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I have been approved and linked to a little boy....

(63 Posts)
Clarebabes Tue 05-Apr-11 11:47:15

....and don't know where to start regarding all the stuff he will need!

I already have a birth DD who is 12, so it was such a long time ago I had a toddler around. Anyone got any tips on a pushchair which will not be too expensive or bulky, plus a good car seat for him please? He will be around 18 months when he comes to us.

I might sound a bit rabbit in headlights, because I am! We were thinking it would take ages after getting approved before we actually have a child placed, but looks like it's going to be sooner rather than later.

Anyway, thanks in advance.
Clare
xx

walesblackbird Tue 05-Apr-11 13:05:02

Congratulations! Firstly check with fc to see what he will be bringing with him.

Car seats : you know it depends on weight and what will fit in your car. So firstly find out what he weighs and what he's in at the moment. If you're going to be swapping the car seats between two cars take both with you for fitting.

Buggies : When my 3rd child was placed I was already using a Phil & Teds (as we'd had our 2nd placed just 20 months earlier and he was still only 2) but then I bought a Zia Petite Star. Sort of like the Quinny but wider and more practical. Roomier for a little one.

High chair and/or booster seat?

Cotbed

Exciting time!!

Clarebabes Tue 05-Apr-11 13:48:27

Thanks walesblackbird, something to think about! It is an exciting time, but also a bit frightening! When you have a birth child, these things get bought gradually, I'm going to have to have these things all at once!

I was hoping to get some things second hand because even though we could afford new, I don't see the point as there's loads of stuff out there hardly used. I know you have to be careful with car seats, so that will be new.

My sister has a Quinny for her 20 month-old, I think she's happy with it. She's got a Golf, but I've got a Fiat 500, so size matters, lol!

Cotbed rather than just cot? We have a single bed he will go into, so I guess I'll check with the FC to see what he's in now. And yes, high chair etc.... So much to get!

Any recommended toys for him?

deardoctor Tue 05-Apr-11 13:58:43

Congratulations!

Pushchair - I would get a 2nd hand maclaren techno / quest for that age. Worth asking the SW / FC whether he naps well in pushchair so you know whether you need one that reclines or not (techno does go fairly flat, quest just a bit).

Car seat - group 1 usually last from 1yr to 4yrs. Have had a couple of good ones from argos koochi or something is the brand.

Ikea do a good cheap highchair think its about 15 quid.

Toys - DS2 nearly 17 months likes garage and huge chunky cars, likes building bricks, little ride on car, loves a hideously ugly giant soft dog! Anything from ELC which makes a noise / flashes lights when you press it. OTOH DS1 at that age didn't have the fine motor skills to do much more than roll a ball or bang a drum. Ask FC where he's at - assuming he doesn't have any developmental problems?

18 months is one of my favourite ages BTW they are really discovering the world but before the really crazy tantrums kick in

Clarebabes Tue 05-Apr-11 14:11:55

deardoctor, thanks for your reply. He does not have any developmental delay and is quite clever according to the FC report. Will not be meeting her for a couple of weeks due to my work commitments, so trying to think ahead. Report says he loves cars, so something like a garage will be good. Apparently most of his toys will come with him, but big things like high chair, cot etc. won't be.

I remember birth daughter at that age and it is a special age that's for sure. :-)

walesblackbird Tue 05-Apr-11 14:16:29

Check whether he will be bringing his bedding with him. Unwashed at first so that he comes with something familiar. Smell is very important when little ones are moved on. If not then what we've done before is to take our bedding to the fcs and ask that she uses that so that he gets used to it.

Something else we did was to buy a cuddle toy, sleep with it so that it wore our smell and then leave that with babes during intros.

You'll know about keeping routines etc as close to fc's as possible and know about asking about washing powder and keeping that the same?

Once you get to speak to the fc then she'll be able to give you lots of information. She'll know him better than the sw and is the best person to tell you about littly.

Nappies, of course!! Check which ones fc's using and start with those. Ditto wipes.

thefirstMrsDeVere Tue 05-Apr-11 14:19:48

I dont think he needs a high chair.

A booster would be better and takes up a lot less room. They strap to your dining chair and cost about £20.00.
I wouldnt get too many toys at first. He may feel overwhelmed and it might lead to 'my new mummy and daddy buy me toys all the time' sort of expectations.
Sorry if you know this stuff already, I dont want to sound patronizing.

If he sleeps in a cot at the moment I would get one so the transition isnt too hard. A second hand one so you can move him on to his big boy bed when he is ready.

Get the argos, tesco direct and mothercare (bleugh) catalogues so you can have a browse to remind yourself of what they do (and dont) need. Be prepared for a shock, lots has changed since you had DD. I have 5 dcs ages between [would be] 19 and 1. Stuff changed between each of them!

