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Week into placement, my heart aches

(67 Posts)
TrinnyandSatsuma Thu 07-Nov-13 17:07:21

We are now a week into placement. Our little boy is doing so, so well. His world has turned upside down and he is grieving for his foster carers.

He broke down in tears today, first time we've had tears. Up until now, he's just said he feels sad, but at last today he let out some of the emotion we know he is feeling. It is absolutely heart breaking to see him so upset.

He has been trying to control everything and not surprisingly, food is the one thing he can control. We know he must be hungry, but he just won't eat.

Please someone come along and reassure me that he won't let himself starve. We are feeding him like he is a much younger child, having foods we know he likes etc. his afternoon, we had inclusion time because he didn't eat any lunch. We all sat quietly on the sofa together and read books. We told him we loved him, but that without his lunch, he wouldn't have energy to play. I have no idea of that's a good response, or a terrible one.

Only a few hours until bed time and then I plan on having a big cry, a glass of wine and a cuddle from hubbie!

TrinnyandSatsuma Sun 10-Nov-13 19:16:02

Really interested in the view that he should see his foster carers sooner rather than later. We had been pretty certain this would / should wait at least a few months so that he is really settled. I worry that seeing them would confuse him......I worry he would want to go back to their house and it would be so painful for him to say goodbye to them again.

We always planned, and still do, to retain contact with them, but hadn't planned to have the first meeting for a few months.

Does anyone have experience of an older child who was very settled in foster care, who had early contact with foster carers?

sittinginthesun Sun 10-Nov-13 19:25:02

Not older, but my friend fostered a baby who moved to her new family around 20 months. She was very attached to her foster family as shed been with them since birth.

They meet every few months; I think the first meet was around 6 weeks after. At parents' house, or now sometimes in the park or cafe.

My friend was half dreading the first meeting, but it went very well. She has quickly become an "auntie" figure, who is still important to the child, but in the background. The parents always chat about her etc and sent pictures back and forth.

Don't know if that helps.

Happiestinwellybobs Sun 10-Nov-13 19:37:37

We met DD's FC 5 weeks after placement (although she was much younger). I had thought it a little soon but we had an appointment near them so tied it in. As it was I was so pleased we did - it was good for DD and for them too.

We exchange photos often and meet up every few months. We talk about them often. I would definitely encourage some contact with them soon.

KristinaM Mon 11-Nov-13 09:14:01

" I worry that seeing them would confuse him......I worry he would want to go back to their house and it would be so painful for him to say goodbye to them again. "

Well it sounds like he's missing them dreadfully , if he's asking about them every day. And he DOES want to go back to their house , so that wouldn't make any difference. And it is obviously very painful for him now.

So if he's missing them very much , wants to see them and asks about them every day, why on earth wouldn't you let him? Of course he will cry when they leave, but it sounds like he's crying inside anyway, you said that he has been sad. And you said that you were planning to have them visit " in a few months", do you think it won't be painful for him to say goodbye then??

It's very difficult to make a new attachment and grieve a loss at the same time. This is why SW insist on a Gap of several years between losing a child and adopting . This is why there is so much emphasis in the home study on have done some grief work for bio children /infertility issues etc ( if relevant ).

If he is using all his energy grieving for his FCers, he won't be able to bond to you.

If it were me I would be trying to gradually change his relationship with his Foster carers from being his primary carers to being like a distant auntie that you see a few times a year . Not trying to go cold turkey .

Did you read the information about how children deal with grief? I think you have a very sad little boy there and you need to help him . You wrote in your thread title that your heart aches - that is how he is feeling inside. Not talking about his loss, making sure that you don't have to deal with him crying. Not letting him talk to or see the ones he loves so much - won't make these feelings go away. It will just encourage him to bury them, especially if he feels that you can't handle them. And believe me, that's the last thing you want to happen.

Ask the Fc to visit you. It reinforces that this is his home now. He can show them his room and toys etc . Yes he will cry when they leave, but that's better than crying in the inside every day :-(

Buster51 Mon 11-Nov-13 09:42:25

We have adopted a 4 year old boy, who lived with his foster carers for 2 1/2 year. He is very very attached to the mother figure. As a result it has had an effect on our relationship (my previous thread post adoption blues). 3 weeks into placement with us he doesn't ask for her as much as he did, but makes reference to her in conversatuon daily.

He seems to not want to get "fully close" or "attached" to me. His daddy is in the forces & has just gone back away, he initially asks for his foster carer, then his daddy, this is something I am finding quite difficult & to not get upset by (I have been very upset recently).

Does anyone have any advice on the above? We were advised not to allow him to see his foster carers for at least 3 month?? I don't think that will be a problem but it is trust with his new mummy

KristinaM Mon 11-Nov-13 17:04:13

Ok, imagine you were abducted by aliens and taken to another planet. A very nice planet, where you could have a beautiful new home , and live with loving aliens who would care for you. Would you have forgotten your home and family and have begun to attach to your new alien family after 3weeks?

