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About to start introductions... advice please!(18 Posts)
Surprisingly new to MN, but absorbed in last few days with advice I wish I'd read ages ago!!
We have a 4yo BS and are about to adopt a 15month old boy. Beside ourselves with excitement, scared about how he'll manage the upheaval from a really lovely foster home, and desperately wanting to do everything as well as we can. Can I have some words of wisdom from those who have had the same sleepless nights during the long wait for the ball to start rolling...
My AS marched in the room the first time he visited my house as part of intros as if he owned the place (23 months) and never batted an eyelid! I was so worried about how much of an upheaval it would be for him and he couldn't understand what all the fuss was about!
Try not to over think/stress about it (near impossible I know!) get yourself prepped so have some dinners in the freezer for u all, catch up on whatever house work and laundry you have because your feet won't touch the ground the next few weeks! Above all enjoy it, those first few weeks are so special as you learn so much about each other just try to enjoy it, both the good and bad!
Congrats by the way!
Hi there, we are 10 days into placement of our 18 month old daughter with an 8 year old BS.
Just get prepped for intros to be the most emotionally and physically exhausting time ever. Make sure your house is sorted and you have food in. There is no energy at the end of the day to deal with that stuff.
The first 4 days of placement were hellish. It was like we had brought a different child home, the intense grief she experienced for the FC was awful to watch, so many tears, Screaming and she was unable to get any comfort from her. Our son frequently bailed out to friends houses to get away.
Things gave settled quite quickly and at tge moment she is gorgeous, DS loves her and we have no regrets.
Good luck, just try and keep your eyes on the prize.
We have children around the same ages as yours. Have plenty of stuff for older child to do - maybe a tablet or similar for tv during grown-ups meetings (this is one week where anything goes re tv time, food etc)
Be prepared that this might not be the idyllic time you have been hoping for. You may not agree with fcs on everything
anything Just focus on lo but I'd also recommend that you make sure you leave a paper trail if things do start to become fraught at all.
Our intros were just awful! If I had to advise me I'd say just get through it and remember that the real work starts once it's over.
Mrscollydog - I have just been reading your posts on other thread (after posting mine.) I've realised I've been naive about the spectrum of things that could happen and very glad of your openess and honesty. It is really moving hearing step by step what you have gone through, what a roller coaster and so inspiring how you have all managed to soldier on. I'll continue to hang on your posts...Very hard to reconcile your own feelings, when you know your LO must be struggling all the more, and not knowing how to help, or worse knowing at that moment that you can't 'help'.
Very good idea for some things for DS to do, wanted him to be involved but suspect he'll get bored/ frustrated at disruption. Have just got him a kindle as we don't have a tele. Didn't want him to feel palmed off on other people but will try and think of something very appealing for him. Narnia pockets - how many visits did First child do with you during intros? Was it just what SW told you to do? Would you change it?
Mintlizzy - lovely to hear other end of spectrum too! Amazing at 2 to just take all that in his stride - that would be such a relief. Anyway 'prepared' for all possible reactions. Rules already prepped for breaking (as soon as foster carers told us their weekly meal planner); think BS more excited about job lot of cocoa pops and Ribena than getting a brother...
Thanks for your time
Narnia - what do you mean by paper trail? Are there particular things I should be noting down??
Search for introductions threads here, there's thousands.
My own top tip is to pump the FCs for info. We found out so much more from drinking tea with them once DC were in bed than we did from all paperwork/previous meetings.
I suppose I mean that if you disagree about stuff it might just be one incident or it might be the start of something else. It took us a while to recognise how very hostile intros were becoming and in retrospect if we had realised we could have protected ourselves better. So if, for e.g. you had had a discussion about how to feed lo you could either email yourself or sw (depending on how well you get on) to say 'we offered to feed dc on day 4 but fc became upset by this idea and so we defered to her as dc's main carer'.
That might seem unnecessary and I'm sure in 90% of cases it is but for us it would have avoided a lot of shit. Not all fcs are professional, not all keep the lo's interests at the forefront and sws love proof of stuff.
