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What's best practice with introducing grandparents, etc?

(29 Posts)
Rainatnight Sun 15-Jan-17 17:46:08

We start intros with our 7 month old LO next month. By the time she actually comes home, she'll be more like 8 months.

As you can imagine, grandparents (esp on my side, where she is the first) are desperate to see her.

They don't live in this country so would have to come for a weekend, though wouldn't stay with us, and would completely understand only coming for short visits.

I want to put her best interests first and fend them off until the right time.

So my question is - what's the right time? And does anyone have any links to good research or anything on this? (That would play very well with my DM wink)

I also know that when they do visit, we'd still be funnelling, so very happy with all that. Just don't know when it's OK for them to come...

Thanks very much

luckylucky24 Sun 15-Jan-17 18:02:37

Ideally they should be waiting at least a month before visiting preferably longer depending on how the baby is coping.

donquixotedelamancha Sun 15-Jan-17 18:54:01

Both of the babies we adopted (similar ages to yours) are very sociable and happy and so met family very quickly. In fact one went to a big family party on the last day of intros. Some SWs talk as if funneling is the same for a 9 month old as it is for a 2 year old, it isn't.

Not meeting lots of people early is more important if the child is older, or if there is reason to think they might have attachment problems. What is important is that you (both) exclusively do the care- changing nappies, feeding, comforting- for the first few months.

Trust your instinct about when to allow people to see them- each child is different.

delilabell Sun 15-Jan-17 21:01:06

Although we can all give advice ultimately it'll be down to how your baby is dealing with things.
Our ds was 20 months old when he came home. He came from a big bustling foster family. I think he felt quite lonely with us. It was so right for him to be mixing especially with people he was going to be spending time with.
Do they need to book far in advance? Or could you let them know what's best once you've net your baby?

Pebbles17 Mon 16-Jan-17 09:29:47

Our little girl was 9 months when she came home. She met her Nanny 2 days after moving in. She was a high needs baby and it was felt I would need some support early on.

It took at least 4/6 weeks for her to stop having night time reactions from Nanny visiting and having physical contact and we have only been able to treat her like a ' normal ' baby 3 months in and this was with short (around 30 min) visits every other day.

Every child is different but do not think just because they are very young that they will be totally fine meeting new people because ours certainly wasn't

bostonkremekrazy Mon 16-Jan-17 12:15:45

Our 5.5 month old came from the busiest fc family i could ever imagine into our busy family - baby is our 5th. 4 weeks in and baby is out and about as normal...met my family within a few days, school run after a week etc - i would not get anything done if we hid for a month!
We dont allow anyone to feed or change baby, and use a sling to minimise people trying to pick babe up, apart from that we'be had to carry on as normal. Babe so far is happy and content.
We have 2 with severe attachment issues so we are no blind to the problems that can arise, but as pp said a baby and funneli g is very different to a 2 yr old etc.
Every child is different and you will need to decide what is right for that baby and for you.

Rainatnight Mon 16-Jan-17 12:18:39

That's really helpful, thanks so much, everyone.

Baby is in a slightly but not hugely busy FC placement at the moment. We've met her just once so far and from what we can tell, and what her FC says, she seems very sociable and likes to be around people.

But we don't know yet of course how she's going to respond to the transition.

It's really helpful to hear some views that it's different from an older child. I hadn't appreciated that.

Stevemcqueenlikesbeans Mon 16-Jan-17 13:29:00

Our AD was 9 months when she came home to us. We waited 8 weeks and met Grandparents (who live 3hrs drive away) at some National Trust gardens near to us, went for picnic etc but had briefed them beforehand.

We made it a short trip, a couple of hours and kept it very low key. Yes it feels unnatural but I'm sure that we did the right thing. Did similar with other set of GP's a couple of weeks later.

She has a great relationship with them, but we believe it's because we took it slowly at her pace rather than keen GP's. I think you'll know instinctively when/where feels right.

Good luck and congratulations!

fasparent Mon 16-Jan-17 15:09:59

All are different, for baby can be sooner, grandparents not forgetting often are part of the family support network. some of ours have met during intro's as nana lived in.
All are very different.

Italiangreyhound Tue 17-Jan-17 21:01:34

Congratulations and good luck.

Our son was three so a quite different situation.

BUT please do read this and be aware it is all new for baby and so go easy (although this is probably meant to be about overseas adoption for a young baby, pre-verbal, some of the issues will be relevant).

I'm posting it to show you one way to think from baby's perspective not from the perspective of ourselves as parents or your own parents as grandparents) . I must also confess I often fail to see things from my son's perspective! He is 6 and has been with us for almost three years. He has adjusted well. But we are conscious what a big thing adoption is

I wonder if the danger can be for some that a small baby just looks as if there are no issues, or worries, as if this is all just normal etc. So just be aware others may find it hard to respect your worries and may not want to respect your wishes not to hold the baby etc. Remember you are looking out for baby's interests so feel confident to say you are funneling, and no one else is holding baby yet or whatever, negotiate a good time for your parents to meet and hold baby. They will be delighted. My sister met our son after about 6 weeks but did not get a couple until about 10 weeks in. He just sat on her lap and was quite happy.

