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Issues with intros

(28 Posts)
Kazza299 Fri 31-Oct-14 10:48:02

Due to go to matching panel in a couple of weeks but there is a possible delay in intros. The issues are that a) childrens SW been on holiday not had last contact yet and haven't started moving on work b) christmas is impending. Our initial feelings were that we should wait until after christmas so as all the moving on work can be done properly but we have since found out that the fc is moving house just before christmas. Our SW thinks we should let chn move and then move again to ours after christmas as they won't be leaving their home as it were. We think that it will make things harder as they will be moving as part of fc family then suddenly moving again just as get settled. We think it would be best to move at the same time so chn can see everyone moving on, regardless of christmas because it's not the be all and end all. And surely moving on work over christmas when chn are high as kites won't be helpful either.
Chn are 4 and 6. What are your thoughts?

Italiangreyhound Fri 31-Oct-14 11:09:27

My thoughts are you are pretty much right but I would say as soon as matching panel has happened you should be getting going on introductions. It is a shame matching panel cannot be brought forward a week or so and things move quickly after that.

Presumably the children know this is foster family is not their forever family and so already know they will be moving on one day.

My ds was just over 3 and a half when he first heard about us and a couple of weeks later when he moved. He did not have final contact with birth parents until after matching panel.

We sent a DVD, a book of photos and a snuggly before we met him and in the space of less then two weeks the family finder was able to do a brilliant job of preparing him to meet us.

Be aware that the introductions will be in the foster carers house etc so my personal feeling would be to do this as soon as is reasonable, e.g. not waiting until the foster carer is just about to move and their home is surrounded by boxes of packed up stuff!

I am sure it will all be quite emotional and hard for foster carer as well but I cannot see how it is at all in the best interests of these young children to wait.

Good luck, whatever happens I would imagine it will work out but I agree you are talking sense in this situation. It will be so confusing for the children to move twice in such a short time.

At the end of the day you can only make your feelings known, politely, not being too aggressive (even if you feel like it, I know I would wink).

scarlet5tyger Sat 01-Nov-14 23:09:07

The thing that's really jumped out at me from your post is that children have not had last contact yet. There is likely to be a huge fallout from that and the children will need time to come to terms with it - with people they know and are comfortable with. I'm a foster carer and have done plenty of goodbye contacts and even babies struggle.

Another massive issue is that moving on work hasn't been started. To give you some idea, one of the children I currently foster is 6. Her placement order was granted in July and moving on work began in August. She had final contact in September. She isn't expected to be ready to move to her new parents until Jan/Feb at the earliest.

It's not just a case of a family finder doing a good job of preparing a child to meet you - there is (or should be) weeks, usually months, of work on why the child is leaving their birth family, leaving their foster family, leaving all their friends and teachers etc... It is vitally important to get it right.

As for Christmas, I personally would never move a child at Christmas. Apart from the fact that they will then always associate Christmas with the trauma (and it is a trauma) of moving, there will also be limited support around for both the child, their foster carers and yourselves as SWs are very thin on the ground around December.

Whatever decision is made it needs to be finalised soon. Christmas is only just over 7 weeks away.

Italiangreyhound Sun 02-Nov-14 02:08:24

That is very interesting scarlet5tyger our son had his last contact with birth parents after matching panel and met us two weeks after matching panel. He had been in foster care a year. I had assumed things always worked this way but obviously there are different in different circumstances.

Kazza299 my thoughts on your situation were based on my experiences, obviously things can be done differently so it is best to take advice from those in your situation. I hope it works out and whatever happens I wish you all the very best with your children once they are finally home.

silverlinings79 Sun 02-Nov-14 07:29:36

We too had ours having contact with BP's after matching panel and intros two weeks later. When we raised the issue of 'that all seems a lot', we were told that the courts do not want children having a goodbye contact until they have got adoptive parents confirmed and it is also better to get them placed as soon as possible, so this is what happens with all their children. I guess maybe different LA's have different ways of doing things. But their one exception to this is not placing children in December due to Christmas and the impact that move will have on their future view of Christmas after the adoption. All the moving house stuff though? I don't know, but I do believe there is no harm in asking questions, although ultimately I'd go with their advice after that, because in my limited experience so far they have hit the nail on the head each time!
I have been truly amazed at how adaptable children can be to be honest, I dont think I would fair aswell in same moving situation at my age. Ours also had a week's respite care prior to panel and I thought, well this is going to be massively disruptive and maybe they'll see us as just another move to respite but it had little impact, if anything it helped, so the move maybe ok smile Good luck x

silverlinings79 Sun 02-Nov-14 07:31:23

*sorry, goodbye contact one week after, intros 2 weeks after last contact.

