I'm considering fostering babies. Could someone advise me please.

(26 Posts)

Hi, My DH works for social services in the children's sector. I currently work in a home for young adults with learning disabilities and autism. We have one gorgeous 9 year old daughter with severe learning difficulties. She is obviously at school full time.
We wanted her to have a sibling so badly, but it seems, after 7 years of trying, that that's not going to happen. My daughter is extremely family minded and loves routine. She doesn't like us making a fuss of other children, and doesn't like children touching her toys. So much so, that we don't have play dates at our house and she recently refused to take a toy to school, when it was allowed as a Christmas treat. I'm aware that I'm not painting a good picture here, but apart from those things, she is an absolute darling. She is very loving, caring and polite and is possibly the most popular child in her class. She just has real issues with jealousy and not wanting anything to change. She basically wants her dad and I all to herself.
We would both love to foster babies, as we both just love babies and would like to think that we're giving them a really great start in life.
I'm wondering if it'd do our daughter good too, or if she'd ever forgive us! confused She has made it blatantly clear that she doesn't want a sibling, or for me to look after babies at home, even though she loves babies! hmm
Could some one tell me a bit about what's involved in fostering babies and weather or not you think it'd be a good idea with my daughter too.
Thank you. smile

fasparent Mon 27-Jan-14 23:29:59

Think the answer is do not be put off explore all area's of fostering you do work with children and young adults with mental health problems, there is also the area of short break provision's, similar too rest bite care , there is a shortage of affordable short care for the disabled. Sure you can use your expertise in many area's.
Our ds age 11 has cp and autism was much the same as your dd but is now OK with everything , inclusion has help him no end he is very confident and helpful with every new addition so we are in a win win situation , We do have time for every one at 1st it was hectic but as time by you do get better organised.

fasparent Mon 27-Jan-14 23:18:16

Think the answer is do not be put off explore all area's of fostering you do work with children and young adults with mental health problems, there is also the area of short break provision's, similar too rest bite care , there is a shortage of affordable short care for the disabled. Sure you can use your expertise in many area's.

Roshbegosh Sun 26-Jan-14 07:47:52

wonderchild is right. Fostering is not about you and your DD's needs, it is about the child you would be taking in. They are not some kind of prop for your DD.

fasparent Sat 25-Jan-14 14:53:54

We have children at home with disability's also baby's, have been in this situation for year's , has never been a problem if anything it teaches the children lots of things, we also visit son in at his supported flat always take the baby's , other resident share and get a lot of experience they would not otherwise have let alone see a baby close at hand.
Some may have drug alcohol issues but with experience this is not a problem as there are two of us also our older dd's are trained in SEN child care . We do have lots of support within the family I think SS will look at what support is available for you.

Thank you both, I haven't heard of respite fostering. I'll look into that. smile

scarlet5tyger Fri 24-Jan-14 21:49:48

I foster babies often. They have ALL suffered some form of trauma. It can literally be a 24/7 job. There's a fantastic post on here somewhere by Earth Mother I'm Not about her journey with a drug addicted baby - it might help you with some decisions, and its a heart wrenching read even if it doesn't.

OP have you considered respite fostering?

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 24-Jan-14 21:31:21

mummyloveslucy, if you want to know about adoption, there's an adoption board over there >>>>>>

It takes a lot more than love to parent an adopted child successfully, though like Devora I have a birth child and an adopted child and it has worked brilliantly for our family.

That is sad. In a strange way, it makes me want to adopt more. I know I could give them so much love and a fantastic life. It's really tricky. :-(

Devora Fri 24-Jan-14 21:14:38

You don't have to remember to be traumatised. Even babies who have not been neglected or abused will have suffered loss and disrupted attachment at a very vulnerable time. It is safe to assume that all adopted children have suffered trauma and will have additional needs.

Wow! I thought you could adopt babies younger than that. We could cope with learning difficulties, but behavioural or social would be a lot harder to handle. That's why I thought having a tiny one, it wouldn't be traumatised so much as it wouldn't remember.

Devora Fri 24-Jan-14 20:45:53

I suppose adoption is closer to 'having your own' than fostering, but there are differences. Firstly, you are unlikely to get a little baby (unless your agency offers concurrent planning). Very few babies under 1 are adopted. My dd came to us at 10 months, and the matching panel congratulated social services on their speedy work. Second, adopted children have experienced trauma and loss, and this usually creates additional needs throughout childhood. Third, adopted children are more likely to have developmental delay and at higher risk of having learning, behavioural or social difficulties.

I have a birth child and an adopted child. They love each other and yes, it has been good for my pfb to get a sister. But adoption has been more challenging for all of us than if I had had another birth child. Worth it, though smile

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 24-Jan-14 20:43:01

Adopting and having a birth child are similar in that you are a child's parents (and therefore get to make decisions on how to raise them etc).

But very different in very many ways, including the process to become a parent, the involvement of lots of other people (including birth family) and a degree of uncertainty that most birth parents don't have to worry about.

And I wonder, from what you have said, how your daughter would cope with that uncertainty.