I wouldn't change frequency at all. I think we went to her four times and she came here twice.
Our los transition from FC to us was unbelievably smooth. Fc just wanted us to spend as much time as possible with LO during intros and for LO, that was the right thing to do. It wouldn't work for all lo's.
Expect the unexpected and even if you don't agree with the food FC prepares, stick with it for the time being, LO will be dealing with enough without strange foods as well.
If I could go back in time to intros, I would definitely buy zillions of readymeals or batch cook stuff (if I could actually cook, which I can't...). Eating was really weird - hungry at strange times or just not hungry at all then ravenous at 2 in the morning.
It's an intense time with massive highs and lows. Enjoy!
To clarify, food was just an example alljam - and of course you should do what is best for lo which will usually be sticking to what they are used to.
The point I'm making is that if you sense that things aren't going well try to see it as soon as possible and be proactive in ensuring that sws understand what is going on. Intros are stressful for everyone and not everyone handles stress well - our fcs couldn't do it at all and made life very difficult for us and dc. We were VERY lucky that we happened to have a sw who spotted what was happening.
I think that's fairly unusual but not THAT rare. There are at least two other regular posters here who have similar stories.
Our intros were very stressful for all concerned. I'll not go into details as every situation is different and me having a rant won't help you! (and DCs were a lot older).
Don't assume that how the FC has been doing things is in any way how you need to continue. Trust your instincts and start parenting in your way as soon as you all get home. We carried forward various 'methods' (on advice) and they were exactly the wrong things to do!
This might sound horribly cynical, but also don't particularly believe every detail the FC tells you - as a small example, we could have avoided many arguments about teeth brushing if we had worked from the assumption that our 2 hadn't been habitually brushing morning and night - we could have had a different approach from the start.
Oh gosh yes biffa - ours lied too. About everything, all the time.
I agree about going with your instincts. Our foster carer was wonderful so no lies or sinister stuff. We followed the training principles of consistency to the letter and replicated everything the fc did. But what the prep forgets to tell you is - everything is already off kilter for the little one by virtue of a new house, carers, name etc. When we relaxed certain areas and made it work for all of us, things settled much quicker. We let certain things that caused stress drop for a while and things naturally moved on into new slots. I would say that the physical similarities of clothes and toys helped but keeping routines identical didn't. It seemed to reinforce to little one that he was in a strange place. So if your child hates having his face washed for example, leave it be and manage with what he will allow. don't worry if he looks like an urchin for a few weeks - you can pick up routines again later.
The MOST important thing is building the bond initially and allowing attachments to form.
Very grateful for everyone's honesty and advice. I got a very good vibe from FC so hoping they guide us.
Will stock up on quick meals etc, hadn't even thought about the times not at FC being any different to normal, but of course it will be.
I'm still waiting to see schedule of introductions and I'm curious about how often and from when our son will be involved. Hoping it is for the majority...
Really appreciate everyone's time - thank you
Sorry for not adding to this sooner. Been busy with our little dot. Our BS was not involved until day 5 of intros (2 weeks in total). We had 4 days of just us so had to deploy the grandparents to help us out. The next part happened at our house so he was there.
I am sure my initial posts about our first few days weren't helpful. It was dreadfully hard and the child we had wasn't the chd we had spent 2 weeks with during intros. Felt unprepared for the intense grief and BS found it terribly upsetting. Having somewhere for him to go to escape from it was v important (neighbours, school friends, upstairs with an iPad). It just felt like a car crash, SS were unreachable for support and i felt like we had made a terrible mistake. Disruption felt like it would be the easy option, but not a real option.
Things are infinitely better, the bond between us all is getting stronger everyday. Our happy little girlie is back and at the moment I am loving it.
Good luck! X
Mrs colly dog - I'm please to hear that things are going better for you all . But please don't feel that your posts weren't helpful - as long as it helped you at the time ( even by just getting to vent in a safe place ) then that's fine.
We don't have to be positive all the time, or pretend that everything is easy . You posted real feelings from the heart and I'm sure it will be a huge help to others who go through difficult times.
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