Introductions begin tomorrow!!

(45 Posts)
TrinnyandSatsuma Sun 20-Oct-13 08:22:45

Just that really.....

It's taken us a few years to get here, 9 months from approval panel, but the day is very nearly here when we meet our boy.

Tips and advice welcome, especially if you adopted an older child. Most of those we did prep group with, have babies or very young toddlers under 18 months, so would love to know how it went with introductions for children around 4 or 5.

And for those of you in the process.....keep going, you will get there in the end smile

Happiestinwellybobs Sun 20-Oct-13 16:41:21

Firstly - eek! So exciting smile I haven't experience of adopting an older child as DD was under 1, but what I will say is prepare to be exhausted during introductions. We got to the point about 4 days in where we could barely speak when we got home.

Plan meals for the week, eat takeout, make it as easy as you can for yourselves. Forget about housework etc. if a day off is planned into your intros, do something nice and relax.

We listened to the FC and followed their lead completely (we were very lucky that they are utter superstars) but she and I were very honest with each other and amended the SW's plan to suit DD and us all.

I found it an emotional time; if our FC's hadn't been so fab, I suspect the feelings I had on the first day - of being assessed and watched - would have lasted much longer.

The day that DD came home was overwhelming. I made sure that I asked her FC exactly how they wanted to do it, as it was upsetting for them too.

Having said all that, I look back on that week as one of the best in my life. We have such great memories of first time we met, first time we went out by ourselves as a family...enjoy it smile

Broodymomma Sun 20-Oct-13 22:23:41

Good luck to you! Ours start on Wednesday so nervous. Look forward to hearing how you get on xx

Lilka Sun 20-Oct-13 22:48:12

Congratulations! smile

I adopted one baby (23) and two much older children (10 and turned 8 during intros) so not in your age range

However, my universal intros advice would be:

1. It's generally exhausting both physically and emotionally, so it helps not to have to worry about things like food - preparing batch meals so you can simply reheat the next night, or have easy packet meals stocked for those nights you just won't want to cook. Buy everything you need for intros beforehand (or on the first day) so you aren't burdened with extra shopping trips when you're shattered

2. Look after yourself!! It's totally normal to have your emotions all over the place, and your first parenting moments are happening in a very artificial set up, so don't berate yourself for any feelings you weren't expecting or things you thought you didn't do well

3. Don't be afraid to raise any issues or concerns with the FC/SW as appropriate

For older children, I wrote a blog post about intros with older kids, which is here , it was based on my experience of intros with 8 and 10 year olds so modify as appropriate for a younger older child!

Lilka Sun 20-Oct-13 22:48:36

23 months that should say grin

onedevil Mon 21-Oct-13 00:04:18

So excited for you - congrats & all the best smile

TrinnyandSatsuma Mon 21-Oct-13 08:34:04

Thanks all. In true MN style, we did a day of batch cooking for the freezer last week, so have meals sorted for the next few weeks.

My husband just made me a cup of tea and realised my hands are shaking....but I am very excited as well as utterly terrified.

Thatsnotmychicken Mon 21-Oct-13 08:59:57

That's so exciting. We went through this a year ago with our two DDs then 4 and 1 and have been reliving it over the last few weeks as we can't believe how far we've come!

We found communication with the foster carers was really important. We didn't always agree with their approach but working together about how to progress each day seemed to help.

Working out how to tell if your child is getting over excited and calming activities to do was important for us. So getting lots of info on this from foster carers was useful.

We found our oldest dd regressed a lot and wanted to be treated the same way as her younger sister which we did quite a lot at first as she needed it. We were encouraged to do this by our social worker and the foster carers approach was to try and get her to act more mature and was a bit of a source of tension.

Our oldest dd was very excited about us and was really happy to be with us throughout most of the introductions. She was excited about seeing out house and her new room and when we drove her home she suddenly became distraught about missing her foster mum which was a bit of a shock. We had some children's music CDs which helped a bit and I held her hand. If you can maybe you could sit in back of car with her.

