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possible FtA placement - help me with questions for SW!

(26 Posts)
arielmanto Mon 20-Jun-16 14:52:57

after 7 months of silence and thinking we would never hear anything from our social worker - we've heard something. we've been put forward for a fostering to adopt placement, for a 6month old. our SW has cobbled together all the info she can, but there is not much (we didn't expect much at this point).
we know that mother has had previous children removed, and both drug/alcohol misuse. father has history of DV and sexual violence, also has all previous children taken into care. both have mild learning disabilities, and both grew up in care.
the info on child is very sparse - start of life in the NICU, then one foster carer since. no drug withdrawal noted.

I have a million questions but I am also in a mega emotional state and need you lot to help me organise my thoughts!

Things that have crossed mind so far:

contact arrangements whilst in the fostering period?
other siblings diagnoses in terms of FAS?
contact with other siblings long term?
child's health and development at this point in time?
timeframe? (we've heard our LA move very fast, which fortunately we're in a position to accomodate)
are we the only ones in the picture at the moment? (we think we are, it's been presented that way)

is it too early to ask about what we need to be buying? (as in, what will FC provide/what can we replace of hers)

Carapepi77 Mon 20-Jun-16 15:33:22

Firstly it depends on how long the child has been in care and how much stuff they have accumulated, e.g have they had a birthday whilst in foster care and maybe given new toys or clothes.
Foster carers are encouraged to make sure the clothes and toys go with them, quite often the duvet cover and pillow as well so that they have something familiar with them.
I would make sure you have extra bed linen to change with.
Perhaps have a look round some charity shops for a few inexpensive toys so that you have something just in case.
They may not like the toys you buy so I wouldn't spend a lot to start with. They will soon let you know what they like if they are old enough to express so.
It sounds as if the other kids are in care as well the chances are there will be little if any contact with the birth parents, sad as it is quite often drugs and alcohol come first.
You may need to have some contact with the foster parents to begin with but that should fade out unless you all agree to keep in touch.
I'm not sure about other things for sure as we don't have medical info yet but as far as I can tell this should be given to you at the start before any placement so that you know how to deal with it.
Hope that helps a little.

Italiangreyhound Tue 21-Jun-16 00:07:26

arielmanto congratulations, this is really exciting. I think my number one question would have to be...

"How likely is this child to remain in care and proceed to adoption?"

At this stage, IMHO, I would just be thinking about whether or not you wish to proceed with this child.

So re "is it too early to ask about what we need to be buying? (as in, what will FC provide/what can we replace of hers)"

I''d say I would only be asking this if you have decided to go ahead... if yo have then I would ask but would hold back on buying until you know it will proceed.

If you do ask to take the bedding or any items not offered then I think it might be good to offer to replace the items with new. It really depends if bedding is the child's or the foster carers. If you can get it is is worth it, I think.

Regarding toys etc, a young child's needs change quite rapidly so I'd be asking about time frames etc before buying anything.

arielmanto Wed 22-Jun-16 10:36:36

Thanks guys. Have just heard that the SWs are probably coming on Friday morning. How on earth do I sit on my hands until then?!
We're making the most of the adrenaline boost by clearing out the cupboards in the "spare" room which were full of crap full of useful old coats and boxes, and setting up a cot.
There seems to be a fine line between presenting yourselves as "prepared" and presenting yourselves as crazy! We figured cot was ok, baby clothes / car seats a bridge too far. At least the cot covers most of our age range, if this placement never happens.
Work productivity is now at an all-time low..

Nuzza Wed 22-Jun-16 12:49:56

Ariel, we were in a similar situation : our LO arrived aged 6 months, and we were initially foster parents (it wasn't an FtA placement) though as things unfolded we're lucky enough to have her with us for good now, and she's an utterly lovely two-year old. Like you we had almost no notice to get ready (and our SW mistakenly told us she was 3 months old so we got the wrong things ready anyway). It was all so hectic and at first terrifying; looking back, the thing I'd most like to have done to prepare was just get myself a bit mentally ready, if that's possible. I wouldn't worry about stuff: all I really wish I had had then is a sling, to carry her close as much as possible. My mum said that what she really needed from us at that point was just cuddles and I think that was helpful advice for us. Very best of luck!