Its all very exciting and I hope it all goes wonderfully smoothly.

Yay

Clarebabes Tue 05-Apr-11 14:31:32

Great tips, I am learning, so please keep them coming!!! :-)

I'm trying to make a note of things to ask FC. I hope the transition goes well for all of us, I can't imagine the wrench it's going to be for his FC family as they've had him since birth.

thefirstMrsDeVere Tue 05-Apr-11 15:33:30

Just thought! DVDs. Find out what tv and DVDs he likes if you havent already. These will be very important to him if he the sort of kid who loves tv. Start watching ceebebies NOW and aquaint (sp) yourself with all of its brightly coloured, loud and annoying mysteries grin

My DS was very tiny when he came to me and we were fostering him so he had a very chaotic life. I used to sing a special song and wore the same necklace for a long time just so he would know when he was 'home'. That song would calm him even when he was much older. I am a rubbish singer but it would immediately let him know who he was with and he was safe.

I sang it everyday from the moment he arrived and it really seemed to help the little scrap.

Maybe you could have a special nursery rhyme? Just an idea.

Clarebabes Tue 05-Apr-11 15:48:53

Yes, I am looking forward to the TV programmes - NOT! I know a little bit about some of them because my sister has a 20 month-old, but not spent enough time with her really.

I really want to get involved in Rhyme Time and those sort of things at the local children's centre, I know he does those sort of things already where he lives now. He has been given a really good start by his FC, so hoping to continue that.

MrsDeVere, how old was your DS when you got him?

Maryz Tue 05-Apr-11 16:23:55

Can I second the suggestion that you don't buy too much. The temptation is to go mad and buy everything in sight.

Find out what toys/dvds/books he enjoys most and get a small selection. I would ask around and see if anyone is getting rid of a stroller for the moment, and see what is most comfortable when he arrives. 18 month-olds vary in size and in independence, and there is no point in spending a lot if he turns out to be a pushchair refuser (ds1 refused to get into a pushchair once he could walk at about a year).

Try to make his room familiar - see where he is sleeping at the moment, and keep similar lighting etc (e.g. if he sleeps with blackout blinds, get them).

How does your dd feel - it must be very exciting (and a bit scary) for her. Try not to instantly use her as a second pair of hands. Hopefully she will want to help out and join in, but if she doesn't don't have too high expectations of her. She may have mixed feelings a bit, and may take a little bit of time to adjust smile.

Don't panic (yet), you have loads of time to get ready really.

walesblackbird Tue 05-Apr-11 16:40:52

Clare - I can understand your desire to start taking him to activities but please don't do anything too soon. He will be grieving for the loss of his foster carer and needs some time with just you and your immediate family to start to form a bond. You will be strangers to him and he's going to need time to attach to you and to feel safe and secure with you before you starting taking him to various activities.

I know it's hard but adopting is really nothing like having a birth child. Your little boy will have suffered at least two huge traumas in his short life - being removed from bm is, in itself, very traumatic and being removed from the person who's cared for him from babyhood is going to take some time for him to get used to.

It's good that he does it with his fc - but that's not quite the same. He already has an attachment to her so no doubt feels quite secure with her. He won't have that with you so initially you really do need to keep him close.

thefirstMrsDeVere Tue 05-Apr-11 17:14:26

My DC was a day short of 8 weeks old.
I knew nothing about him. I didnt even know how to spell his name.
B.mum didnt want to tell me anything. At the time it wasnt about getting at me (that came later), it was about not cooperating with SS. Cant blame her but made it much harder for DS as I didnt know when he was fed, what calmed him down etc.

We made it. He is 8 now smile

His life was very, very busy because of loads of long contacts in another borough. As soon as these calmed down I made sure we stayed at home a lot. He seemed to want this. We did a few regular things (local, small playgroup) but he really preferred pottering about at home. I am not suprised bless him. That is when he began to blossom. When he had the chance to get a bit more grounded.

Getting all nostalgic now.

hester Tue 05-Apr-11 23:11:12

dd2 came to us at 10 months old. I got an iCandy Cherry off Ebay, but for the first month carried her a lot in a sling (she liked the closeness and comfort). 18 months is getting a bit big for that, though - she is 18 months now and there is no way i would be getting the sling out!

I also got a cheap highchair. I used dd1's old cotbed. I found out what nappies, wipes and formula she was used to and used all of them. She came loaded with clothes and toys, so i didn't buy any at first (though of course she inherited lots of dd1's). The clothing wasn't to my taste, but I used it all till she outgrew it - except for the 'saw it, wanted it, threw a tantrum, got it' t-shirt.

