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How do intros work with birth children, please?(13 Posts)
Experienced adopters with birth children - please could you share your view on how introductions work with birth children?
This is what we did:
Travelled up to where fc lived on the Saturday (2-3 hours from home), stayed first night at my brother's place, which is luckily only 30 minutes from where fc lived. Next day into a holiday let (paid for by ss), leaving dd1 behind with my brother.
Monday we went and waited on fc doorstep while she moseyed back late from 'our last holiday together' . Met dd2. Felt overwhelmed. Monday night brother brought dd1 back to stay with us.
Tuesday dd1 came with us to meet dd2. Tense day in fc house - fc disliked dd1 on sight, muttered audibly about her being a little madam, wouldn't let her play with any of the many toys in the house (dd1 was 4). It felt very awkward trying to keep dd2 entertained/protected from highly hostile atmosphere, while focusing on dd1 and trying to learn as much as possible from unmotivated fc.
Wednesday dd1 came with us to spend day with dd2. More of the same. dd1 behaving like an angel but was still treated very poorly by fc. I decided this wasn't fair on her, and asked my db to come and collect her the next day. Our sw fully supported us in this (she was incandescent).
Thursday went into town to meet birth mother (against wishes of fc). dd1 entertained by very nice sw until my brother turned up to fetch her. Birth mother didn't turn up; sw rang her and rearranged for next day. We went back to fc in the afternoon - big row as she felt we shouldn't be meeting with bm and how dare we fix another meeting with her when she had told us not to.
Friday we had review meeting, then back to fc for the rest of the day. Tense.
Saturday we went to say goodbye, then back to my brother to pick up dd1, then got home by 8pm. Front door lock broken; didn't get in the house till 10.30pm.
Sunday 10am fc arrives with dd2 and, finally, exhausted, we can get started.
So, in theory first meeting without your bc, then bc gradually introduced and spends longer with ac each day. The idea is very much that introductions is for all the family.
So why have I shared the awfulness of our experience? Because I think you need to be aware that it can be very tricky managing everybody in this situation. Most fc don't kick off like ours did, but it is an emotionally exhausting experience and not helped by having to take care of the competing needs of two children. We were lucky that our dd1 was very positive about the adoption and behaved really well. Also lucky that dd2 was only a baby, but fascinated by dd1. I'm really glad that my brother lived nearby and we had that back-up. Also that our social worker was very fond of dd1 and really wanted to make the experience good for her (she gave her a congratulations card with a medal saying 'world's best sister', which was a lovely gesture).
Hey, it's like childbirth. It doesn't last for ever
On the first day of our intros just me and dh went. The 2nd day dd met ds, after that she came to everything apart from the review meeting.
She was 9years old.
Our intro were in the summer holidays which was great as dd could be so involved.
Luckily our fc were lovely and were very welcoming. They had 2 of there own children which was nice but dd found that hard sometimes as did fc youngest child. She was very attached to ds she felt like she was loosing her little brother.
Oh cor blimey had not reckoned on the foster carer having a child Cedar!
Devora I know your situation was mega trciky. Might need to rope in relatvie or friend if it is far from home!! Whatever happens will try and be prepared for anything!
As foster carer's , INTRO's with us start well before actual meeting, we have A4 photo's and video's of birth children and sent same too new family's. This is in place some weeks or months before intros , also use photo App's on toy's., useful in that child can access all at their leisure and own pace and privacy.
In some instances at 1st meeting children have greeted forever family as " Mum and Dad". and children by name.
Birth children we place no issue's except inclusion, part of days out too include activity age appropriate too BC or even better appropriate too both , swimming visit too zoo , football club etc. We leave the children alone go in another room for cup of tea and a chat, Try too be natural children can move around the house freely. chat and play.
It is important that things are put in place well before intro's .
Hi Italian, I'm not experienced yet but hope to be in your situation in a year or so!
'When Daisy met Tommy' by Jules Belle is a book written by an adoptive mum who has a BC and it covers some of the tricky bits about introductions quite well, I thought. The author found that though they were keen to play by the rules and go along with what the foster mum wanted, in hindsight it would have been better for all of them if they had asserted themselves more, immediately when they realised things were going wrong. In their case the foster mum was upset as she had wanted to adopt the child in question herself, and was very uncooperative. And she had a BC too who was very protective of their foster sibling and behaved/felt as if the forever family was stealing their sibling from them. I do hope things will go better for you (and us, down the line!) but I guess it is good to be prepared for anything, and I found this book quite insightful, so am happy to recommend. With the caveat that I don't have the experience to be properly able to say if it rings true or not.
