Contact after adoption

(11 Posts)
Thenappyfairy Tue 25-Sep-12 17:47:46

Last year I moved on a 2 year old boy who'd been with me since 1 day old. We went through some tough times and were consequently very attached as a family when he went to his adoptive family.

Intros went very well though, his new family are lovely and we all got on great. Or so I thought. They were adamant that they wanted to keep in touch even though I gave them every opportunity to say this wasn't what they wanted - I do like to keep in touch but have always been understanding of other families who wanted to move on.

It's now been almost a year since little boy moved to them. We sent him both Christmas and birthday cards and presents (nothing big, just a token gift) but didn't even get an acknowledgment that they'd been received. Is this their way of saying to leave them alone???

I'm tempted to leave well alone incase all isn't going well but my ssw has brought it up at our past three supervision visits and thinks we should be pushing for some sort of meet up, for little boys sake as well as ours so he doesn't think he was just abandoned.

The sooner they write the post adoption visit into the intros plan the better! That way everyone will know where they stand.

Lilka Tue 25-Sep-12 22:34:33

I'm sorry they haven't even acknowledged you. Perhaps they may have problems going on, but maybe they don't want contact now.

I keep in contact with my children's FC's (the ones who moved them on to me anyway, both DD's have had multiple placements). Telephone, cards and letters mostly, had a couple of meetings. DD1 sends a christmas card and gift to her FC every year still. DS's FC's have pulled back a bit, but I respect that and understand why they might not want much contact now

DS was 23 months when he came to me. We had a meeting with his FC's after 4/5 weeks, and it went well. I was always told that generally a meeting should be about 3-7 weeks after placement depending on the child and their age. After a year I wonder if a meeting would actually be more unsettling than helpful at this stage?

DameKewcumber Tue 25-Sep-12 22:40:09

Like Lilka, I'm not sure a year on in the life of a 2 yr old what is to be gained by you pushing for a meeting.

I do think its a shame that they haven't been able to maintain contact but you can't really know why and I think getting pushier about it is very intrusive and implies that you know what is better for their son than they do. The only thing I would suggest you could do - is drop them a note asking if they would like you to drop the Xmas and birthday cards - that might elicit a response. Are you certain they haven't moved?

Also saying that you would like to stay in touch and making the time for it when you are struggling to learn how to paretn a child who is (presumably) more attached to the previous foster carer than you can be hard and very draining and once you're through that stage and bonded... well you know how hectic it can be with a toddler and if they're a bit disorganised (like me) anyway... its easy to see why they would let contact lapse after having the best of intentions.

DameKewcumber Tue 25-Sep-12 22:41:40

sorry that was a bit incoherent blush

I'm sorry sad

It sounds hard.. If they won't let you visit (in case of unsettling him ect) write him some letters, pop pics in a folder, and ask for it to be given to him when he is older.

You are part of his life story smile

Moomoomie Wed 03-Oct-12 10:48:37

We did not keep in contact with the FC of our first two children.... Lots of reasons, mainly how awful they were to me as a new mother and what dreadful care they provided. Our SW did say to us months later that she had made a formal complaint about them.
Dd3 foster carers were fantastic, so very different to the first ones. We did keep in contact for over three years but have not seen them for over a year, this is because dd3 started to become anxious and upset after meetings with them and often talked about when she would be going back. Considering she was only a baby when we adopted her this was very upsetting for all concerned.
As others have said, many things may be happening to the new family. Often new adopted parents feel they have to say yes to continued contact when they really don't want to.
It is sad not to be thanked for the cards and presents though.

NanaNina Wed 03-Oct-12 15:13:31

Hi nappyfairy - I don't think you should push this at all. It is entirely up to the adoptors whether they wish to stay in contact and there may be many reasons why they have chosen not to, even though they agreed to it at the time the child moved.