Hels20 Sun 02-Nov-14 09:20:37

Push push push for an earlier introduction. I think the "last contact" is a bit of a red herring. DS (nearly 2.5 yrs when he came to us) had last contact 2 weeks before he met us - although v much depends, I suppose, on when they last lived with BPs and what background is like. DS probably didn't remember much of his BPs.

The thing that strikes me as crazy is that they Are willing for the children to move house whilst at FCs. What does your SW say?

Threesocksnohairbrush Sun 02-Nov-14 09:41:07

Oh dear - I think with those ages there is a set of complex decisions to be taken and possibly no right answer, but id be pushing for SWs to think through those decisions quickly.

Moving at Christmas is problematic - in fact our DS came to us just after Christmas and christmas was a difficult time for some years. So sooner rather than later for that factor.

Moving house just before intros does sound like a crazy plan. It's a big disruption for any child and lots of reassurances required re continuity, here is your new room, friends, etc etc. you don't want to do that and then shift them again. Would the six year old have to attend a new school?

Final contacts and moving on work. Both ours were toddlers and the amount you can do is limited - even it you talk beforehand they don't really tumble to the reality until they're living with you. A six year old I would think has more chance of understanding what adoption means and what's happening to them, so I can see the value of this being done. But what is actually planned - detailed work with someone who knows the child well or a bit of a random chat with an adoption social worker?

Either way a lot of the work around understanding what's happened to them and why will be done with you after placement! How long have they been with these FCs - that may be significant. If it's been a long term placement, more argument that the moving on work must be done within that context, if fairly short term could the life story work be done with you at some stage?

It's very difficult. I think in your shoes id be expressing my worries around the move and probably pushing for earlier intros, but with a plan for a lot of support post move and early contact with the foster family. Or any chance FCs could delay their house move if it's council housing?

Good luck!

Kazza299 Sun 02-Nov-14 09:47:19

Thanks for all your thoughts. Has confirmed that we are in quite a situation! They have been at fc for 2 years. Unfortunately their SW has left so SW doing moving on work doesn't know them.
I know I'm going to have to see what the 'professionals' say tomorrow but, as you are all well aware, nothing happens if you dont push for it.

Hels20 Sun 02-Nov-14 10:01:28

I think Christmas is a red herring, too. Our DS moved in close to Christmas (and I have friends whose little one moved in 10 days before Christmas). We all had v quiet Christmas's though I appreciate our children were younger.

Going forward, your children might view you as their best ever Christmas. (I am a bit suspect about trying to preserve Christmas as you have no idea what is round the corner...when I was young, my friend's Dad died on Boxing Day and my own sister died on Christmas Eve).

scarlet5tyger Sun 02-Nov-14 18:33:18

Hasn't the FC done any of the moving on prep? I know I've been drip feeding to my FC for months.

Out of all the children I've moved on (well into double figures) I can't think of ANY who didn't have a problem with Christmas. For (most - and all of mine) foster children Christmas simply isn't the John Lewis Christmas most children experience - it's a time of huge anxiety, alcohol fuelled domestic violence, presents given then sold a couple of weeks later, strangers in the house... I could go on all night.

I can't imagine anyone wanting a child to go through the stress of this in yet another strange house with people they don't yet know. (I know lots of kids come into foster care at this time of year. It's horrendous. The most traumatised child I've dealt with arrived at Christmas and the next year began playing up in September when the first Christmas advertising came out).