True. I'm going to put that idea on hold now, at least until my own daughter is more settled and could accept the idea. That may never happen, so we may never foster.

What about if we were to have our own baby? Do you think that would be unfair/ awful for our daughter or the baby? Just out of interest. I know it's very different having your own than fostering, but adoption and having your own are very similar aren't they?

You can't foster or adopt in order to help your dd, you need to be the right people to offer a home to a very vulnerable child. If your dd will resent that child then it's a non starter for the time being.

Devora Fri 24-Jan-14 20:23:29

About the same as having twins maybe, but without being able to establish your own routine because you're constantly having to respond to others' routines, schedule of contact visits etc.

It does sound like something best put off a few years smile

To be honest, I hadn't thought of them being born addicted to drugs, or any of the other issues. That's why I wanted some info and advice.
It doesn't seem right for us at the moment. Our little one still needs a lot of attention whenever at home. The care needs would be about the same as having twins. I was prepared for that, but I just think it would be too stressful trying to balance their needs.

defineme Fri 24-Jan-14 19:58:25

If you really seriously want this, then I think you need to get her used to the idea? Babysit friend's babies, have children come over. I know she hates sharing etc, but you need to change that if this is going to work.
I really do sympathise. My eldest has asd and ld, and I think his twin younger siblings are the best thing that could have possibly happened to him.

wonderpants Fri 24-Jan-14 19:51:09

I think social services will consider whether you are the best thing for a very vulnerable damaged child, not whether a foster/ adoptive child is good for your DD. Sorry to be blunt!

wonderpants Fri 24-Jan-14 19:49:06

I think routine can also be hard with babies. I have similar aged children and a foster baby we have had from birth. You have contact with parents up to 5 times a week, relentless training (and not at family convenient times), social worker meetings, reviews, medicals. I rarely have a day without something we have to do.

Babies can be withdrawing from drugs, or damaged by alcohol, or just the stress whilst in-utero. They can scream constantly.

Your house is turned upside down with equipment, especially if you are out of the baby stage.

If the baby cries, your DD needs to be able to understand you have to comfort it. Mine have found that their tea has been late, or had more stuff like pizza than they would have done. Some days the baby will literally not be put down. Techniques such as crying it out as not accepted.

And then, after you all get used to the chaos, the baby goes. And it is heartbreaking beyond belief.

Fostering is very hard for birth children, and although it is an amazing experience, I don't underestimate the effect on them.

In your position, from your OP, I would not consider it.

If they will take her thoughts into account, then there's no way we'd be allowed. Certainly not at the moment anyway.
We were also considering adoption, would that be any better for her?

Devora Fri 24-Jan-14 19:48:33

Tulips is right that your dd will be assessed by social services in any application to foster, because they also have a duty of care for her. But I wonder if you are underestimating the demands of fostering babies? My dd2 was in foster care from birth till 10 months. She was born addicted and spent nearly two months on morphine in hospital, then six months in frequent pain, screaming and demanding endless comfort from her fc, day and night sad. Many babies in the care system will be going through the same thing. Plus there is often a demanding schedule of meetings with social workers, contact visits with birth parents (sometimes several times a week) - it can be very disruptive and not just about having a sweet baby at home.

Sorry, I'm being very negative and I don't want to put you off if this is right for you. I don't know your daughter and I don't know if she is likely to adjust. Best of luck with whatever you do smile

Hmm, yes you're right. I just thought it would help her to be more accepting of things. You hear so many people saying she's a typical only child, so I thought that having a kind of sibling substitute might help her.
She does love babies! She just doesn't like it if we make a fuss of them. She'll sulk or burst out crying, even in the street, saying "You love that baby more than meee!!
Maybe I could do it either when she's older, or left home... wink

lougle Fri 24-Jan-14 19:37:24

MLL, with the best of intentions for you and your DD, don't even consider it. Lucy has enough challenges in life without being subjected to a series of all-consuming, needy beings ergo she just learns to tolerate before they are whisked away, only to be replaced by a new one.

TulipsfromAmsterdam Fri 24-Jan-14 19:35:53

Our dd was interviewed during our assessment to foster and had very positive opinions which were discussed at panel. She was invited to attend panel with us though declined at the last moment due to nerves but her attitude was taken seriously throughout.
SS will take a lot of notice of your dd's thoughts and if she is very vocal in not wanting to share or to have babies living with you this may not help your application.
Also the demands in caring for a very young baby along with meetings, SW visits and contact 52 weeks of the year may unsettle your dd more than you anticipate.
Perhaps you could look into fostering once dd is a bit older and more accepting if it becomes an option. smile

Devora Fri 24-Jan-14 19:21:07

mummyloveslucy, obviously I don't know your dd but I'm not sure why you think a child who doesn't like babies, doesn't want to share you and doesn't cope well with change would benefit from a revolving door of babies creating ceaseless change and demanding a great deal of your attention? Sorry if that sounds negative, I just want to get a better understanding of why you think it might do her good? Are you thinking she'd get used to it?

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