Meeting with previous foster carers coming up any advice?

(32 Posts)
Ladyofthehouse Tue 12-Feb-13 14:03:03

Hi,

Our DD's (1.11 and 2. 10) have been with us for around 4 months and settled in really well.

The eldest has been quite unsettled and we've had a lot of behavioural issues but she just seems to be calming down so want to try and be as prepared as we can be.

We're now due to meet up with their previous foster carers (whole family) and feeling really nervous. Has anyone else done this? Did you prepare your children in any way?

Happiestinwellybobs Tue 12-Feb-13 18:52:20

I'm sure someone will be along with more knowledge than me, but we meet up with DD's FC family every few months. She is younger (21mo) and when we first met up she was 12 months and had been with us 2 months. We keep it very low key so each time we have met somewhere we've had lunch and somewhere to play. I think it helps us that we keep in touch via email fairly regularly.

We didn't prepare DD due to her age. Sorry - probably not been much help!! But good luck smile

Ladyofthehouse Tue 12-Feb-13 19:32:24

Thankyou Happiestinwellybobs! I'd be surprised if our youngest was really aware of it all, but my eldest we're concerned about. She had also been moved about quite a few times and sometimes at short notice - for example I think one occasion was when she was napping and basically woke up somewhere else!

SW has advised us to try and explain it all to her and show her a photo of the FC. Her speech is quite delayed so it's often hard to know how much she can actually understand though.

Determined not to stress myself out over it though- must stay calm!!

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 12-Feb-13 20:02:35

We also see DD's FC on a fairly regular basis. We remind her who they are in advance (ie the people she lived with before she came to us), both a few days ahead of the visit and on the day, plus when they actually arrive. I think in your shoes I'd also explicitly say that DC will be staying with you, in case they are worried that they will be taken off with the FC again.

Good luck, hope it goes well

MissFenella Tue 12-Feb-13 22:16:31

What is the purpose of meeting with FC?
I ask because where I am they suggest only a one off meeting with FC after about a year and do not promote regular contact. 4 months in seems rather early in placement to meet up to me and I think your fears around confusion are rightly founded.
If you don't think there is a tangible benefit for your DDs at this moment you could always delay.

Lilka Wed 13-Feb-13 01:39:56

I would have said 4 months in was on the late side for the post-placement meeting. With young children the idea is to reassure them that FC's have not vanished off the face of the earth, so it needs to be soon enough that they are still bonded to FC and need reassurance about FC. My LA do it at between 3-8 weeks post placement normally. Get months down the line and the child makes an attachment to their adoptive parents, and FC's reappearing can make them feel unsettled again, especially if their memories of FC are beginning to fade. They might feel that they are about to be moved again

What do you mean by the whole family? If lots of people, I would be prepared for LO's to perhaps feel a little overwhelmed. I would also feel prepared for fallout afterwards. Even contact which ends up being very beneficial for the child, can still throw up lots of complicated emotions for them, so I would not be surprised if they become unsettled afterwards and their behaviour takes a dive for a few days afterwards. As they are young I would personally only tell them shortly beforehand and emphasise that they are seeing FC's but then coming home with mummy afterwards because this is where they live forever now. I hope it is beneficial for them though and that you get something good out of it

cedar12 Wed 13-Feb-13 09:31:21

Hi Ladyof the house, we adopted ds when he was 21months. He is now 2 years 4months. I am very torn about meeting with fc.We keep in regular contact via email but havent met up.But like miss fenella our la advise to leave meeting up for a year.
The fc havent directly asked to meet but have been hinting and i am really not sure what to do for the best. Dh is against it at the moment.
The only advise we have given by la is to meet in a neutral place like the park. I know of one family who went back to fc house after a year and it caused lots ofconfusion even after a year, and that was young child 1 years old when she was adopted. I am sure it is benefical in the long run for the children.
I wonder why different local authorities give such different advise?
Sorry not sure if i have been much help! I hope the meeting goes well. Good luck.

gallivantsaregood Wed 13-Feb-13 11:24:30

We are just about to meet our LO who will be coming home very soon. We have been advised that certainly in the short term reintroducing FC is not to be advised.we can txt/email to Lethem know hier LO settles etc and we can do birthday/Christmas cards etc.

I feel really sad for FC as they gave cared fir LO since birth :-(

gallivantsaregood Wed 13-Feb-13 11:25:02

Sorry for all the typos......

Ladyofthehouse Wed 13-Feb-13 13:51:30

Thanks for all the replies. The purpose is to show the children that people don't just disappear from their lives.

It will be the FC and her husband, 3 children and new child they are fostering. We are meeting in a neutral place.

We're happy to stay in touch and have sent them photos of the girls and cards etc. It was meant to be a few weeks ago but FC asked to postpone it.

