will she adapt ok

(63 Posts)
fostermumtomany Sat 06-Oct-12 15:26:35

i have a 2 year old going to adoptive parents soon. she has been with us since she was a very young baby.
im worried about how easily she will settle in with her new family. when we talk to her about the adoption she is adament she is not going. (she is a very very bright 2 year old), if we say " whose getting a new mummy and daddy" she will say "not me i stay with you" or "i got mummy and daddy, you mummy he daddy", meaning my hubby. this is depsite the fact she has never ever called us mummy and daddy, always by our first names.
im so worried that she wont settle and will spend all her time being upset or thinking we didnt want her.
i have moved a child onto adoption so many times before but i have never had such a clever lo before. she knows what she wants and what she doesnt want and at the moment she definately does not want to move.
how can i help her. can someone help me with this. have you been through this too? bridging is hard enough without worrying that the lo is going to be devastated.
any advice would be appreciated.

Oldandindie Sat 06-Oct-12 15:43:06

Hi.. Had to re read your post twice to make sure I'm not going mad as I'm going through exactly the same. I've had lo since her prem birth two and half years ago... She's so bright and a real chatterbox who can actually have proper conversations ... She's just been heavily advertised as a single child ( no longer part of sibling group) and I know she's going before Christmas ... My heart will be broken but like you I'm so worried about she's going to cope with what may seem to her as abandonment ... sad... I hope I'm not hijacking your post but will watch and hopefully get some reassurance .. Xx

fostermumtomany Sat 06-Oct-12 15:51:04

hi thanks for replying. my lo goes in 20 days.
strangely it makes me feel a bit better to know im not the only one going through this right now. what makes it worse is that we had put in for her, as we couldnt bear the thought of her going and ss said we could providing nobody else came forward. we thought we would be fine as they had approached so many people. then all of a sudden out of the blue, they found someone. i remember getting the call telling us and i was only kind of half listening. as soon as i put the phone down i broke down.
i love this lo so very much, i know im not going to cope very well and i expect that. im just so scared that she will not adapt and think we didnt want her.

it would be nice if we could help each other through this awful time. let me know if you need someone to chat to xxxx

Lilka Sat 06-Oct-12 16:08:06

Bless her sad

My DS was 23 months when he came to me, but didn't really know what was going on at the time. We had a meet up with his lovely FC's about 5 weeks into placement, the idea being that he knows they haven't disappeared off the face of the planet and they are still there. He had been grieving hard for them for a couple of weeks prior to that (after a short honeymoon he realised that he wasn't on some holiday and was stuck with me, with his FC's gone) and I think the meeting definitely helped him, he was certainly much calmer afterwards. Will there be a meeting a few weeks after she moves on? Or any further contact?

I really feel for her, it may be a particularly hard move. My DS took a few months for his grieving to lessen and then he was able to make himself firmly a part of this family. But I have no experience of a very bright child. I would hope she will be able to do the same as DS though, although she might grieve a lot. I have no idea about her feeling abandonned. DS doesn't as far as I know

When you say she is going soon, is that in a few weeks time or sooner/later? I would probably keep mentionning it to her at appropriate times, and hopefully her new parents will have made a book about themselves with lots of pictures which you can look at with her

I hope someone with experience of this will see this and give some advice

Oldandindie Sat 06-Oct-12 17:15:13

Am so ready to have hand held over this .... And would be there with tissues and hugs for you. I've been through many adoptions and moving on's in my sixteen years as a FC but never had a baby from newborn for two and half years ... I too spoke to SW about keeping my lo but when we talked about practically about my age ... Shock horror am over 50 and that fostering is my only source of revenue it soon became obvious that our mutual attachment wasn't enough ! sad

GhouliaYelps Sat 06-Oct-12 17:47:38

sad

scarlet5tyger Sat 06-Oct-12 20:19:22

I've moved on a couple of very attached children and it always feels like you're giving away an arm or leg - I honestly wasn't prepared for the physical pain of it. I try and comfort myself with what a good start I've given them, and of course it helps if the new parents are lovely when you meet them (unfortunately I've experienced some adoptive parents that make you wonder how they passed assessment: not wanting to take FCs toys (admittedly battered, but much loved), racing to pick up FC the second they walked through the door (that FC had attachment issues and was definitely not one for physical contact!), admitting to never having heard of attachment disorder (actually my issue there is probably more with their SW than with the parents), I could write all night!

If it helps, I moved a FC to new carers who was adamant he wasn't leaving. We had several visits to the new carers' house and at the end of each visit he'd insist he wouldn't live there. We tried using the pets as he loves animals and he agreed he liked the new families dog. But in the next breath said he loved our cat more.