I am however absolutely staggered that the ssw is saying there should be contact so that the little boy doesn't think he was abandoned. I do have 30 years experience in children's services (15 as a tm mgr in a fostering & adoption team) retired in 2009. The task to ensure that the adopted child has some age related understanding of his birth parents, foster parents and anyone else who was significant in his life is for the adoptors by way of a life story book which can be added to as the child grows in their family. All adoptors should know that a it is extremely important that the child (over time) knows all about his origins.

I think the ssw's suggestion is completely wrong. She/he doesn't seem to understand the basic tenent of adoption i.e. the child is a child of the family just as birth children are too. So does this ssw think that a request can be made of any family to do something. Sorry but her/his thinking is fundamentally flawed and she needs to know that!

In fact I think nothing could be gained by a meeting and might even be harmful - a 4 year old may well not have the recall to the time when he was with you 2 years ago. The ssw doesn't have any sense of the "child's sense of time" meaning that their recall is very different dependent upon their ages. How many of us can remember significant events in the first 5 years of life. This ssw doesn't seem to understand the basics of child development.

Hopefully some adoptive parents may come along and give their views.

I am more than happy for you to share this post with this ssw!!!

DameKewcumber Wed 03-Oct-12 15:30:49

"I am however absolutely staggered that the ssw is saying there should be contact so that the little boy doesn't think he was abandoned." I'm interested you say that because I thought it but have no experience to back my feeling up.

DS didn't have foster carers so it wasn't relevant to us, but was in an institution with very lovely and caring staff for a year. Its very important to him to know that he had people around him who cared for him and were kind to him and that he wasn't alone before he came to me. But he doesn't remember it at all (in fact really remembers nothing before about 2.5 yrs) and his need to know about it is quite easily satisfied by us talking about it. He certainly doesn't feel abandoned by them - he quite clearly understands their role in his life which was to care for him until he had a permanent family.

Having said that I know I would be happy to have some contact (like birthday and XMas cards) with foster parents and to totally ignore them without even passing an explanation back is a bit rude (without knowing the circumstances).

NanaNina Wed 03-Oct-12 23:12:12

Hi DameKew - I do know the story of how you adopted your little boy, and know that you are a regular poster. It just makes me sad that there are so many incompetent social workers around and managers who are no better really. This issue the OP has posted about demonstrates that this sw does not have the first idea of the fostering and adoption process, and should not really be out their in practice. However I suspect that the problems in many cases are related to the huge shortage of sws especially in child protection, with some of the inner cities running at 30% vacancy rates and many sws off with stress related illnesses. It is a national problem and in my opinion SSDs have always been under resourced in terms of finance, but since the slashing of all public service budgets by Mr O I think this has created a crisis. In addition the tories are wanting improved services whilst slashing budgets!

I retired from LA work in 2004 and freelanced till 2009 when I had to stop through ill health. I am still in touch with colleagues and they tell me that the job is almost "undoable" because of the lack of funding and the huge caseloads. The sw in the case under discussion must be inexperienced and may not have any support and is making things up as she/he goes along. Very scarey!

Hope all is well with you and your LO

scarlet5tyger Thu 04-Oct-12 09:30:08

I really don't agree with forcing contact. A few years ago the kinship carer of a child I'd previously fostered was forced into contact as I was now caring for a younger sibling and they wanted a bond between the two children. The kinship carer had a very insecure attachment to the child she was caring for and was worried that visits to a previous carer would be detrimental. As a result she would bring the child to contact hungry/tired (usually both) and the whole thing was a nightmare - and ruined many of my happy memories of the child. (Contact did improve after several months though and we actually have a fairly good relationship now she realises I'm not there to make comment on her own role in little ones life).

Not acknowledging your gifts on the other hand is just plain rude. It's taken 2 minutes to write this post - an email saying thank you (or even a quick note if they don't have your email address) would take no longer.

I'm wondering if they had a really tough time after he had moved and are worried contact will stir things up. I presume that if the boy had been with you since day one then moving him at 2 when he only knew you was heartwrenching for all. Maybe they are scared.

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