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moving a child on _ what do you adoptors need from us foster carers?

(24 Posts)
DwellsUndertheSink Sat 22-Mar-14 09:39:03

I'm shortly going to be moving one of my foster children on, and I'd love to hear from adoptors what you found useful/helpful _and what annoyed you. I want this to be a positive experience. I'd like New parents to feel they can call for a chat or advice, and I would love to hear how the lo is doing over the years without being intrusive...so what are your top tips and most useful ideas and what should I avoid?

Quoteunquote Sat 22-Mar-14 16:33:19

routines are good,

dinner, bath bed.

familiar systems that can be replicated in new home.

TeenAndTween Sat 22-Mar-14 16:48:04

Our FC was very experienced at moving on children. Ours were 7 and 2.
She told us what she would do for the first meeting:
- refer to us as Mummy and Daddy straight away.
- get DD1 to show us her photos (so that she would have to come and sit by us)
- go and make a cup of tea (so as to leave us alone with the girls)
'twas fab!

For the first few days she showed us how she did things and let us ask questions - eg we could see her rules for mealtimes etc.
Then she stepped back and let us do more and more of the care, whilst being supportive in the background.

She had a list of creams etc for DD2 and when to use them. She also had extras so we wouldn't need to sort prescriptions straight away.

She had a 'going out' bag with nappies etc for us to use the first couple of times before we had had a chance to get correct nappies etc.

The girls had loads of stuff and from day 2 we were carting it back to ours, so when they first came to visit ours they had a lot of their things already there.

Lists of routines eg meal times, and likes/dislikes of food is helpful.

Most of all she showed the girls they could trust us and she approved them coming to us.

wonderpants Sat 22-Mar-14 17:30:03

I have also been lurking around as a foster Carer about to move a very loved little one to an adoptive family. I want to do my absolute best to make this as easy as I can for her, and her new family. And if I completely honest, I want to charm them into staying in touch and just letting me know how she is doing! However, she is a baby, so not really old enough to understand the situation.

Polkadotpatty Sat 22-Mar-14 17:38:06

I am guessing a bit here, as not quite in the stage of meeting LO's foster family. I would love to know special moments you had (i.e. first words or equivalent) and when they happened. Little things only you know, because of all the time you spent with them, like is there a special game you play to distract during hairwashing grin? Anything that spooks them or seems to trigger specific behaviour. Nicknames if you use them.

You are doing an amazing thing.

Italiangreyhound Sat 22-Mar-14 18:05:27

Wonderful, I am so delighted to hear you say this DwellsUndertheSink

I am hopefully about to be mum to a gorgeous little boy and feel very nervous as his wonderful foster family have done an amazing job of caring for him - I am just hoping I will be up to the job!

I would love to stay in touch with them and I will make that clear, if that is what they want. I will try and be up front and make sure they know how grateful we are for the wonderful job they have done. I'll take them some photos of us (as DD won't meet them until introductions start). What else could I do to make them feel happy and valued?

What would help me would be to know if they will keep in touch. Also, I would love copies of photos (electronic) and video footage of him. To know what toys he will take home and what he will not, (most foster homes seem to have stuff that is the child's and then there is stuff that stays in the family home after the child will leave).

KristinaM Sat 22-Mar-14 18:20:34

Italian , the initiative to keep in touch has to be with the adopters, not the FC. But of course you need to ask them if they would like to hear from you and how .

Italiangreyhound Sat 22-Mar-14 18:36:17

Kristina can you explain a bit more about that? Are the foster carers 'entitled' to any update or any meeting? Do you mean adopters need to mention it first? I would just say whatever is best for the child, so would not meet up if negative for the child but would, ideally, like to keep in touch. This is based on the fact they have done a great job and seem to really care very much, which I am so grateful for!

NoIdeasForUsername Sun 23-Mar-14 01:44:53

What helped with my DC-
Routines. Bedtime, bath time, going to school (applicable for my DD and DS, maybe not your fc), getting up, birthday routines or traditions maybe.

Food. The foster carer of DD1 and DS wrote a basic food diary of the week (very simple) so I got an idea of the type of meals (and how picky they were!) and their likes and dislikes. Is there anything specific which appears to be important to your fc? Even if it's like supermarket own brand or not, or if there's a certain food they like to have when they're ill, or comfort food type things.

Shampoo, washing powder etc; brands for familiar smells/feel.

I bought DD1's duvet cover from their foster carer as apparently DD1 was very attached to it (hated when it was being washed type thing) and paid for a replacement. Is there a version of that for the dc?