In the end of course he did move. I worried and worried about him. New carer helped by sending lots of texts, and we met up again briefly after 3 weeks. New carer assured me once he was there he actually settled amazingly quickly. We still meet about once a month now and although he absolutely remembers who I am I doubt he even remembers actually living with me.

I've also had children placed with me who were grieving terribly for previous carers - and when they come into foster care there is no bridging, it's cold turkey! Most of those are settled within a couple of months, if not sooner, and that helps a little when I sit here missing the babies who've gone sad

DeadQODy Sat 06-Oct-12 20:26:10

Sounds so hard for all of you

Why are they with you for so long though? Would it have been easier to settle them a year ago? Is this average for adoption or just because of the sibling group complication?

A friend adopted a 2.5 and 4 yr old who'd been with a FC for 18 maths and its just seems crazy sad

scarlet5tyger Sat 06-Oct-12 20:55:44

I find most of mine are with me on average 18 months. Quite a few of them got placement orders sooner but nobody wanted them at that point sad

A lot of my foster babies are still suffering serious side effects of drug exposure at 6 months, even at 12/18 months, and lots of adoptive parents are put off by that.

It makes me mad when I hear the government talking about the need for adoption times to be shortened. They're just risking the failure rate increasing. Yes it is harder for me to let go of a child after 18 months than after 6 but I'd rather have that and know that the child was "ready" to move on.

Sorry if this doesn't make much sense, I'm really tired tonight and should really be in bed!

scarlet5tyger Sat 06-Oct-12 20:57:37

Actually, what I'd really like is for it to be much, much easier for a child to remain with their foster carers if a strong bond is made.

DeadQODy Sat 06-Oct-12 23:11:16

Totally agree there're the staying with foster parents thing. The friend who adopted, her dc have settled now, but were so happy with their FC family, they would probably have been happier to stay with them, rather than a 6 plus month settling period.

Just seems crazy that they have a lovely FC then upheaval.

Crazy

NanaNina Sun 07-Oct-12 17:52:38

Feeling so sorry for you MNs having to move a child on to adoption, always hard but ghastly if you've had them for so long.

Someone asks why it takes so long. Firstly once the child has been moved from the parents, they have to undergo a very long assessment to see whether there is any hope of the children returning to them. Sometimes this can involve a residential assessment for the parents and child/ren, so that they can be monitored. This can take about 8-12 weeks. Then the parents have to be assessed by a psychologist and there is often a long wait for the appointment and the following report. Then the whole situation is assessed by a guardian (a sw) but independent of the LA. In some cases there has to be a psychiatric assessment.

Then if a member of the extended family comes forward to care for the child (and the LA have a duty to place a child with a member of the extended family if suitable) and then they have to go through a very long and comprehensive assessment, the same really as for foster carers who are not relatives (or kinship carers) as they are known.

All of this takes time and sws are overloaded with up to 30 cases and just can't cope with the workload. There are many many court hearings along the way (known as Directions hearings) and this is to ensure that the court timetable is being adhered to and very often the Judge will want some issue or another undertaken and so there is more work to do. Months drag on and finally the final hearing comes, although this too can be adjourned for one reason or another. The birthparents are legally represented and their lawyer will often ask for a completely independent assessment of the parents, rather than the one the LA have completed. IF all parties are in agreement, the Judge will give permission for this to happen. THEN the ind sw has to carry out a comprehensive assessment and this can take 6/8 weeks dependent on the particular case, and his/her report filed in court.

I have carried out many independent parenting assessments when I worked as a freelance and you realy do have to be very thorough and it can take 6/8 weeks (counting visits and typing the report and proof reading) and ensuring everything you have said can be evidenced as anyone who writes a court report will be cross examined by lawyers for the birthparents, lawyer appointed by the guardian and the LA lawyer if necessary.

Having said all that there is unnecessary delays and this was the case when I last worked for a LA (retired in 2004 after 25 years) and now I know it has got much worse. I think all public services have been under resourced for a long time and some of the inner cities were running at 30% vacancy rates when I retired. Since this coalition have been slashing the budgets of all public services (to pay for the greed of the bankers) things have got much worse, and to add insult to injury DC is slashing budgets and wanting improvements in the service. Can't be done.
HTH DeadQ!