Italiangreyhound Wed 22-Jun-16 17:07:12

Yes, best of luck ariel.

thefamilyvonstrop Wed 22-Jun-16 20:00:19

Ariel, I would focus questions on the process as Italian mentioned.
- Why is the child in a foster to adopt (6 months is older than many fta placements which are normally days/weeks old)
- what the position of wider family is (have the relevant assessments of wider family been made and why are they not proceeding with them)
- what will contact with birth family be and how will it be managed
- what support is in place for the child's needs

Best of luck.

Mama1980 Wed 22-Jun-16 22:40:11

Honestly the only questions I would really be thinking of are, why 6 months, as has been said that quite late for fta? how likely is the baby to remain in care/proceed to adoption? Have wider family placements been assessed and exhausted? How will birth family contact be managed/what is the plan for that?
I would also question why is a fta placement being sought now, it suggests maybe that the birth parents were considered as able to provide sufficient care, or someone else was, hence a foster carer up until now-will this be revisited in future if birth family contact goes well?
As far as things go, they don't really need much, a blanket and sling are as much as I'd be thinking of really, I'm sure foster carer would have all other immediate essentials.

Mama1980 Wed 22-Jun-16 22:42:54

Oops posted too soon, mean to add FAS info on other birth siblings would definitely be worth asking about though by its na true FAS as I'm sure you know is notoriously difficulty to predict its severity and implication, but my youngest dd (placed in my care at birth) was born addicted and has FAS, and happy to answer any questions on that aspect if I can.
Bets of luck with everything.

arielmanto Thu 23-Jun-16 09:46:11

Thank you everyone - and thanks Mama - it does indeed look like there may be some effects of FAS and there are older siblings that we will be asking about in depth. I will be back on here tomorrow asking more!

fasparent Fri 24-Jun-16 01:28:12

Be very carefull with the FAS, FAS is an umberella term and includes many many conditions which may or may not be related too FAS. Criteria for diagnosis of FAS is that 1st are referred too Genatic clinc too see if there are other Genetic problems, A referal too a FAS Clinical assesment is unlikly too happen untill child is around age 7., due too child development issues.
If you Foster too adopt there would be no imediate answer's regards FAS. its all about development unless its a classical diagnosis from birth.
You would have too join NHS Que for support and treatment. You could fast track this however by Joining the NHS Genomes Project if you are accepted
See Webb 100,000 Genomes Progect.
There is now also the Adoption Support fund which LA can accsess support (long term) for children which may have FAS FASD conditions, would ask about this
see www.first4adoption.org.uk search Adoption support fund
is only a one line quote so have too read carfull as not too miss it.

Kr1stina Tue 28-Jun-16 07:01:58

How did it go ?

arielmanto Tue 28-Jun-16 12:46:55

it went very well!
our SW (love her) and childs SW (not so sure) came over with photos and video. we had a list of questions and asked if we could discuss them before we saw the child's pics etc as otherwise we wouldn't be able to focus!
from the offset it felt like the child's SW was "selling" them. It was really uncomfortable for a while (for me, DP didn't notice) as she went on and on about their "beautiful eyes" and how they suck their fingers and it's really cute etc and ignored all our attempts to ask medical questions and contact questions. Our SW just sort of waited for a gap in the conversation and then physically leaned over to us and said "do you want to ask me your questions?" she had medical reports etc with her and was very forthcoming.
The uncertainties are as we expected, and although child's SW said "no, mum USED to have a problem with alcohol but she didn't drink during this pregnancy" I really believe that's bullshit wishful thinking. There are a couple of issues including small head circumference at birth - not flagged by either SW but by our own research - which I'd like to talk to medical advisor about. Contact currently 3 times a week but will be reduced to 1 as BP not turning up. PO due to be granted on 3/8, but again, I'll take that with a pinch of salt!
All these things aside there is absolutely nothing which was a dealbreaker for us, and we did then look at the videos and pics which was the most peculiar heart-tugging experience.Very very surreal, and so exciting.
Child's SW had a cursory look round our house, made some cooing noises over the cot - which was the only thing we'd really set up, just in case we jinxed it, and declared herself happy.
A couple hours after they left, our SW rang to check how we were feeling and that we wanted to go ahead - Last thing Friday pm we got the call to say we needed to start shopping! ADM will ratify the temporary FtA decision tomorrow apparently - so a little part of me is still holding back (but it's certainly not my bank account).
after that we will meet medical advisor and foster carer, and it looks like intros will start early next week. They're only set to be 2/3 days.
right now I am at work attempting to make everything as tidy as possible before I prepare to handover..