Any vague interests. DS, for example, loved Chelsea FC, so we looked up a few players and when we found out he liked these sport card things, it meant that when we visited him, we could ask to see his collection and discuss them a bit, so we had a bit of common ground and it meant that instead of him focussing on us being new people, we could be bonding over something.

We also got told of their favourite games, their favourite ways of trying to get out of trouble (like any stories), the imaginary friend of DD1 (who she blamed things on), any information they might want to know about themselves when they were younger (funny stories etc;).

It's been six years since then, and the foster carer isn't a foster carer any more, but we are still in contact. We get birthday cards and presents, and we email them photos and so on. DD2 (a separate adoption) unfortunately the contact isn't so great, mainly because we didn't establish the sort of contact we wanted I think, although we still have some contact and have put in effort.

Buster51 Sun 23-Mar-14 07:11:56

The little ones diary which was kept would be useful, are FC able to provide this? I understand all have to keep one?

wonderpants Sun 23-Mar-14 08:20:00

Buster, we have to give them all back to the social worker to be stored for the child. They are a lovely record of day to day life though.

crazeekitty Sun 23-Mar-14 23:06:55

Turning my negatives with fc into positives...

Please give space (personal and literal) in your house for parents to spend time with their lo.

Please don't continue to send cards, letters, presents. Unless requested (covered above I think)

Please let the parents BE the parents. Fc overrode me more than once during intros with decisions I made for dd. Poor kid... I can still see her confused face.

Please lend or ask parents to provide suitcases for lo's things. The thought of those bloody black bin bags still brings tears to my eyes.

How lovely of you to ask. I wish our fc had had an ounce of your empathy.

PheasantPlucker Mon 24-Mar-14 12:31:45

Hi, things I didn't like about the way the FC behaved when we arrived to meet dd include referring to herself as mummy and her husband as daddy, and us as Mr and Mrs PheasantPlucker (well, our first names) It made us feel like imposters, and must have bee very confusing for dd.

I also remember a bathing incident. For some bizarre reason the FCs had towels made out of fleece. I have never seen them before and I've never known anyone else have them. They didn't work when it came to drying dd post bath. FC snapped, 'you'll need to do better than this - you'll need to be competent and safe at bathing.' We were really saddened by this, felt it was inappropriate, wanted to make a comment about their ridiculous towels but didn't feel able to do so for fear of rocking boats. Nor did we feel we could say that we were very able to bath infants, and had a birth child at home that we'd bathed safely for years.

We just wanted someone friendly, supportive and nice. We were beyond nervous - this lady seemed to go out of her way to make us more so. And some advice on routines etc.

As an aside, when we left she said, 'I'll expect you to stay in touch, most of my others do.' We sent one Christmas card (we took dd home in December) then stopped all contact for fear of the lady's disapproval and wrath. Which was sad all ways round.

OP you sound lovely for asking for tips, thanks for doing this.

KristinaM Mon 24-Mar-14 17:48:31

Don't show your disapproval of the Adoptive parents. What you think of their religion, family set up, job, home etc is not relevant. They are going to adopt the child whether you approve or not.

You only have an influence over two things -

how easy or hard you make the introductions and transition for LO
Whether or not you ever hear from the new family again

Give them time and space in your home during the introductions, especially for the first couple of days when they won't be taking the child out. Say

" I'll leave you to play with him while I get on with some housework "
" I wonder if you would like to take him out to play in the garden "
"I need to pop out to the shops. I'll be back about noon. He usually has toast and milk about 11, I'll show you where everything is . You can change his nappy here"

Then go.

I know it's temping to hang around to see that LO is ok with them and to check that they know what to do. But it's too late for that. And they will just get PO at you.

I know that it's really REALLY hard to move a child on, and especially so if you have young children or grandchildren yourselves. But please don't expect the adopters to think of your /your kids feelings. It's not that they are bad people. It's just that they are so very scared, nervous, excited themselves,they don't have the space to think of anything except themselves and their new child. I know it's not fair, but that's the reality .
If you /your kids are overwhelmed by the LO leaving, you need to get support from elsewhere, not from the AP.

KristinaM Mon 24-Mar-14 17:51:30

Kitty -I am shock at the kids belongings in bin bags. The agency I worked for had a absolute ban on this under any circumstances. AP need to bring suitcases and boxes. And items should be moved gradually if possible

KristinaM Mon 24-Mar-14 18:00:41

Please give the AP as many photos etc as you can. Download onto USB stick or similar. Don't rely on things being given via the SW. They are really bad for losing things.