DeadQODy Sun 07-Oct-12 18:05:38

Does. It's very interesting hearing from the other side. Thanks

purpleloosestrife Sun 07-Oct-12 22:43:29

fostermumtomany I really feel for you

scarlet I am really interested as to why adopting earlier means the failure rate increases? I have a little 6mo FS at the moment and really don't want him to be here at 2 years as he has had enough emotional trauma already in his little life and I'm sure that by 2, he would not want to leave us - which would be horrible for him ( and us) But I also don't want him to have adoptive parents who decide they don't want him after all.

I would have thought, the earlier the adoption, the better ? ? Please let me know why you don't think so ( new to this so would appreciate any info)

scarlet5tyger Mon 08-Oct-12 08:50:11

Hi purpleloosestrife I don't think ALL early adoptions would fail, but the babies I have who are born drug addicted are still extremely hard work at 6 months and I'd worry that a new parent would get caught up in the excitement of being matched with a rare "newborn" only to find the reality is very different. I know there are many different views on this but I also think that as the first 2 years are the most important of a child's life then they should maybe stay with their first proper carer longer, not shorter.

In 6 months I don't think the matching would be as careful either. SW are rushed enough already, I can't see how they'd even manage an adoption in 10 months.

scarlet5tyger Mon 08-Oct-12 09:07:53

Also, a big point I meant to include in my last point, is that the 4 month old I currently care for - who was definitely, 100%, no question about it going to adoption - is now going home to mum. Would this have happened if new parents were lined up? Would there be adoptive parents out there having their hearts broken, again, now?

NanaNina Mon 08-Oct-12 12:42:44

There is research that indicates that theolder the child is the more likely is the adoptive placement to break down. There are however so many variables, the nature and extent of the pre placement experiences with birth parents, the resilience of the child, the abilities of the adoptors to understand and accept why the child has behavioural problems, and help him/her learn to trust adults again. The post adoption support they are able to access and many more issues too numerous to mention.

Purple I undestand you completely but there are NO guarantees in fostering and adoption and as I 've said above there are so many variables. If you read my long post about process, you may begin to understand why these matters take so long. The one part I missed out of the process is that if a case has to be adjourned at the final hearing, you often don't get another "slot" for 6 months. There are too few judges available for care proceedings. You also have to remember that as well as your LO the sw will probably have 20 + other cases of the same nature.

So yes he may still be with you when he is 2, and as you say this is going to cause more trauma for him and the adoptors, and trying to recruit social workers to child protection work is exceedingly difficult as it is very stressful and time consuming work, and always the horror of a baby P on the caseload. Social workers are damned if they remove children and damned if they don't- alongside all this the vacant posts in most LAs are "frozen" because of the huge budget cuts by Cameron et al which means that there is not enough funding in the budget to pay new social workers.

As you all know fostering and adoption is a very risky business. I have seen marriages break up, mental health difficulties arise and all sorts of other issues caused by the stresses and strains of fostering or adoption. Imagine the case of one of the adoptive parents bonding with the child and the other one not (it happens and it's part of human nature) I can assure you it is a hellish situation and in the case I am thinking of the parents separated and their 4 birth children suffered terribly as a result. They all went into it with very positive feelings and there was much excitement. That is just one case - I could write a book .....

Scarlet I usually agree with your posts, but your last one has puzzled me a bit. As I'm sure you know the LA have to carry out a comprehensive assessment on the parents (and all the other things that have to happen that I outlined in an earlier post). In this case it appears that the assessment of the birthparents has led to the view that the child should be returned to them. The LA can't take a case to court if they believe that it is safe for the child to be returned home. That is their duty under the law.

You mention new parents lined up. This would not happen at such an early stage. If the care plan remained adoption (which of course would be the plan for a baby) then all of the issues would have to be undertaken as per my previous post. IF at the end of it all the LA recommendation was for the child to be adopted and IF the Judge agreed (sometimes guardians disagree with social workers and the Judge could be more influenced by the guardian's recommendation) or an independent assessor of the parents is commissioned by the court and he/she makes a recommendation. IF at the end of all this the Judge will make a Placement Order (which used to be called a "Freeing Order") meaning that the child can be placed with approved adoptors. No matching can be undertaken until there is a Placement Order awarded.

Yes there is much heart ache for you all, fostercarers and adoptors, especially when you have had the child from a tiny baby and bond with him and then have to let him go, but that I'm afraid is the reality of the situation.

scarlet5tyger Mon 08-Oct-12 16:17:53

Hi Nananina, sorry my post was unclear. I have a bit of tired baby brain at the moment so sometimes things that I think make sense are actually nonsense!