Finally we were advised to keep photos of foster carers around, to talk about them and to do things like make a picture to send them. We found the first couple of nights dd1 asked to speak to her and we let her ring her on the phone to say goodnight (I was a bit wary of this but SW said to do whatever it took to get her to go to sleep) she only asked twice so think it was worth doing. May be worth checking with foster carer over intros if she is happy to do this.

Anyway that's all that came to mind. Good luck and let us know how you get on

Thatsnotmychicken Mon 21-Oct-13 08:59:57

That's so exciting. We went through this a year ago with our two DDs then 4 and 1 and have been reliving it over the last few weeks as we can't believe how far we've come!

We found communication with the foster carers was really important. We didn't always agree with their approach but working together about how to progress each day seemed to help.

Working out how to tell if your child is getting over excited and calming activities to do was important for us. So getting lots of info on this from foster carers was useful.

We found our oldest dd regressed a lot and wanted to be treated the same way as her younger sister which we did quite a lot at first as she needed it. We were encouraged to do this by our social worker and the foster carers approach was to try and get her to act more mature and was a bit of a source of tension.

Our oldest dd was very excited about us and was really happy to be with us throughout most of the introductions. She was excited about seeing out house and her new room and when we drove her home she suddenly became distraught about missing her foster mum which was a bit of a shock. We had some children's music CDs which helped a bit and I held her hand. If you can maybe you could sit in back of car with her.

Finally we were advised to keep photos of foster carers around, to talk about them and to do things like make a picture to send them. We found the first couple of nights dd1 asked to speak to her and we let her ring her on the phone to say goodnight (I was a bit wary of this but SW said to do whatever it took to get her to go to sleep) she only asked twice so think it was worth doing. May be worth checking with foster carer over intros if she is happy to do this.

Anyway that's all that came to mind. Good luck and let us know how you get on

Sparklebum Mon 21-Oct-13 09:18:00

You must be so excited. We did our intro in June with our 2 year old (so younger than your little one).

I.would second the advice you have already been given and would really stress that looking after yourself is so important. I have never experienced such a rollercoaster of emotions - totally normal but I wasn't prepared for the lows aswell as the highs.

Above all else enjoy them and take lots of photos.

Broodymomma Mon 21-Oct-13 10:45:22

Have a wonderful time today xx

TrinnyandSatsuma Mon 21-Oct-13 16:38:43

Thanks to you all for sharing your wise words and advice.

Today went really well, it felt so natural and he is absolutely gorgeous!

Lilka Mon 21-Oct-13 21:30:53

Fantastic smile

MissFenella Tue 22-Oct-13 19:54:44

aww that is lovely. With an older child it can be easier because they have some ability to articulate their wants, thoughts etc.
DD1 was 6 so was quite visibly upset at final handover but we could talk about it.

Don't expect an older child to settle for years and you will experience lots of 'pleasing' behaviour. When that calms down you know they are settling because they feel comfortable enough to be naughty.

Happy for you to PM if you have any specifics, we met our DDs this time last year. Congratulations!

Devora Tue 22-Oct-13 22:53:33

Great news and good luck smile

Great news, please do keep us posted.

TrinnyandSatsuma Wed 23-Oct-13 20:38:25

Hiya,

Day three. All going well still. Although we did say last night that we just can't imagine what's going on in his little mind. Mine is all over the place and I am old enough to make sense of it all!

The good thing is that because of the amazing work his incredible foster carers have done with him, he trusts them and therefore us.

We have our first overnight stay at our house in a few days, which at the moment feels like quite a big leap from where we are now, but we know we can see how things go and adapt the plan to suit.

Everyone was right though.....it's exhausting and emotions up and down. Yesterday I was really anxious, today really excited.

onedevil Wed 23-Oct-13 21:34:41

Glad it's going well! So pleased for you all.

MissFenella Wed 23-Oct-13 21:39:14

Just thought of something else, when he moves in do have a quiet outing planned. You will all welcome the chance to escape 4 walls. We took the gils to a local farm and activity centre. So they saw cute animals and managed to run around on swings etc. We too the opportunity to chat and just watch them.