DS didn't come with us on the first day, as we didn't know how it would go and didn't want to worry about managing his emotions a well as ours, IYSWIM. In hindsight, he could have done, but it was the right decision at the time.
Second day my parents dropped him off at FC part way through our session so that he could meet DD and spend time with her for a short time.
Third day similar.
After that he did everything with us.
He was as knackered as we were, but we were glad it was during the summer holidays so that he could be properly involved.
A lot depends on the foster carers, how professional they are.
Ideally you should have an adults only meeting with them first, and try to get as much information as possible about the child's routine , likes and dislikes etc . It's very hard to do this when children are there.
I suggest you do everything you possible can to get on with them,at least for the duration of the introductions, even if they are hostile and difficult ( you can always complain later!!)
They have lots of information you need. It's not unusual to find they have lots of photos of the child or even the birth family that the SW doesn't know about. Try to get copies of everything for your child.
I got many photographs and documents that belonged to my child that SWs didn't seem to have or know about. Many SWs don't seem to appreciate how much these things can mean to an adopted child. Letters and photographs often lie in files for years. I know someone whose child's SW took documents for the life story home , supposedly to give to the AP, then went on maternity leave, then resigned and they never got them. Including the letter from the birth mother :-(
So anything you can get direct of from the FC will be invaluable . .IME they can be much more organised and child focussed than the SW.
if the Fcs have been reasonable with you, I suggest you keep in contact with them. An email or card with a couple of photos every so often will be very much appreciated . Especially if they have bio children at home and your child was with them for a while.
Obviously you can't give information or photos about your child if you don't trust the FCs. Nor can you do so if your child doesn't want to .
Forgot to say, the pattern of the introductions should be agreed in advance with the Sw and put in writing. It's nt up to the FC to say things like " sorry we can't do tomorrow because of x". Any changes should be agreed by the SW
It's not uncommon to find that Fcs have strong opinions about what should have happened to the child. Some are very over identified with the birth family, others wanted to keep the child themselves. Others will take a dislike to you because of your age/colour/background/religion /family make up etc but they should keep their opinions to themselves. It's their job to do so.
I forgot to add i have kept in contact with fc. They are a lovely family and made us feel very welcome. I don't feel comfortable meeting up yet and not sure my dh will ever. But i text and email her every month or so. She recently ask to meet but was fine when i said it wasn't the right time.
She made ds a memory box and 2 photo albums.
Even though it all went very smoothly it was still very odd being in someone else's house.
Your dd will probably be about the same age as my ddi was when it happens. I think if you asked her now what was the hardest thing was having to share ds with the fc children.
Meita thanks will try and get that book.
Families thanks for your advice, sounds very sensible, I know it was your situation but I think I like the idea of DD joining us if things were going well etc. She is at school so it could be complicated but I like the idea of us going first and her joining us, if possible.
Kristina wonderful advice as always.
Cedar Thanks so much.
I only know one real life foster carer and she is lovely. I guess it scary to think that foster carers might want to adopt the child themselves and so they might feel very uncomfortable meeting the people who will adopt him/her.
we lived a fair distance away so SS rented us a flat and BS came with us
It was hard work, it is so emotional you just want to collapse at the end of the day but we had BS to entertain
Our DD had poor FC and SS quickly recognised this so we spent little time there
Met on first day, second day went to FC and joined in her daily routine (which was non existent actually)
on the other days we took her out or back to the flat. She didnt really have a bond with FC (sadly)
After the week we went home for 2 days then FC brought her to our house for an overnight then back to FC
I complained about the overnight as she was too young to understand and it just added another move to her list
It is a very strange, emotional and exhausting time
It felt strange to me how much everyone knew about her and we didnt really (only what was on paper)
BS coped well with it
On the day she came home to stay he went to school as usual and we kept it all very low key
Linked to this, given you lovely people are already on this thread, what do people think about cutting actual contact (by which I mean adopted child meeting up with them)?
I had thought this was the advised norm but have just read a really interesting article in Adoption Today (from this Spring) where someone is challenging this.
She says that children may settle better if their FC world isn't ripped away from them, which creates another traumatic event in their life. With careful handling seeing the FC on and off for a while (in a neutral venue) can be done in a way where the child is happy to see them (we all like seeing important adults in our life and they don't have many) but it's made clear who they are going home with, who is now Mum/Dad.
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