advise and tips gratefully recieved(10 Posts)
We are very excited to be seeing the social workers for siblings we are very keen on in a few weeks. Since receiving their details we have felt completely drawn to them and we really want them to join our family. This will be our first meeting re possible match since we were approved. We have heard that they are seeing another couple as well and we are trying not to get too invested yet in our enthusiasm for them but it’s hard. I wanted to canvas ideas on what we should prepare for the visit. I don’t want to seem to over the top but as the social worker’s don’t know our area should I put together a folder with details of local parks, nurseries, schools playgroups, classes and swimming pools? Any other preparation suggestions would be great. Thanks in advance
Hi flower I think that a folder of places in your area sounds like a fab idea. I can not give any advise as I have never been in your situation, but I wanted to say good luck and I have fingers crossed for you.
Are they visiting you at home or are you visiting them? Maybe bake some nice cakes to go with tea/coffee (where ever the visit is taking place). You could take, depending on the age of the children, maybe something that you can engage with them over, something interesting/enjoyable? Eg young children a bubble blowing tub each, cheap but fun.
Hope all goes well with your adoption process.
Hello, what an exciting time! I have only done this once (met prospective match's SW) and admittedly I didn't know about any other couples in the running.
But in case it's helpful, my advice is to focus on thinking about how you'll show them who YOU are. Activities and stuff are all wonderful but can come later. At this stage, the SW is coming to get to know you, to chat through some things in your PAR probably, and to also answer your questions about the siblings. So don't be afraid to have your questions ready, and try to make the questions connect to some of the thornier issues in the PAR. So if there are medical issues you could raise them and (if appropriate) show that you're comfortable with them. Or if you've spotted some particular needs in these siblings that you think you can meet, talk about that too.
As my opening question, I asked the SW "What are your hopes for this LO's future?" and that really helped me understand how well the SW knew them (so I could tell how deep their answers would be) and it also kept the conversation centred on the LO.
I hope you get lots more information, and that the meeting is really positive
I agree with patty. You need to use all your listening skills . Hopefully the SWs will know the children well and as she tells you about them, you will get hints as to what she thinks is important in a new family.
It's a bit like a job interview -you have to find out the keys knowledge, skills and experience they want and gear your Cv/presentation/interview to showing them how you meet these.
Some of these things might be very important , especially if she is an insightful and experienced worker. Others might be completely trivial , but you still need to go with them.
Eg I know a child who was placed with a family in the country because, they were told, she loved horse riding . Once the child was placed she went riding a few times and gave it up. She wasnt actually that keen at all, she only did it because foster carers did it and she went along with them.
And of course it's usual for children to take up new interests and drop others.
So I woudl hold off on the folder yet. It's good that you have done the research , if she says they love eg rainbows , you will know if there's a local group. And if you don't have children already, it will show that you are thinking about children's activities in your area.
The worker SHOULD be looking for much less concrete things, that will tell her what kind of family you are, in terms of lifestyle, energy levels, philosophy, values etc . And of course it's a two way process, although I accept it doesn't feel like it right now
Good luck !
And patty is so right about going over the PAR with a fine tooth comb. Ask questions related to the children from this.
So NOT " I see you want letterbox contact twice a year -what dates woudl that be "
And NOT " woudl the foster carer bring them here for introductions because I don't think we could travel all the way there ? "
" we can't do introductions in august because we always go camping in France for the whole month "
That is , questions that are all about you, your concerns and your convenience
But yes to
" I see that x and y happened to the children , how do you think that has affected them ? "
" You say they have trouble, with transitions -how could their new family help them with this ? "
" how could their new family meet their needs with regard to Z ? "
"I see they have made great progress in foster care, what is it about this particular foster family that has really helped them ? "
She might ask you what attracts you to the children. Please try to give answer that isn't focused on appearance ( they were so cute, winning smile etc ) or again, all about you
NOT " we knew they were for us because XS birthday is out wedding anniversary and Ys is when my grandmother died "
NOT " my DH is an arsenal fan and little x is too "
Use every question to show that you have though a lot about the children and their needs and are trying to make a realistic assessment of whether or not you can meet them.
Be warm but don't gush. Don't tell the SW how hard the process has been or how much you long for children . They are not a prize she is giving to the most needy and desperate family .
Try always to be child focused and child centred .
Wow thanks kristina, theoldhag and potkdotpatty thanks for the helpful and insightful tips and advise. Much appreciated and will help us in getting prepared.
flowerpowerlondon I cannot really follow the lovely Kristina but I will try!
We were 'in competition' with another family for our son! Can't quite imagine it now! The social worker said the things that made them feel we could parent little one well were all to do with our experiences. Before you worry if you do not have specific child related experience one of our items was about volunteering in a particular setting. It is not even related to ds remotely but for my dh it showed dedication and care, he has done it for a while and is committed and maybe because of it he has more insight, but really it is not at all relevant to our ds, but for the social worker it just revealed a side to my dh which was helpful. There was another for me and another for us as a family.
So as Kristina says It's a bit like a job interview -you have to find out the keys knowledge, skills and experience they want and gear your Cv/presentation/interview to showing them how you meet these. And be prepared (in the nicest possible way) that if you are not the best match for these little ones then it will be better for them to go with the match which is best for them and you will be a good match for someone else.
Please do tell us (anonymously, of course) how it turns out, if you feel you can.
We were seen by SWs for 3 sets of siblings. The first 2 times they were also seeing another couple and chose them instead, but it was for the best as the third time was for our girls (age 2 and 8 on placement).
I think you've been given good advice.
Focus on the children's needs and how you can meet them.
Ask questions about the children to help you understand them better, and know for yourselves you want to go forward.
Thanks again for all the tips and advise. At the end of the day the most important point is that the children get the best possible match regardless. Its hard as it will be 6 weeks from when we saw their cpr's to meeting the sw's and we are in total limbo focused completely on them. As I've given up work and am home full time now just waiting I have way to much time to think about it . Well when I'm not being the last min babysitter for my friends that is. Thanks again for all the tips and advise.
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