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Introductions - your practical advices and reminiscences, please(14 Posts)
Introductions - your practical advices and reminiscences, please!
Anything at all you are willing to share, please.
Our Intros went really well and the transition for LO was smooth (as it could be).
Retrospectively, I regret that we were thrown straight in and took over most care straight away. I would have preferred for us to have had a couple of days watching FC in action before taking over and as a result we really didn't have a clear idea about what LO eat and the answer to questions about food was always he'll try anything......
The good bit was the FC felt strongly that we should as much time there as possible so LO absolutely knew us before he left, it was very child led, he could cope with it and that worked for us. Not every child would be able to do this.
Good luck. Mustn't be long now xxx
Be prepared to be tired beyond the most tired you have been. We travelled about 1.5 hours a day. By day 4 we could barely speak. Have meals planned/take out!
Make the most of a day off if it's planned for. Initially we saw that as a wasted day on the plan. It was much needed.
Ask questions. No question is stupid. Make sure you have as much information as you can get. Our DD came "with instructions" which meant we had a routine laid out for us.
Speak with the FC about how it is going on an ongoing basis. We amended our intros week with the blessing of the FC in order to shorten it, as another of their FC was bonding with us. Constant communication is key.
Ask the FC what they want on the final day. It's really hard for everyone, but especially them. We spoke to our wonderful FC a couple of days before, and had a plan to make it easier on them and DD.
Be really kind to yourself. It was the most emotional, roller coaster, amazing week of our lives
Think through how you will ensure dd is properly taken care of. She will be part of the introductions, but it can be a real strain taking care of an existing child within the family and the new child. You may want a Plan B - I think I've told you that our introductions went badly (fc took us against our dd1 Big Stylee) and ended up sending her to my brother's.
And yes, you'll be tired tired tired. Plan for that
I am a FC probably at around the same stage as you!
It is funny how we worry about the same things. For me communication is key. If you want something- ask! I will bend over backwards for our AP, but I'm not a mind reader. Keep lines of communication open afterwards too. The stuff you weren't sure about once home, a quick email/ text/ call might answer. I would be really upset to think they felt I'd not done something, when really, they just hadn't asked!
Again, challenge the social workers, work together with them and the FC to make the best plan for your DS but also your DD. The plan might not be the standard.
Such exciting times for us all
As others have said, it's very tiring, emotionally and physically. I had a stinking cold by the end of our introductions, and so did our son!
Don't put yourself under any pressure. You might enjoy the time, you might find it stressful.
Personally, my advice would be to have a plan for once he moves in. We had a very structured plan for the period of introductions, then move in day, and then a big void of no plans. Our son found that very very hard. We soon learnt that we needed to have a little bit of structure in the days beyond move in day. He found that reassuring and helped us adjust too. I might not have explained that very well, but I hope it makes sense. All our focus was on the introduction plan and we forgot to think about afterwards.
You may find yourself inundated with friends and family wanting updates on how intros are going. Which is lovely, but a bit overwhelming when you're exhausted at the end of the day! I set up a password protected blog which I updated each evening, or you could send a group e-mail or text. (And update us of course! )
My advice would be:
- Look after yourself! You will be very tired and emotional, but you can prepare a bit. Both in introductions and when your LO comes home, if you can prepare meals in advance it's helpful. I would make a big batch of food, say a massive (easy to make) load of pasta sauce, and then for the next 3 days, all I had to do was reheat it. Packet meals are good also!
- Completely agree that a plan for the first week following intros will be helpful
- Communicate with the SW and FC, let them know how it's going from your perspective and listen to the FC, try and follow their lead as long as it's sensible (I mean, I know Devora and others have had bad experiences with FC's but for the most part, unless you're in such a situation, the FC knows the child best and can let you know how it's going). I'd ask the FC to let you know if LO is struggling after you leave - intros is very stressful for the child and it's not uncommon for them to hold it together really well while new mummy and daddy are there and then as soon as they leave, there's fallout for the FC. If LO struggles in intros when you aren't there and you know about it, you are more prepared for after they come home. On the other hand things may go very well, which is also usful to know about!
- Keep things low key with LO, avoid lots of stimulation etc
I wrote this with older children in mind (like 6+), if your LO is 4 (?) on intros then some of this will apply - lastmother.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/adopting-the-older-child-2-introductions/
wonderpants thank you, I am really a bit in awe of foster carers, you do an amazing job. Our are top people.
Trinnyandsatsuma. Lilka and Maiyakat thanks so much. All good advice.
As introductions progress talk to the foster carer about keeping in touch after placement. It's nearly 9 years since our first 3 children came home and we still send their foster carer Christmas cards and meet up occasionally, maybe once a year. The children really enjoy this and it seems to be an important part of their story.
Don't worry if you go away from the first meeting underwhelmed.
People talk about it as if it will be magical, gushing feelings of love etc, but it may not be like that. For me, love took time to grow, especially with DD1.
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