In my LA most babies are "twin tracked" (certainly in my experience ALL my placements have been twin tracked). It was my understanding that this meant that while all the assessments and court proceedings are going on the child's adoption worker is working on the assumption that the child is going to be adopted. I didn't know that no matching could be undertaken - and in this case I do know that suitable parents had been identified because I've been told about them. What I don't know is whether they'd been told about baby. You probably know much more about twin tracking than me so I apologise if I've just been assuming things wrongly.

Just to confuse things further though (sorry!), although twin tracking is meant to speed up adoption as the child and parents are ready to go once the placement order is made in my experience it hasn't actually sped anything up because prospective adopters still don't want to take a risk on a child with potential (unknown) problems as a result of FAS or NAS. They would still rather wait until the child is older so that likely problems are clearer. And I'm absolutely not blaming them for that as I suspect I'd be the same if I hadn't done this job.

fostermumtomany hope things are going okay for you. Have you met the new parents yet?

purpleloosestrife Mon 08-Oct-12 21:36:16

thanks to scarlet and nana for your replies - I can only join in at weird hours (due to having 2 yo DD and 6mo FS) so apologise for asking a question and then having to run off. Really appreciate the insights, and feel I am learning fast!

Have met a few social workers recently who I honestly think deserve some sort of medal ( or a pay rise?!) - they seem to be working obscene hours to try and make some lives a bit better.

NanaNina Tue 09-Oct-12 12:47:12

Hi Scarlett and purple ah I am in a very privleged position of sitting here posting without having babies and small children to care for - well I have 3 lovely grandchildren but 2 of them are miles away and see them monthly and the close one is 12, so fully independent! Please don't apologise Scarlett you are the one doing the hard work and I am sitting on a lap top with no distractions!

Twin tracking (as far as I am aware) means that if a member of the extended family has applied to care for the child who has been removed from parents, or even a close friend, then they have to be comprehensively assessed and recommended as suitable to care for the child (or not) so that by the time of the final hearing, the judge can make the most appropriate Order. With relatives they are usually applying for Special Guardianship Order and if there is a positive recommendation from the assessing sw then the Judge will make the ORder. Relatives do occasionally apply for an Adoption Order and again if the judge thinks this is in the child's best interests he can make the Adoption Order there and then.

It used to be the case that the LA went to court with their recommendation (and that of all other professionals involved in the case) but at some point a granny/aunt/cousin/close friend had indicated they wanted to apply to care for the child, so the final hearing had to be adjourned so that the necessary assessments could be carried out on the applicants. Twin tracking does mean it should be quicker but of course it isn't really because quite often these relatives/friends assessments are going to take a long time. If a relative/friend is assessed and does not get a positive recommendation they will have lawyers arguing their case in court.

I am quite sure Scarlett that there would be dozens of couples approved and waiting for a 4 month baby! What actually happens is once the Placement Order is made, the social worker for the child reads all the forms and talks to the sw who assessed the couples and makes a decision on the most appropriate couples to visit (sometimes 3 or 4) You mention childen who may be the subject of a Placement Order who are less likely to be matched because of difficulties like FAS NAS? and these children will be fostered and will be on the "Children who Wait" list and will eventually be advertised in Adoption UK or Be My Parent. Interestingly FAS is often not diagnosed in this country (around 80% of cases go undiagnosed) and so babies can be placed with FAS. The other thing is with FAS it is a syndrome of course as you know and it is only as the child grows that it can be established where the child is on the continuum between completely "normal" and highly disturbed and anywhere else in between.

If you are interested I can post again about FAS and my own expeirences.

Allelujah Purple a rare postive comment about social workers !! They are like everyone else on a continuum too, from highly competent to woefully inadequate and anywhere in between! However their job is very stressful and the workload is horrendous, which is why it is is hard to recruit sws to child protection work.

scarlet5tyger Tue 09-Oct-12 15:36:30

nananina yes please, I would really like info on FAS (maybe we could have a separate thread with other peoples experiences too?) It's ridiculous that in my LA there is no training course about this - in fact myself and another couple of foster carers seem to be the "trainers" if a new carer takes a placement with alcohol/drug issues! (I've raised the issue many times but as always it comes down to funding)

This is also one of the reasons I like to keep in touch with the children I move on - I find I learn quite a lot from the experiences their new parents/carers go through later in life. My very first placement's consultant told me that NAS shows itself most specifically at three stages - at birth, when starting proper reasoning (usually starting school age), and as a teenager. It's no wonder adoptive parents are wary, that's a whole childhood!

purple no need to apologise for "running off", I think most of us on here post around naps and contact waiting times!