I did try to reproduce fc's routines, but some things had to change immediately. For example, she had only ever fallen asleep in someone's arms in front of the TV, but we couldn't do that with an older child running around, so we had new sleep routine from day 1 (which she accepted quite happily). FC also was emphatic that she would not accept a sleeping bag, but she did and i think she found it quite comforting.

You'll feel your way through: just remember the basic principles about safety and continuity, and try not to be impatient to establish your new life in all the ways you envisaged it. Remember they grow out of their clothes and toys very quickly, so it won't be long before all the 'Saw it, wanted it' t-shirts are down at the charity shop grin

Oh, and congratulations! Can't wait to hear how you get on.

Clarebabes Wed 06-Apr-11 10:34:24

Thanks everyone, great information. We're just trying to get around everyone and tell them what's going on. Most people are really pleased and have loads of questions. I have some older relatives to tell this weekend, including my 93-year-old Nan who I am not looking forward to telling. I don't think she'll understand and she is such a selfish person, she just won't "get" it. Not sure how to approach it either as it's my Mum's birthday meal - Nan is my Dad's mum.

Did anyone have any odd reactions from anyone in their families?

hester Wed 06-Apr-11 11:21:05

My grandfather tried to talk me out of it - at the 11th hour - on the grounds that 'you don't know the parents' IQ' (he is VERY into eugenics!)

My db - who lives abroad - was basically uninterested, ignored new dd's birthday, and at Christmas sent her and dd1 a joint present: a book which is way, way too old for dd2, and which she won't be reading for at least 5 years. So, not really a shared present. As a point of principle, I don't normally fuss about presents, but as he hadn't sent her a welcome present or a birthday present either... Oh, and he got her name wrong. I was very hurt.

Some of my extended family were brilliant. Others haven't even got in touch to say congratulations (but then some of them haven't yet congratulated me on having dd1!). Overall, I'd say less fuss and warmth than when I had first child, and it is very hard to work out whether that is second child-itis, or whether they perceive adopting a child as somehow less momentous and valid than having a child biologically.

hester Wed 06-Apr-11 11:29:23

I want to add: because I'm a lesbian mother, neither of my children have arrived in the conventional, socially-endorsed way, and I think I have become rather pathetically grateful when anyone actually celebrates the fact of my children. The good side of this is that I have become closer to some family members (in particular, an aunt who I'd been quite distant from) who responded with great enthusiasm and warmth. But I feel quite angry with myself when I think how unassertive I have been others who seem to think they can pick and choose which children they can acknowledge their relationship with (my MIL, for example, who has a big coffee table photo album of her other two nieces, the ones born to heterosexuals).

I wish I had tackled this more assertively, in retrospect. I'm not saying you should go into your nan all guns blazing - my MIL is also elderly and part of my thinking was that she probably won't be around for much of my dc's childhoods, so why start a war - but we do have to role model to our children that we won't accept them being treated as second-rate or invalid in any way.

Sorry for the rant! One of the things we have to do is non-conventional families, I think, is to accept that our social and family responsibilities shift as the need to advocate for our children takes top priority. I struggle with that, but it has to happen.

thefirstMrsDeVere Wed 06-Apr-11 11:36:12

Hester We were all VERY excited and happy when we heard about your DD2 smile

So ner to anyone else x

My family were brilliant. I was quite suprised. Not that they are horrible but it was all a bit quick. DS arrived with a week's notice and I couldnt even give my family that because I didnt know what was going to happen till the last minute.

If they batted an eyelid they didnt do in front of me. It was all quite complicated and very stressful (we are kinship adopters on my OH's side). So my family would have been quite right to be worried about the affect on me but they kept it to themselve and were always delighted with DS.

Even when my DD became ill there was no suggestion that we should give him up to make our lives easier. We were still fostering him then and it was obvious from the start that DD's illness was going to have huge affect on the family (though we didnt realise how huge sad )

I am very proud of my family for the way they have acted since DS fell from the sky into our lives (it did feel like that at the time smile )

Clarebabes Wed 06-Apr-11 11:37:57

Hester, thanks for posting. I think you've hit the nail on the head with people thinking adoption is not quite as happy an event as having your own biological child. He is not second rate to us and I don't think my immediate family will see that either, but my Nan is insensitive and not very empathetic so anyone. She is not particularly loving, I've never really felt close to her, so that might be why I'm feeling like this.

Perhaps I am assuming incorrectly with my Nan, but she might think we're just looking after him or something, I don't know if she'll accept him as part of the family for ever.