Have you got a visit to school planned?

Pancakeflipper Wed 23-Oct-13 21:42:37

Eeeekkkk how exciting and what a rollercoaster. Hope the overnight goes well (and you get some sleep and not sat outside the bedroom door listening to them sleep).

Thatsnotmychicken Wed 23-Oct-13 22:17:59

Glad things are going well. Good luck for the overnight

Broodymomma Wed 23-Oct-13 23:09:47

Glad all is going well. We had day 1 today it was wonderful

Happiestinwellybobs Thu 24-Oct-13 07:21:19

Great news Trinny and Broody smile

Inthechelseahotel Thu 24-Oct-13 21:57:18

Great news! Congratulations in advance and hope it all goes well thanks

Lilka Thu 24-Oct-13 22:17:07

So glad things are going well smile

Congratulations Broodymomma thanks smile

Broodymomma Thu 24-Oct-13 23:18:52

It's going fantastic so far thanks x

TrinnyandSatsuma Tue 29-Oct-13 19:23:58

Hope yours are going well too Broodymomma.

We had review meeting today and moving in day is approaching!!

Exellis Tue 29-Oct-13 21:37:07

Aaah that takes me back. Our little two (3 & 2) have been with us seven months. And sooo right about the pleasing behaviour it took our two a couple of months before they stopped their "jazz hands" as we called it. Hope you taking lots of photos - we haven't stopped. Well remember the first time we put the youngest down for his first afternoon nap at ours and him putting his arms behind his head and sighing and I thought "yep he's home"

Thatsnotmychicken Wed 30-Oct-13 19:30:07

Glad it's going so well, good luck for moving in day.

That's a lovely story Exellis smile

TrinnyandSatsuma (great name) I hope all continues well.

TrinnyandSatsuma Thu 31-Oct-13 15:44:09

Today was moving day. Little man is, so far, taking it all in his stride, but we know his emotions must be in turmoil.

Fingers crossed for the next few days.

Lilka Thu 31-Oct-13 16:01:16

Hope today goes well, and massive congratulations smile

MissFenella Thu 31-Oct-13 18:10:26

well done I am so pleased for you. Hope it goes smoothly from here on in

onedevil Thu 31-Oct-13 18:54:45

Well done - glad the day is finally here! Hope it's going smoothly!

TrinnyandSatsuma Thu 31-Oct-13 21:13:52

Thanks all. We have noticed a few changes in his behaviour today, which is to be expected. The best thing we learnt from the prep training we did was to think about the emotion behind the child's behaviour. He's wanting to control everything today. I think that's his way, consciously, or unconsciously, or saying "hey, my world has just been turned upside down. I'm not sure I like all this change". We have made a few rookie mistakes I think, giving him a bit too much choice, not enough structure. Tomorrow, we have a plan for the day, which we will try and follow. Lots of play time with us, but also some activities we choose, ensuring he feels safe and he realises we are here to take care of him.

Feel quite emotional tonight. It was heartbreaking seeing how upset his foster carers were when he left. I feel guilty for wrenching him away, guilty we don't (yet) love him as much as they do and guilty we are such novices as parents. But.....tomorrow is another day smile

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 01-Nov-13 05:18:53

Belated congratulations, Trinny and Broody! How are you getting on now?

Trinyandsatsuma don't worry - you say guilty we don't (yet) love him as much as they do and guilty we are such novices as parents.

It will come, I am sure, and you are novices but that means you will learning well, and probably better prepared than other novice parents.

Good luck. I am sure you are doing well.

TrinnyandSatsuma Sat 02-Nov-13 14:58:23

Thanks. We have had a few ups and downs over last few days, but more ups than downs.

He is amazing. He is articulating his feelings really well, considering his age. He can't tell us he is sad, missing his foster carers etc. we are reassuring him that's normal and is ok and he is able to accept comfort from us. We are taking one day at a time!