fostermumtomany Tue 09-Oct-12 21:54:17

we met the parents but the lo hasnt, thats next week and everytime i bring it up she tells me she is going to stay in the kitchen.
im...i dont even know how im feeling....im just so worried for her. the adopters gave said that we can ring and text etc over the first few weeks to see how she is but s.s have said they want a settling in period of 6 months with no visual contact from us.
she really is going to feel like we have just dumped her on strangers sad

NanaNina Tue 09-Oct-12 22:44:44

fostermumtomany There will of course be introductions but they won't be long and drawn out will they. I think the main thing is how well the adoptors will be able to help the child to settle, and I don't honestly think a child of 2 (even a very bright one) will have such a developed thought process to think that you have abandoned her. I am not btw minimising the distress this is going to cause you. Scarlet will be a big help to you I'm sure as she has moved on quite a few young children. What did you think of the adoptors - are they experienced parents or is this their first child.

Scarlett I think if you google FAS (foetal sometimes spelt as fetal) there is a wealth of information with pictures of children showing some of the facial characteristics of a child with FAS. I don't know what NAS is? I will PM you with my own experience as I don't want to put it on an open forum.

I have often thought of starting a thread about FAS, given that it goes undiagnosed in so many cases. The USof A are of course streets ahead of us with diagnosing FAS. I hope things are getting a bit better now but I'm not sure as I have been out of practice sine 2009.

Chrissy3280 Wed 10-Oct-12 21:10:08

Reading your post has brought tears to my eyes. I am a foster carer of babies, I have looked after 7 to date, for an average 15 months, shortest 9 months, longest 2 years. Each time it breaks my heart, I know they are going to be adopted, but dread the phone call to say they have found adopters, I know that adoption is in their best interest and pray each time that I will like the adopters, which I have been lucky and have liked every one. Most promise to keep in touch, but really only one family has kept that promise and I visit them every couple of months, I wish they could all be like that. In my experience little ones settle very quickly, introductions are normally over 10 days and they have all been ready to move on after that time. I feel for you I really do,

fostermumtomany Sat 13-Oct-12 14:52:01

i have moved lots of babies onto adoption over the years but this little one is different.
i know it sounds strange, but she is the one who has really stolen my heart. we were hoping to adopt her ourselves but ss said not to get our hopes up as birth family live literally 2 streets away. personally i dont think she should have been placed so close but they didnt tell us where her family lived initially. they lied and said they lived two towns away. we only found out after accepting the placement.
the adopters phoned up a couple of times this week to find out her favourite colours etc for decorating her room. they asked if they could say hello on the phone and i saw no harm in it, my lo refused point blank to speak to them and took herself off into her playroom where she sat crying. my dh went in to ask her what was wrong and again she said "i stay with you, i not leaving, i not talk them".

bless her little heart, she must be so confused. last night i was reading her a bedtime story and out of the blue she asked me "my naughty girl" i said of course not, you are the best girl in the world, why are you asking me that, and she said "i got leave you".
i had to leave the room i couldnt stop crying. how do i tell her its out of my hands, that i dont want her to leave, that i cant stop it from happening?
how do i help her? i have asked my sw and her sw and they have no idea all they say is just reassure her it will be ok. well i have been reassuring her every time she mentions it, its makes no difference!
the adopters sent a photobook of them and their home and everything, my lo wont even look at it, despite us trying to make it seem exciting saying things like ...wow look at this and ooh look at that isnt that lovely. she will not entertain it. she is leaving in 13 days. we start next tuesday and she goes 10 days later. please god let it go ok, please please let her be ok.
i love fostering, i really do, but this is the part that i find to be so cruel to everybody involved. its destroying me to the point that i dont think i can continue, i dont want to go through this again its too hard, too painful.
not to mention the fact that we have been told not to tell her birth family that she is going. ss have been given permission to tell them after she has gone. all well and good but we bump into them almost daily and everytime they ask if we have heard anything. we just say no. but what happens when she goes and we bump into them and she isnt with us? they are going to go nuts. they are going to know that we lied to them and i am going to feel like a right nasty sod.

i mean i was followed the other day by someone in a van, i was going to get my dd from school and this van was kerb crawling me shouting abuse, demanding that i let dad see his daughter. i ignored the best i could until they started threatening me. at that i turned around and screamed why does he want to see her now? he hasnt bothered since she was 6 months old so why now? did he tell you what he did, did he tell you why he isnt allowed to see her? the bloke in the van just looked at me with a blank expression on his face and drove off.

what sort of confrontations am i going to get when they find out she has gone?

sorry for going on, im just so.....i dont even know what i am at the moment.

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