I know of one who lost the letter from BM to child and all the baby photos etc. she took the whole file home to take to adoptive parents then left her job. Family were devastated.

BTW I am also shock at FCC who refers to herself as mummy. Very poor practice. I know that young children might use that name, especially if there are other children in house. But she should use her first name.

And pretty poor supervision too by SW not to have addressed this. They obviously have not prepared the child or the foster family for the adoption .

Italiangreyhound Mon 24-Mar-14 18:46:44

I thought about taking items home on separate days, gradually, so that it would not be overwhelming on last day.

I also wondered about borrowing cases from relatives or friends so that when we go on a weekend away or holiday the sight of the same cases used in moving do not scare him.

Thoughts??

cedar12 Mon 24-Mar-14 19:08:16

Definitely move the thing gradually. We took stuff home everyday so the first time ds came home during intros some of his toys were already in his room.
Ds foster carers had purchased ds two big holdall bags for his stuff. I think she could claim the money back, it was something the la insisted on. Our social worker said that all the children had proper bags for moving on.

crazeekitty Mon 24-Mar-14 19:09:54

Yes to borrowing cases Italian. Good idea.

I moved things in gradually but after placement date not everything had been sorted out by fc and the remaining items were unceremoniously dumped at my door in bin bags.

Anyway, I won't hijack the post moaning

Devora Mon 24-Mar-14 19:19:19

Ah yes, bin bags. We had SEVEN extra large binbags just full of toys! Including lots of stuff for the future, pictures for her wall etc. Most was stuff she hadn't had in her room at fc, so it felt wierd and controlling.

We also had the box of stuff from birth family first of all withheld for a year (to punish us for not agreeing contact on fc's terms) and then finally delivered in a damp tatty old box full of dead flies. Nothing was labelled so we didn't know who had given what. By contrast, gifts from fc's extended family came in a special wooden box with drawers, each beautifully wrapped and labelled. This felt disrespectful.

And we had:

- tantrums when I decided to meet with bm against fc's 'advice'
- treating my birth child with such hostility I had to arrange for her to go and stay with family
- deciding to take a 'last holiday' which ended on the morning we started introductions. We sat with the social worker on the doorstep, waiting for her to return (nearly an hour late). Poor dd arrived home tired and bewildered, really NOT the best way to meet your future forever family.

It was a bit horrific. And made worse by her telling me all through introductions about the awful APs who preceded us. (She was a very, very experienced fc.) She seemed to disapprove of them all, so I knew there was no way we would win her round.

I do think the keeping in touch thing is important, and I still send update emails (only yearly now, though). I've never had a reply.

Sorry to write such a negative post. It was a really bad experience for us, as you can tell, and I'm still working it through my system! But I know this is NOT the norm and I wouldn't want prospective adopters on here to think that it is. Also, my usual caveat: she was a fantastic fc to my little girl. In those early months, when dd was still recovering from her traumatic start to life, it was that fc - not me - who carried her everywhere, comforted her, walked her up and down all through the night. So even though she was a mare, I owe her more than I can ever repay.

Devora Mon 24-Mar-14 19:19:52

You call that moaning, crazeekitty? Look at my post - THAT'S a moan grin

KristinaM Mon 24-Mar-14 20:34:20

Devora -you are a very understanding person and more gracious than I would be in the circumstances angry

Maiyakat Mon 24-Mar-14 21:17:48

DD's foster carers were fantastic. They were so hospitable, made me very welcome in their home and encouraged me to take the lead in DD's care from the beginning.
Other helpful things:
- a photo album from DD's time with them
- ordered extra of DD's prescription items so I had plenty to use until she was registered with my GP
- gave toys to take to mine so their were familiar items when DD first visited

Things that would have been nice:
- to offer to take a photo of DD and I together on 1st day of intros (obviously depending on the child)
- remembering to tell me DD was very picky about the type of dummy she had!

But these are very small things, I am so grateful for the care they gave DD and the way they supported us through intros despite it being such a difficult time for them

crazeekitty Mon 24-Mar-14 21:19:05

Oh Devora, I feel your pain. The nickname dd has for fc isn't repeatable and I do correct her when she calls fc that name but it's actually rather accurate.

Sadly, fc didn't provide the care your one did.

I want to add so many more things.. please don't send lo home with clothes smelling of fags. Please don't send lo home with clothes stained with sick and urine. Please don't tell lo his /her new parents won't love her if s/he has tantrums. please don't tell lo they are irritating.

But most of all please just tell the new family you are happy for them and then leave them to be a family on their own terms. Which I'm sure the op will because op is clearly a nice person who wants to do the best.

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