It's good to hear others have the same worries out there! I think I'll look to talk to her just before we go to visit - will let everyone know how it goes!

Happiestinwellybobs Wed 13-Feb-13 15:34:58

I didn't realise LA's gave any advice on this - we certainly weren't told anything about contact with FC, but want to remain in contact as they're lovely and had had DD since birth.

Ladyofthehouse Wed 13-Feb-13 19:07:07

We were just told to text the evening we brought them home to say all okay, then to email a bit more detail a week later and then after 12 weeks to meet up. Our FC specified it just before handover. We'll also be writing to her.

I've no problem at all with keeping in touch - my only concern is meeting up and especially with the other children there. She was also called 'mummy' so it's going to need an explanation of how she was just a temporary mummy...but obviously I'm not. Just seems a lot for a 2 year old to take in!!

gallivantsaregood Wed 13-Feb-13 19:20:58

It's different for us as lo us coming to us on a permanent fostering basis. As he is so young it is adoption really, in everything but name. He will be our son and will be a member of our family forever...... Sorry if I caused any confusion. :-D

We are about to do ours in about 2 weeks, and we are a bit nervous as well. Friends of ours who have been through this have said that meeting on mutual ground can work - like a park or something, as opposed to the house, but I think that will depend on the child. Best of luck

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 14-Feb-13 07:15:40

We were told by our LA that the FC are "entitled" to a visit no sooner than 8 weeks after DC move in, exact timing depending on how well the settling in is going. After that it is up to the parents whether to maintain contact of any sort, but the LA would never recommend returning to the FC house.

Kewcumber Thu 14-Feb-13 15:34:03

Foster carers not an issue here as DS came from an institution but at 3 he would have felt very unsettled by anyone appearing to threaten my status as "mother". He would absolutely have needed to be prepared - lots of emphasis on how we're meeting them becuase they were so kind to him that it will be lovely to see how much he loves being part of our family, also plenty of talk of what you're going to do together AFTER meeting FC's ie lots of positive reinforcement about life continuing as normal.

Sometimes whats obvious to an adult ie that they are coming home with you afterwards isn;t at all obvious to a pre-school child!

Start calling their FC's by their first name NOW and call them by their first name when you see them.

DS had speech delays around the same age but looking back on it had a very good idea what was going on so I think you need to work on the basis that your DD understands more than you think just can;t articulate it - DS was barely understandable even to me at 3yrs.

goshua Thu 14-Feb-13 23:58:25

Fosterd many adopted children over the years, we prefer letterbox or mail new's only, this is our personal preference , if there is a need in the interest of the chid too accomodate contact this is OK with us, stilll have contact via Mail with children after 15 years. Been too many Adoption celebrations , adoptive parents keep in contact let us know how things are going, we are at the end of the phone if they need any help or advice.
We feel Mum knows the child best, and encourge and build on this.

Devora Fri 15-Feb-13 00:16:06

There seems lots of confusion here about what is considered good practice. I'm confused myself. In our case, the FC certainly felt she was 'entitled' to a visit at six weeks and kicked up a terrible stink when I asked if it could wait awhile. dd was barely 11 months old and I thought it would be terribly confusing to her, and as she was pre-verbal I couldn't explain to her. I thought then that six months would be a good stage, but the FC then refused. Throughout, I kept asking the SWs what I should do, and they kept saying there is no standard practice and I should do what I thought right.

I had no idea what was right! It seems obvious to me that it is usually helpful for an older child to meet with fc about six weeks after placement. I'm not sure I understand quite how it works for pre-verbal children.

Maryz Fri 15-Feb-13 15:13:04

This all seems to me to be mad - wait until the child is settled with new parents, and just as they are settled go and visit "old parents". I would have thought the child would immediately think they were going back, if they are of an age where they are too young to understand adoption properly.

I mean, surely it's fine for, say 5 year olds and up, but pointless for 1 to 3 year olds?

Who is it for the benefit of? The foster carers or the children?

Ladyofthehouse Fri 15-Feb-13 20:52:16

Maryz and Devora, you have said everything me and DH have been saying! And it is definitely happening because the FC thinks she is entitled to it. She actually wanted to come and visit here but we said no to that and said it had to be somewhere neutral

SW's have said that it is in the interest of the children to show them that people don't just disappear from their lives - but our eldest has been moved so many times it seems a bit late for that! But to be honest DC's SW hasn't even got in touch with any advice and we rarely hear from her.

goshua I wish you had been our girls FC! You sound amazing!

goshua Fri 15-Feb-13 23:59:36

There is no statutary regulations, but every adoption is different , depends
probable on age of child and formed attatchments, as introduction's for example , our logs we have too keep go upto 6 weeks, not that we have experienced this. some children we have had', have had multiple placements
infrequent visits by FC may in some cases will reasure child and help them feel more secure., preventing secondary problems later on such as attatchment disorders.
Have had some children who have experienced in excess of 30 placements some even more, placements could mean being looked after by friends, extended family, occasional aquaintance, foster care, etc. Unfortunatly new
mum's will not know this, as social workers often in same situation.
Think every child's requirement is different, We have our own way , feel it's best too work in a supportive roll , that encompases all situations.

