clue what her routine was and her favourite food was pot noodle (at 14 months old!)
You have to be prepared for anything
It was clear my DD was not in a healthy environment, SW could see it too, so we changed plans and spent more time out of the home than we had expected
It saddened my that my DD walked away without a tear

fasparent Sat 16-Nov-13 23:12:59

We have experienced many many transition's over the year's no two are the same. thing's that help and should be available too you, are child's
weekly report log, these we pass too new family direct with life story book/work , memory box , photo record,( we also provide a life story photo power point) . THESE you should ask be too made available when child is placed. Also ask the same of too FP's leave nothing too chance.

We have usual in place video of new family and new home. Tommy toy
App. A4 Laminated photo's of New Parent's and Sibling's (we keep these personal too child keep in room , so they can say night night etc.)
some tot's have greeted new parents with Hello Mum and Dad when they 1st enter the house, We are just as nervous as new parents on 1st visit, best be relaxed and be your self, also non judgmental both ways, all family's are different, You will soon find out child's lifestyle, likes and dislike's , favourite toy's , food , how too settle down too sleep, any
history.
Children are accustomed too personal things , Toy's, own cloth's , blankets, bedding, can scene them by touch and smell , best too keep as much of their old stuff as long as you can. introduce new thing gradual.

Wish you luck just go with your heart.

Devora Sat 16-Nov-13 23:29:32

As you know, I had a very bad time with our dd's foster carer. I still regret that, but my attempts to keep in touch have been rebuffed so I guess that's it.

Two things I have found helpful in a difficult situation (which you may find yourself in, regardless of how well you prepare): first was keeping reminding myself of how lovingly fc cared for my dd, how it was her - not me - who sat by her hospital bedside, who rocked her in her arms day and night when she was going through the drawn-out effects of neonatal addiction, who gave her so much love and security in her early months. It's really hard to let yourself get bitter about someone who has done all that.

Second, was the repeated advice of my dp during our very difficult introductions week, to remember what this was about. Very very easy to become focused on this big power struggle between us and fc, but far more important to save our energies for dd. The fc is, after all, out of your life pretty quickly.

Most fcs do a wonderful job on risible money. They are often our only link to our child's past before they came to us. You are quite right to want to do everything you can to achieve a positive relationship with them. Sometimes, though, this is beyond your power and control.

fasparent Sun 17-Nov-13 00:16:22

Sorry too here of your situation Devora, We are fortunate not too have this experience , we tend too by choice mainly due too the great number of children involved, not too continue contact, but we have regular updates as too how they are all getting on, and we are available if parents ever need any help or support in the future. yes it is difficult when we have nursed and cared for some from a day old. , But better out come's far supersedes our feeling's .

fasparent I had a quick look and found this one.....

adoption.live.rss-hosting.co.uk/s/forum/108012/forum/

I have read the adoption UK boards in the past but to be honest (whispers!) they were a bit scary!

Trouble is some people say soon, some say not soon (to see fc again), so who is right and why?? I know it all depends on fc.

I am (I think) lucky in that I am usually not too easily rattled and so if the fc is not very nice to us then I can hopefully not allow it to get to me too much. I know devora had a bad time and I am not sure how I would cope. Just depends.

I guess would it help to try and put the fc in the position of expert and me in the position of learner and just ask lots of questions and be really interested etc. Easy to do if nothing else to do but of course little one is the main focus! Plus there is our dd if she comes to the house and ... here I am imagining imaginery conversations!!!

fasparent are you a foster carer and you mean you do these things for the children you have cared for who move on to adoption?w You said We have usual in place video of new family and new home. Tommy toy what does Tommy toy mean? Electronic picture fame thing?

Thanks, all appreciate this.

Maryz Cote D'Ivoire Sun 17-Nov-13 01:17:47

I will never forget the day we got ds1.

He arrived with a letter. Just a letter and one bottle of formula, no clothes apart from what he was wearing and no belongings at all sad

The letter said: Baby X takes 5 x 8 oz bottles of Cow and Gate. He feeds every four hours with his first feed at 8 am. He likes having a bath at night. He cries a lot.

That was it. I would have given my right arm to have met his foster carers and asked some questions sad.

In my opinion how it is dealt with depends very much on the age of the child, the length of time the child has been in the foster home, and more than anything how well you actually get on with them. Some you may like, some you may find harder to like, but if you are willing to communicate it should be all ok in the end.