arielmanto Tue 28-Jun-16 12:50:57

regarding child's legal status - the reason they have been in FC for 5 months is because mum has been being assessed to parent baby. Mum has failed every test and assessment, poor woman, and finally conceded to her solicitor that she would be ok with baby being placed for adoption. technically baby could have been placed much earlier for concurrency, but seems our LA will only do FtA, and only when they feel "99.8%" sure that the child will end up being placed for adoption. They didn't have that certainty until recently, when they knew they had all the paperwork.
(both BM and BD have prior assessments for previous children and we have been party to a lot of detail, and feel comfortable with the level of risk.)

Char22thom Tue 02-Aug-16 20:26:00

How is everything going Ariel?

Kr1stina Thu 04-Aug-16 10:45:52

Yes, do let us know how you are getting on . Hope it's all good news

arielmanto Thu 04-Aug-16 12:20:50

Hi all!
She moved in on the 10th July and from then until yesterday all our troubles were "normal" ones (abject terror, sleepless nights, midday wine consumption, endless contact and Dr appts..) and we have all bonded to a point now where we actually look forward to her waking up in the morning!
However yesterday was the first court hearing, which our SW had assured us was when the placement order would be issued. I've read too many stories on here to believe that! And knew BP would put up some sort of a fight - despite missing contact for two weeks now. We had a call last night to say BM solicitor has asked for her to be re-assessed as a possible option - in a 12 week residential placement with the baby. Shit has hit the fan. BF is allegedly "out of the picture" despite them being together 2 weeks ago, but as he is the flight risk and the one with the sexual abuse allegations I imagine he has made himself scarce to see if she has better luck appealing on her own. She hasn't even seen the child for 2 weeks, has even missed contact today, for example. The judge agreed to her being assessed by the residential centre to see if they would accept her. We will know if they would by the 31/8. If they say yes, then our LA have a chance to argue against it. I cried a lot yesterday. 12 weeks?! That's half her life again! And the last month with us has been very hard for her, you can see how much she missed FC and struggles with new people. We've finally gotten to a place where we can all bond and now this happens? I have to believe the centre will see she is unsuitable - she has never had custody of child, she has serious drug problems, has been homeless, has a learning disability. Most pertinently, she was high when baby was born and then disappeared for a week AWOL from hospital. If she wanted the chance to be with the baby surely that would have been the time?
I'm rambling - we are en route to a LAC review and a meeting about this. My mind keeps going to the worst case scenario - what if they allow this 3 month placement with BM and it doesn't work out, and she ends up back in the system? By then a year old, probably, and having been passed from pillar to post? We cannot emotionally handle being the "backup option" if this happens. It's absolutely devastating to say but if she is put in the 12 week placement we would have to bow out permanently at that point I think. then I die inside thinking how can I say that about this little girl? I am falling in love with her.
Oh man - feels like we are a FTA cautionary tale!

Kr1stina Thu 04-Aug-16 12:26:39

I'm so sorry to read this , how awful for you . No wonder you are distraught flowers

So you await the decision on the 31st, and then if it goes against you the LA will appeal ?

fasparent Thu 04-Aug-16 14:01:25

Has BM passed mandatary recent drugs test's.
May also need one prior too any rehabilitation assessments.
Which must be negative.
Speak too LA for advice.

Mama1980 Fri 05-Aug-16 08:14:38

I'm so sorry to hear this. Devastating for all concerned.
Have the LA told you whether they will appeal if the decision if bm is assessed successfully?
Or do they support the scenario.
I'm sure you don't want to hear this but i have seen bm s pull it together at the 11th hour, devastating for you but ultimately I believe they and the baby deserve that chance if it's at all possible. And if she fails the assessment (which frankly sounds very likely given that a mandatory drugs test will be administered) at least you have the comfort of being able to say to baby that every avenue was tried and explored, there will be security and comfort for both of you in that eventually even though it doesn't feel like it now.
Sorry if any of that is clumsily worded, I hate ss and the whole system when I see posts like yours.