Lilka Sat 02-Nov-13 20:04:01

guilty we don't (yet) love him as much as they do

Don't feel guilty about that! This is one the things I bang on about a lot wink It's totally natural, normal and fine for bonding to take months. Love will come, but the very definition of attachment (and love) is that it's long term, not short term. What you feel now is not going to change how things end up in a years time. Those parents who bond instantly with their adoptive children don't wind up with better parent-child relationships in the long run than those who take more time to bond and then attach (not in my experience anyway). Don't worry or beat yourself up for being totally normal, you haven't done anything wrong. This is natural.

Really glad to hear you've had more ups than downs, and how amazing your son is smile

TrinnyandSatsuma Sat 02-Nov-13 21:46:42

Thanks Lilka. My previous post should have said "he can tell us he is said....". Talked to our SW today and his advice was to indulge our little boy and think of him as a child much younger than his actual age. Baby him a little as a means of reassuring his anxieties.

When we have thought about it, it makes sense to do that. We had tried the "we know you can do it" approach to build his self esteem and confidence, but will take SW advice and baby him more. He has reacted well to that today.

Feels like a massive learning curve, but we are doing OK I think.

Thanks again for all posters, really helpful.

TrinnyandSatsuma Sat 02-Nov-13 21:47:11

*sad, not said. Bloody iPad!

TrinnyandSatsuma Sat 02-Nov-13 21:50:33

And even though it's heart breaking for us, the fact that he is sad and misses his foster carers, suggests he made an attachment, is capable of attachment and that's a really, really good thing.

MissFenella Sun 03-Nov-13 13:49:40

Yes to letting them regress. I still hold DD1 (8 tomorrow) as if she was a baby and make coocheecoo noises when she needs it. It doesn't last long but helps them ground themselves. I just view it like this: they didn't have a babyhood that I would like them to have so I will give it to them on a super accelerated pace. read stories, cuddle and fuss (feeding them choc buttons at the same time is good), let them have a dummy, feed them their meals with aeroplane noises etc. Does he have his own blanket for wrapping up in and snuggling?
I agree with your approach regarding limiting choice - he will want to know that you are in charge, that is what makes him feels safe. I used to say, 'that is my job' a lot when I was not offering choice ie. Its my job to work out what to have for tea because I need to make sure you get the right things inside of you so you grow and have energy.

I am sure that is all a bit coals to Newcastle but hope it helps.

with regards to love, do not punish yourself, keeping them safe and secure is good enough for now. x

Lilka Sun 03-Nov-13 20:57:32

Yes I have absolutely babied my girls when needed (and DS too, but it's mostly the girls). DD2 especially, loves rocking even now, and a few years ago we had a real phase of her wanting to lie across my lap while I fed her her bedtime drink from a bottle which was surreal but actually really helpful - good for our attachment, helpful for her emotionally as well. Healing. Also at times I've fed her dinner with aeroplane noises and played baby games etc.

Embrace it. If they ask for it, they usually need it. When they are through that stage, they will stop wanting it

Kewcumber Sun 03-Nov-13 23:20:46

Trinny - I don't know if its helpful to you but this was a post I made on MN one year to the day after I met DS...

*Felt really emotional putting DS to bed tomight. Kept thinking that it is the anniversary of the last time "no-one in particular" put him to bed. The last time he didn't have one particular person just for him (if you see what I mean) and not shared. Don't get me wrong, he was well cared for and the wonderful women at the orphanage did care for him but not in that "lay down in front of an out of control lorry for him" kind of way.

Strange when I look back because, of course I didn't feel that way about him then. Can't put my finger when it happened exactly but I sometimes think that like some cultures think cameras steal your soul, in fact your children steal a part of your soul and you never quite get it all back again. Or at least not until they are hideous teenagers grin*

The second paragraph in particular about not being quite sure when in that first year I realised I would in fact lay down in front of a lorry for him (thankfully never been asked).

And yes babying is fine and often required. In fact looking at our reception children - 4/5 yr olds do seem like babies to me anyway!

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