Mary sad

lovesmileandlaugh Sun 17-Nov-13 07:54:07

I've been reading this forum with interest as we are Foster Carers preparing to move our LO to adoption. She has been with us since birth and we love her as part of the family. We know this is the best thing for her and absolutely support the adoption plans, but I would love to know how to make it as easy as we can for the baby, easier for her adoptive family, and also for my family. We would love to know how she gets on in life and have some contact, she is young enough that she wouldn't remember us, but we will always love her and wish her every happiness in life.

fasparent Sun 17-Nov-13 08:53:35

Tommy toy App . is a Toy you can buy from toys r us , an interactive page book, tot's can flick through. where you can record pictures and fun things about your self, siblings, child's new house and room can voice over too. Has been very use full for a few since they came out.
Yes we are FP's and we do these things for every child in co operation with LA's . AP's and Agency's. It is a recommended requirement should apply too all Adoptions, regardless of where children are placed from

Devora Sun 17-Nov-13 11:13:07

Yes, absolutely defer to the fcs expertise - they know the child best and usually have experience of these transitions. But also keep a strong eye on the bottom line and remembering that the priority is the feelings of the child, not any of the adults (we put up with all kinds of nonsense till our crunch point came when she tried to ban us from meeting bm, and at that point our advocacy for dd had to take priority).

But you know, don't overplan for this. You're a lovely thoughtful person who is very tuned in to others needs. The fc will have their own personality and way of processing things. It will be an intense and emotional time and sometimes people find that hard to handle but you just do your best as you go along.

Moomoomie Sun 17-Nov-13 11:45:25

I agree with Devora, try not to overplan this. It can often lead to problems, as you will not know what the FC is like until you meet.
We had a horrendous experience and a fantastic experience, the first was so awful that I was dreading the intros with dd3 for this reason. We could not have had a different approach, so much more positive.
I will admit the first FC spoilt the first few days with our wonderful new daughters because of her attitude to us. Our SW actually reported her to the agency afterwards.

musickeepsmesane Sun 17-Nov-13 12:02:02

I have handed over huge amounts of written info to families. Usually with an apology! It is very hard to take on board verbal information when in an emotional situation. I also make a point of being available. Some families need that, some never get in touch.
Our children (soon to be permanent) arrived with nothing. Luckily they were able to tell us their likes and dislikes but life would have been so much easier for them if we didn't need to keep asking questions. I am always in awe of how children manage new homes, while being aware that the easier it is at the beginning- the harder it gets.

newfostermummy Sun 17-Nov-13 13:24:55

I recently moved my 1st foster baby on to adoption. I was very on board with his adoption, but have to say it was still very stressful as a foster carer. I had been taking care of him for a year, and had bonded with him, as had my family. I had a "goodbye" party for him for all my friends & family, and took photo's of it for his memory book. Introductions took 7 days (he left on the 7th day), and fortunately I did like them which helped, although we interacted on a professional level. It was very odd having strangers in my home though. Day one they just came for a couple of hours with baby's SW. Day two it was half a day. I took them out to a local attraction and we had lunch. Baby was totally happy in their company fortunately. I encouraged them from day one to "take over" and so on day 3 onwards, they picked him up and took him out for the day. They brought him back at bedtime to put him to bed. I really appreciated that on the night before he left, they brought him back and asked if I would like to put him to bed for one last time (I'm sitting here crying now!). They made it clear they aren't the keeping in touch type, so I have to respect that. I have a new baby now, and am anxiously waiting to see if he is going home or adoption. I would love to adopt him myself, but LA is not keen of FC's adopting for some reason.

Newfosreemummy thanks so much. Gives me a really good perspective.

scarlet5tyger Tue 26-Nov-13 20:58:03

Italiangreyhound, I'm a foster carer who's moved on numerous children and I think the most important thing for you to remember at first is that the foster carer will be just as nervous as you! Also that as your excitement grows as the week (or two) progresses and it becomes real that you will be gaining an addition to your family so it becomes real to the FC that they are going to be losing someone they more than likely love very much. So don't be too surprised if they seem to distance themselves a bit from the little one - it's not that they don't care, it's that they care so much. This is how I cope at least.

I turn my house over to adoptive parents at the beginning of intros. From day one the baby is your baby and I try to tactfully withdraw more and more as the week goes on and let new parents take over. I like the new parents to feel comfortable and to be able to do things like make themselves a brew or something to eat if they want to, to not have to ask to use the bathroom, feel free to cook for the child/ren.

Newfostermummy, the first child is always the hardest to move on but you sound like you handled things perfectly. I know it's hard that they don't want to keep in touch but I would always prefer to know that upfront rather than have my hopes dashed further down the line.

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 26-Nov-13 21:08:30

Our bloody brilliant FC (60 odd foster children) handed over to us from the outset: I was changing a nappy, feeding DD, all of that basic carevgiver stuff on the first intro session. This was age appropriate for DD, might not be the right thing for an older child, but it really did help underline that I was "mummy" and DH was "daddy".

If FC don't offer these opportunities up, you should tactfully request to do them. "oh let me practice feeding X so you can see if I'm doing it right" type thing. And bite your tongue about anything they do that you might not necessarily want to do (trifle sponges as a teething aid..?) but keep routine etc the same at first. Plenty of time to adjust to your way of doing things later.

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