Italiangreyhound Fri 05-Aug-16 08:43:40

I am so sorry this has happened. really hoping a d praying authorities will see sense. Poor wee mite has been through enough. Birth mum and dad sound totally unsuitable, how sad for all of you, them, you and most of all little one. Hang on on there.

arielmanto Fri 05-Aug-16 20:39:13

Thank you all so much. We had a terrible night weds and morning on Thurs, but after meeting with our SW, Childs SW and an independent reviewer chap on thur pm we feel a lot better. What they neglected to mention on the phone was that BM has been turned down by two residential placement centres already so far, and this is the only one which has even agreed to check her viability in person.
The general vibe from the people who were in court, and who know the judge, is that he wants to fulfil the requirement (and the ballache since Re. BS) to explore all possible avenues before placement order is issued. He apparently explicitly said BM legal team would have to foot bill for viability check (usually it would be spilt 50:50 with the LA) and also that the existing date for final hearing (3/9) would absolutely not move and therefore they would need to submit their results by the 27/8. This allows for our LA to appeal and to cross examine the person carrying out the viability check on BM. The Guardian is on our side which seems to carry a lot of weight. The LA are very much on our side. During meeting yesterday we had baby with us and she did a spectacular poo which we tidied with aplomb, and then she demanded lunch and ate like a trooper. SW both commented that they could see how relaxed she is with us and vice versa - which is good as poor BM can't change a nappy or do a full feed without having help - and as she hasn't been to contact for ages I can't imagine her skills in those departments are getting any better.
We were also able to talk about our medical concerns for LO in the meeting which will be added to the court notes - good for us for future funding hopefully and also as reasons why BM wouldn't cope.
Aiaiai, thank goodness LO is blissfully unaware of all this! And totally gorgeous at the moment because she's sleeping smile

PoppyStellar Fri 05-Aug-16 20:58:52

That's really lovely to hear. I'm glad things are looking a bit more positive.

Italiangreyhound Sat 06-Aug-16 00:18:33

Great news.

It is so sad birth mum can't cope and that is what the powers that be need to remember. Because babies change into toddlers, into preschoolers, into primary, secondary, teens! Each stage is hard and new skills are needed! Maybe one day birth mum could manage a nappy but by that time would the child have moved on. All the decisions Birth mum might make, like allowing access to her life to unsuitable people etc

It''s very sad birth mum can't cope but the reality is little one needs a family who can.

Hang on in there.

arielmanto Thu 01-Sep-16 19:42:55

Greetings all - sorry for resurrecting an old thread but thought better to add to the story on here for continuity!
LO had final hearing today and we had the call to tell us that the care order and the placement order have both been made. Birth parents have not attended contact since the start of the month - even after the threatened viability assessment, and it seems there were no objections left to make. LO is now officially free for adoption. Hoorah! I don't think it's sunk in yet - she's been here two months and made such massive progress, it sort of felt inevitable that she would be our daughter .. But not quite, there was always the little niggle in the back of the mind that the PO might not be granted (exacerbated by the drama at the start of the month!). Now I can feel my brain starting to reshuffle things, to really imagine school, and holidays, and firsts together. Which is amazing!
But there's also a fear which I was going to come on here and ask y'all about anyway. I'm worried baby isn't emotionally connected to us that much yet.. She's very resistant to cuddles and eye contact, which is totally understandable, we took her from her one FC who'd had her since birth, but it makes me sad. And worried. Will it ever get better? I mean, she laughs, she giggles, sometimes she will make eye contact (especially when you're feeding her) and that's always amazingly intimate and bonding. We've read all the books and we've had her in a sling, we're doing lots of skin to skin, bathing, swimming, tickling. She seems to like us - I'm just worried she doesn't love us. It sounds so trite written down! She's 8 months old, I'm sure it will all come with time. It makes it hard on those days when you feel like the babysitter.

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