I know the moving house thing is a problem - I've been there too. That baby's move was put back by two months to accommodate, and he was given longer intros. (Ps, if someone had asked me to delay my house move I'm afraid I'd refuse outright. Foster carers already put a HUGE amount of our lives behind the needs of our foster children but the stress of buying and moving to a new house is bad enough already without being asked to delay it.)

Italiangreyhound Sun 02-Nov-14 22:31:47

Hels I am so sorry to hear about your sister.

Kazza299 Mon 03-Nov-14 21:02:04

Well decision at lunchtime was to wait until mid January. Decision this afternoon is intros in 3 weeks. Such a roller coaster of emotions. I have no idea what is best so just have to trust what they think and go with it! Eek!!

Italiangreyhound Tue 04-Nov-14 00:08:00

Wow, great news.

Good luck.

If you need any advice on stuff post specific questions here and we will do all we can to help. I am no expert but I think sooner is better and I hope they are right too. Just keep Christmas not too over the top and ask experienced adopters for advice (I am not one, I am a newbie). But for what it is worth I know I was told by various people that the things we did before we met our son were helpful. E.G. talking photo book and dvd about us, a snugly as a gift, helped to prepare our son for knowing about us and maybe that we knew him. He certainly listened to the book and watched the DVD a lot!

scarlet5tyger Tue 04-Nov-14 09:28:42

Sorry I'm confused - do you mean there were 2 decisions made, one to wait and then one for an earlier move? Or that the decision was for long intros to begin in 3 weeks with their actual move taking place mid January?

I've already gone on about my dislike for Christmas moves so won't go over that again. If it IS the case that your 6 year old is to begin intros in 3 weeks (and presumably therefore move to you 2-3 weeks before Christmas) please, please make sure his school are aware. The last few weeks of the school term will be hugely dominated by Christmas talk - my school has parties, a disco, a panto, a Christmas meal, a nativity and a trip to Santa's grotto which my 6 year kid is already looking forward to. I can't imagine his disappointment if he was told in three weeks time that he could no longer do any of them.

You also need to get it in writing that there will be support available to you over the Christmas period.

scarlet5tyger Tue 04-Nov-14 09:32:20

Sorry, realised I posted without wishing you good luck at panel!!

(Ps feel free to pm me if you have any questions from a foster carers point of view. I'm no expert either but have moved on lots of children and have a 6 year old almost ready to move too - no 4 year old here though smile )

Kazza299 Tue 04-Nov-14 18:04:59

Thank you scarlet yes 2 decisions were made that contradicted each other. 1st was to wait as would be better for boys - I agree. But then was called an hour or so later to be told change of plan they are starting intros in 3 weeks.
This is because the FC, unlike yourself, is not really doing the best job. She is bigging up the move to the boys apparently saying that it will be great when we all move to our new home etc. she is inexperienced and these are her first chn to move after having them 2 years. I am sure it will be very hard for her. Our SW doesn't really agree but that's how it now I think, though could no doubt all change again! But he is very 'on' the support side. They are from out of county so he want to make sure it doesn't all fall on him I guess!
I have met his current teachers who did seem quite on the ball and very interested. I agree that they need to know ASAP. What do you think about starting new school? Was thinking best to wait till after christmas as so many new things?

scarlet5tyger Tue 04-Nov-14 19:40:37

I thought that's what you meant, just wanted to check smile

Definitely wait until after Christmas for new school - if possible see if your SW can delay their start for a few weeks after Christmas too. The more time they can spend with just your family the better at first. I don't get a choice with school age children (and they don't usually need a new school either) but I always fight to keep pre-school children out of nursery for at least their first 6 months with me.

Have you met foster carer yet? I always meet prospective adopters right at the beginning of linking - gives everyone chance to ask initial questions and also opens up lines of communication. If intros begin in 3 weeks she really does need to be starting to let go of the boys, for her sanity as well as theirs.