I hope I am wrong, but my parents have not said ANYTHING to her so far, so this is going to be a bit of a shock and I have to say something before he comes, otherwise the shock might finish her off, LOL.

hester Wed 06-Apr-11 13:19:23

Ah MrsdeVere, you've given me a lovely warm Ready Brek glow grin

Clarebabes, do I detect a maternal instinct kicking in, a mother tiger being roused from her slumber?! But of course it's not just for our children, it's also about us and our needs, and we shouldn't be ashamed of that. One of the joys of motherhood is basking in the warmth of everyone's congratulations, and when you've struggled as long and hard as most adoptive parents have it feels very hurtful if others treat it as if you've just taken in a stray cat. And we need and want our changed identity to be recognised and affirmed: we've become mothers, and if your nan won't recognise her kinship to your son then she is in effect not recognising YOU.

You may find your nan reacts much more positively than you'd expect. I found that when I adopted - very similarly to when I first came out as gay - I couldn't necessarily tell who would react positively and who wouldn't. I really hope that she'll come through for you. But if she doesn't, come here and lick your wounds with us, and remember that your family focus has shifted. It's going to be about you and your son now, and it's you, not your nan, who will the important figure in his life.

Maryz Wed 06-Apr-11 13:38:36

My family were great, and have no issues with adoption at all (in fact sometimes the kids have to remind my mum, because she forgets and starts telling them how much they look like ancient aunty X, for example).

dh's family, on the other hand, well.... his sister referred to her children as "fil's real grandchildren" one day, which just about summed up her attitude hmm. But that was our only issue.

Do be careful with the birth child/adopted child thing. I found that after I had ds2, there were many who would compare and who really believed that I would feel differently about him than about my older two. They didn't mean to be critical, but some people will find it hard to believe that you really feel the same about both your children (and in fact as an extra, please remember you may not at first: adoption is stressful, and it may take a few dodgy weeks or even months when you spend a lot of time thinking "what the fuck have I done [shock").

Relax, take your time, spend as much quiet alone time as you can with him, and tell everyone else to butt out. It'll all be fine in the end.

RipVanLilka Wed 06-Apr-11 17:04:22

My family were great overall, apart from this couple of ancient aunty and uncle x, who weren't because they hate all kids in general!!

The problem were acquaintances! There was one woman at a club I went to who was lovely generally, but old, and had this idea in her head that my wanting to adopt an older child was just a fad I'd got off the television! Same with my being vegetarian, and being gay! She used to tell me 'you get such funny ideas in your head, Lilka!"
Then she told someone else! Who told me I shouldn't be gay and adopt because I didn't want to screw the poor child up any more!

Needless to say, I didn't speak to the second ever again, and avoided little old lady as much as possible!

I think some family are apprehensive because it's the unknown, and they go thorugh all the worse case scenarios, and all the horrors...but when their new grandchild arrives and its no longer in the abstract, they suddenly forget it all, and fall in love! At least, thats what happened with my BIL anyway

Clarebabes Thu 07-Apr-11 15:09:15

Told most people at work today as first day back after our holiday. Everyone is being really nice and loads didn't know you could get leave for adopting. One even asked if I'd be reducing my hours and was shocked when I said I wouldn't be coming back for a year! Suppose it's ignorance really as I know these things because it's happening to me, but I can understand where people come from with these sort of questions.

Still haven't told my Nan! DH reckons I ought to call her, but it's weird, like I'm scared of her!

By the way, another question I have is about contact with bio-family. There will be only letterbox to Dad, Mum has gone AWOL, but there are a couple of siblings who have been adopted out to another family. It is the intention that there will be face-to-face contact with siblings, but we were assured that there wasn't going to be, so came as a bit of a shock to me. Anything I should be aware of or any warnings about this?

Thanks again everyone, you lot are so knowledgeable, it really helps.

walesblackbird Thu 07-Apr-11 16:15:25

Why are they suggesting direct contact? Does your little one already have a relationship with them? Has he met them? Have they had ongoing contact? If the answer is yes, then maybe dc is a possibility. If not then, frankly, I can't see the point.

How do the other adopters feel? Have they agreed to direct contact? If not, then how can it happen?

I'm not saying that I'm keeping against dc but the whole point of contact is that it has to be in a child's best interests. How are they going to demonstrate to you that this is indeed the case?

I'm in favour of lb and think that if you can maintain an informal relationship with the other adopters then that could be good. Email is a pretty good method. But dc just for the sake of - just so that sw can tick a box - isn't the right way to do things.

Dig deeper.

sshnapps Thu 07-Apr-11 16:23:25

clarebabes,we didnt know that our social worker contested direct contact with dd2 siblings. she was in a meeting for 3 hours fighting against it. we didnt even know it was suggested.
if the 2 other siblings are already adopted i would think it highly unlikely unl;ess your child had spent a significant amount of time with them.

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