Piffyonarock Sat 16-Feb-13 00:16:31

We were advised with both our adoptions that we should meet with the FCs a few weeks after our LOs moved in, so that they could see that they hadn't just disappeared. After that, it was up to us whether to continue contact or not.

In both cases the FCs visited us briefly at our home. The first visit unsettled both the LOs, the elder one especially, but we felt that they would benefit from knowing the people who had first looked after them in the long run, so with the FCs agreement, we had further brief visits at our home and once we felt the LOs were relaxed with that, we also had occasional short visits to their homes.

It was quite nerve wracking to start with, we feared that we would undo all the bonding we had done and with DD we pulled back for a while as she was finding it distressing. In hindsight we took her back to her foster home too soon. It has all come good now though and both the LOs seem to clearly understand that they used to live with the FCs but now they are with us forever.

Now both FC families are like extended families and we attend one anothers children's birthday parties etc. We probably see each family approx four times a year. We think it has been right for our circumstances, both LOs had been with the same FC from birth. Also, we hit it off quite well with both families and they are both fairly local which helped. We felt no pressure from them and both the LOs enjoy visiting with them now and are relaxed about saying goodbye at home time. We knew DD was settled with us when she got tired at a visit to her FC house and she said she wanted to go home and headed for the door.

In answer to the original OP, we told the children that the FCs would be visiting to see how they were on the day that they were coming. DS was only approx 1 year old at the time and was distressed when they first arrived but was relaxed when they went. DD was 2 and was very pleased to see her FCs but very distressed when they left and talked about them a lot. We found after that, for a while, she would talk about them more and more, like her anxiety was building, but that a visit cleared it for her for a while- think she was reassured when she saw them.

goshua Sat 16-Feb-13 00:35:48

Forgot to mention Post Traumatic stress 0 too 6 months, some baby's that come into care, may have had difficult times Neo Natal care, alcohol and drugs
neglect etc. Their 1st attatchment usual the fosterparent from experience they settle pretty fast, 2nd attatchments will be slower, hence the advice too
use their old cloths , sheets, toys familier thing's etc., incuding contact on occasion's. Best too take things slow. PTS can come in many forms later in life
attachment disorders, SID's , Executive functioning etc.
This one reason every childs post adoption reqirement is different best too be open minded. Things will settle. Taking it easy will help the child who will feel
this in you in turn and prevent secondary problems.

goshua Sat 16-Feb-13 02:36:39

Our latest terrable two's is meeting forever Mum and Dad next week, is well full of life , very attatched and independent dispite a bad start in life.
Feel sure they are a great match and will great parents. Will be missed

Ladyofthehouse Sun 17-Feb-13 09:28:27

We just showed our DD's the photo of their FC's and our eldest pointed straight at it and said "mummy, daddy" - she then said "shoes" so is keen to go.

This is going to be such a confusing day!

Maryz Sun 17-Feb-13 10:54:13

Good luck lady, I hope you get through it ok smile

I suggest bribes on the way home (vast quantities of really messy chocolate).

Ladyofthehouse Sun 17-Feb-13 19:37:59

I wanted to update you all as you have all been so supportive!

Well, I am completely in awe or our little girls! They just took it all in their stride. They got excited when they saw them, gave them a cuddle but then came back us for a cuddle.

They didn't even seem to refer to them as mummy and daddy and we all called them by their names.

I was worried about when it would be time to go but again they gave them hugs and kisses then came back and she held my hand and said "nanny" as we'd said we were going there for tea.

I know there might be feelings that might emerge later on, but we're both just so pleased that they clearly see us as their mummy and daddy - and seem to feel secure.

Phew - large glasses of wine tonight!!!

Fab.

Happiestinwellybobs Sun 17-Feb-13 20:46:35

Excellent news smile

Piffyonarock Sun 17-Feb-13 20:54:51

That's great! Well done all of you. Enjoy that wine x

Maryz Sun 17-Feb-13 21:08:29

That is excellent - it sounds as though they are really settling well smile.

I do feel for foster families, it must be so tough. But that is, in truth, the job they have chosen to do and obviously the better they do it the better the outcome for the children, even if it does leave the families mourning their loss for a while.

If that makes sense confused.

Lilka Sun 17-Feb-13 21:14:45

Oh good glad it went well smile

Enjoy your wine!

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