Kazza299 Tue 04-Nov-14 21:19:24

Met her at information sharing meeting. She was very tearful. Got the impression she was taking it quite personally as she didn't say anything negative. They were perfect. I do feel for her, but it can't help worrying about the impact she will have on them. Will def push not to go to school too quickly then. Thanks

Italiangreyhound Tue 04-Nov-14 23:39:24

Oh Kazza, it is such a complicated time and I can see all the pluses and minuses on both sides but as the adoptive parents I think you just have to go with the flow of what experts say. For what it is worth i also feel the healing and new family building can begin when they come to you and if that were delayed it may not be good but I can see how this will be hard for all.

It seems sad the foster carer may not be able to distinguish her needs from their needs but after 2 years I can see how totally wrapped up they may be in each other.

I was so lucky our little one had a fabulous foster carer and he adored her. For months he talked about her a lot! At night after his story I would say what do you want to talk about and it was often say Foster carer 'Betty' (for want of another name!). Gradually that relationship changed and after just a couple of months he felt totally connected to me (as the comfort giver) and to our family. It is an ongoing thing; it ebbs and flows. I feel that he knows me and being with foster carer (we have met up three times now) he clearly feels connected to me. Although Betty is a special person she is moving into his past. I guess I am saying this because he too had a long time in foster care, over a year, and I feel the longer in foster care the more the child can bond to foster carer, so the fact they are coming to you sooner rather than later is probably not a bad thing.

Definitely delay school as long as you can, under 5 do not need to be there yet.

Kazza299 Tue 11-Nov-14 00:00:27

After a busy week rushing around getting bedrooms ready, sorting christmas present etc we are told today that it has once again been postponed until after christmas, basically because they've still not sorted last contact, but more to the point there is no one willing to come to visit us in the weeks following over christmas. (2 hours away) they keep telling me this in the children's best interests, but only, as far as I can see, because they haven't done what they said they would!!!
We are still going to panel next week and they are saying they will introduce us, through our book once ratified w/c 24th nov. This seems madness to me as we won't meet them for another 7 weeks! Surely that's not going to be good for them?

Italiangreyhound Tue 11-Nov-14 00:09:48

Kazza so sorry, this is obviously very disappointing for you.

The trouble is you may just have to roll with it all (IMHO) there may be nothing you can do. The children will be with you soon enough and you can start your new lives together when that happens. I know it is very disappointing but I am hopeful your children will adjust to it all. There were some pros and cons in terms of when the move happened and although I did think sooner rather than later we are so close to Christmas now I wonder if it will make such a big difference.

All the best.

scarlet5tyger Sat 15-Nov-14 14:08:25

Kazza, I'm sorry for your disappointment too but in a way relieved too - i struggle to get a SW to visit me, 15 minutes from our local office, at Christmas so your chances of support 2 hours away were always going to be slim! And there are a number of visits that are required around and after placement.

I also thought of your prospective 6 year old this week when my LOs class were given their roles in the nativity. He'd have been gutted to miss out on this because of his impending move and (in his case at least) the blame would have been put squarely on the shoulders of his prospective new family!

Will the children really be shown your intro book if they've not yet had any moving on work done? That sounds quite damaging. Hopefully work has begun in earnest now though. If it helps, I usually show my foslings their intro books (I usually ask for a DVD as well) about 2 weeks before intros begin, if not less. Little ones only really understand "now" so once they've been shown your faces they'll be looking for you every time the doorbell rings! Are you allowed to pass on something with your smell on? That would subconsciously get part of you across to them without them even knowing.

Hope you manage to relax a little at least now.

Italiangreyhound Sat 15-Nov-14 22:54:56

Kazza we bought a blanket with our son's name and date of birth on it, and a favourite TV character. I slept with it in the bed with me for about a week and then gave it to the social worker who passed it on to the foster carer.

Good luck.

Kazza299 Sun 16-Nov-14 00:53:13

Oh scarlet fostling- soooo gorgeous.
Yes am feeling more relaxed now and have definitely thought lots about the school stuff too after you said. I am a teacher so am well aware of the madness of christmas at school.

I am still concerned about when they will introduce us as 2 weeks before will be christmas day!! They say they will work with them up until the 20th then again on the 5th and intros start on the 8th. I guess I have to just trust them. We have panel Monday and intros planning afterwards so will air my concerns and see what they say.

Thanks for all the advice. This is a truly marvellous forum x x

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