What if they explained that they were your new forever family -would that make you feel better? Perhaps if you had more things in your new home, nicer food, more attention, a bedroom of your own? Would you be reassured to know that your chances of getting a good education and job in 20 years would be improved, now you lived on a new planet?

Would you be thinking about the aliens feelings? How hard it is for them? how much they wanted you?

How would you think and feel? What would help?

Thepoodoctor Mon 11-Nov-13 17:12:19

Hi Trinny

Just briefly to say that with my DD, who was also very attached to her FCs, we did meet up after about 6 weeks, and found it very beneficial. She was - of course - unsettled to a degree afterwards, but I think it really helped her to understand that they were still there and cared about her and for her to settle with us.

She has done very well since and as others have said, the FCs are an aunty type figure in the background.

It's very hard not to fear the relationship with FC, but if the child can quickly see the FCs supporting you, and know they are still there for the child as well, I think it is to the benefit of all.

Well done- it sounds like you're doing a fantastic job with him.

Thepoodoctor Mon 11-Nov-13 17:13:47

PS DD was knocking on 3 and had been with FCs from a tiny baby.

MissFenella Tue 12-Nov-13 09:08:35

We didn't hook up with the FC again despite FC asking for it from week 2. The reason we did not was because the FC had issues with letting go (culminating in a very bad handover experience) and I could not risk the girls wellbeing with someone I could not trust.

I do think its important that the FC make it clear to the children that it is OK for them to move on and to not feel guilt about moving on. That is what we would not get but if you can I think a meet or call could be worthwhile. How about 'bumping into' each other near a café and spending 30 mins together. That may be a less traumatic situation and easier for FC to leave?

KristinaM Tue 12-Nov-13 09:30:30

That's sounds very wise, miss fenella . I think it has to be about the child's needs, rather than the FC. Also you need a FC who is able to allow the child to move on ( however they are feeling ) and give the child permission to be happy in their new family

That's why I think it's better for the FC to visit the child in their new home. They can admire a new bedroom, toys, pets etc . If you " bump into " them in a park , the child will always be alert, wondering when you next might bump into them .

I think it should be open and planned ( obviously in an age appropriate way ) . So saying to a 5yo " let's tidy up this morning because x and y are coming here for coffee in an hour. You can show them your new bedroom /kitten /fire engine " . Not " they are coming in 10 days " .

Just my opinion of course

theDudesmummy Tue 12-Nov-13 09:36:50

I have no experience of adoption, but was really touched by this thread! My DS is 4 and has special needs (e is autistic) and he has been a very poor eater at some stages in his life, still not great. He was premature and small, and is still very thin so we do tend to worry and fuss when he does not eat. So I do understand a bit. You description of looking at your DH when your little boy was managing to eat is just what we have done/still do: when DS is actually tucking properly into a meal whoever is with him (if the other parent is not there) will shout out through the house "come and look, come and look"!

It will get better, I am sure.

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 12-Nov-13 21:36:53

Even though DD settled brilliantly with us, it was still incredibly beneficial for her to see her FC after about three months (agency guidelines were no sooner than that). They came to us for around two hours one afternoon (ie not over a meal time or some other "care giver"-y time) and played with her and told her they were pleased how well she was doing.

TrinnyandSatsuma Fri 15-Nov-13 17:05:46

Hi all,

Two weeks in now and I thought I'd update.

He's eating like a horse!

We talked at length to our social worker, and his, about contact with his foster carers, and are planning to see them briefly quite soon. It's obviously very unpredictable how he will react, but we want to do this to reassure him that they know where he is and are happy for him to be with us.

Thanks again for your input and support. I'm sure we will be back in the future with another thread asking for help!!

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 15-Nov-13 19:56:59

Lovely! Thanks for the update

KristinaM Sat 16-Nov-13 13:29:06

That's good news!

Italiangreyhound Sat 16-Nov-13 20:34:21

Hi all this is a very interesting thread to read as someone not yet matched, I am starting my own thread now about 'relationship with foster cares how to manage, research on transition etc' and would welcome any comments there but did not want to 'hijack' this one.

Trinny glad all is going better. I am not yet an adopter but am a parent and it seems to me life is up and down with kids! Some days better and some worse. So my only advice might be to keep a note of what works and how and to be able to use it in future. Not work works as in makes him not talk about foster carer or not not appear to get upset but what makes him able to talk about it in a better way, perhaps what allows him to grieve but in a way that is better for him. Sadly, I have no idea how this will work! I will be scanning this thread for guidence from one all!

It is here is anyone wants to advise me, please!

And I will keep reading Trinny and hoping all is well.

musickeepsmesane Sat 16-Nov-13 20:47:29

It is very important for kids to be 'given permission' to move on. Last birthday DS was unsure what he wanted, unsure of a party, wouldn't commit to anything. He had already had a birthday with us but it was not long after he arrived. I had a chat with him. Reminded him his previous carers wanted him to be happy. Half hour later he came through with his party list. He had a great day.

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