I am sure you will make the right choices.

Plus I do know a family with an adopted child who came as a baby and he has attachment difficulties, please don't minimize these in your own mind. The baby may look like any other baby but that doesn't mean they are thinking the same.

I hope this article is useful and not upsetting, I just think it is good to see things from the child's perspective (but as I admit, I sometimes fail to do so!)

A Different Perspective Written by Cynthia Hockman-Chupp, analogy courtesy of Dr. Kali Miller

Italiangreyhound Tue 17-Jan-17 21:02:17

please do read this means the article attached not my post!!

Italiangreyhound Tue 17-Jan-17 21:03:56

but did not get a couple - CUDDLE not couple!

Stevemcqueenlikesbeans Fri 20-Jan-17 17:19:15

Sorry I don't want to tread on anyone's toes here but feel very strongly about this and am surprised and disappointed at some of the comments.

I don't agree that funnelling is "different for a baby."
Losing birth and foster family is less traumatic for a baby?
Babies "forget" therefore they're less traumatised?
Babies can't speak, therefore they're less traumatised?

Our 9 month old who had been with the most wonderful foster family since birth, had the gentlest of transitions and a very carefully thought out funnelling period, suffered terrible loss.

Coming from a busy and sociable foster family does not mean that a traumatised child will be comfortable in a busy and sociable (completely alien) environment from day one.

Please do your research and you'll find out there's no such thing as it being "easier for babies". Funnelling is just as important. Yes all children are different, and different ages will need different approaches, but not less therapeutic parenting.

And as for "attachment problems", if a child doesn't have these already from the loss of their birth family, they are coming to us with the trauma of losing their foster family and that's when the attachment issues kick in.

So to advise funnelling only if a child is older or suffering "attachment problems" is not helpful.

Obviously school runs, family life etc are necessary, and baby slings, sole care of LO can help to bond and minimise confusion for LO.

Our lovely little girl, nearly 3 shows clear attachment issues despite all of the funnelling, but we know that we did and continue to do the best for her.

Read some Dan Hughes

Stevemcqueenlikesbeans Fri 20-Jan-17 17:25:21

Ps this is not aimed at you OP as you clearly plan to funnel and are thinking carefully about introducing grandparents. Good luck

Starfishbanana101 Fri 20-Jan-17 18:34:47

Our LO was 3 months when they came home. We had the initial 'lock down' for two weeks, then grannies visited for a short period while LO was asleep then my mum started to visit for short periods every few days after a few weeks. It's was 6 weeks or before anyone other than GPs were introduced. We kept LO close, only grannies were allowed short cuddles, we did all care and stayed by LO whenever anyone else was around. If LO looked to us we took them straight back.

Don't forget that in the first few weeks although you won't have friends and family visit you will still be seeing your SW, LOs SW, maybe HV, counsellor etc or whatever else support the LA put in and it's all very distressing for LO. We found that if someone visited we needed to lay low before any other person came for a couple of days. It's a lot for a baby to take in so as long as you keep things low key, keep LO close to you, calm and quiet then a short visit when they come will be OK I'm sure.

This book has some interesting and helpful stuff in it :

donquixotedelamancha Fri 20-Jan-17 19:57:00


"Losing birth and foster family is less traumatic for a baby?
Babies "forget" therefore they're less traumatised?
Babies can't speak, therefore they're less traumatised?"

I can't see that anyone said these things except you.

"I don't agree that funnelling is "different for a baby."

I said that. So did someone with kids with attachment disorders. Honestly do you not see that a 2 year old would need a very different settling in period to a 7 month old?

"And as for "attachment problems", if a child doesn't have these already from the loss of their birth family, they are coming to us with the trauma of losing their foster family and that's when the attachment issues kick in."

You seem to be saying that all adopted kids will have attachment difficulties? That challenges the training I've received and the articles and books I've read. I've read Dan Hughes (your reference) and I think he talks about examples caused by repeated failure to meet needs and change in attachment figures.

Assuming the OP has adopted a baby who has been in care since birth (given the age), has been well cared for and has already formed a good attachment to FC then the advice given is quite appropriate IMO. If there is reason to think this isn't the case then they've been given plenty of signposting to further advice.

If you really are suggesting a 'primal wound' type interpretation of attachment theory then I would appreciate some links to Scientific journals and an understanding of your qualifications. My layman's understanding is that this stuff is regarded as bobbins, but I'm open to a change of mind.

If you were just saying that its good to be mindful of attachment in all cases, then fair enough; but I don't think anyone suggested otherwise.

bostonkremekrazy Fri 20-Jan-17 23:15:02

I agree with here has said
"Losing birth and foster family is less traumatic for a baby?
Babies "forget" therefore they're less traumatised?
Babies can't speak, therefore they're less traumatised?"
everyone has given appropriate advice, and said all babies are different and use your common sense on how OP baby adapts.

As a PP with children with dx attachment difficulties, plenty of experience with therapists, child psychologists etc I have to say funneling is different when a child is 2 to when a child is 7 months...of course it is. A 2 yr old can wander around demanding cuddles and pick up from strangers, that is difficult for new parents to field and can become exhausting as grandma's love it and respond 'oh he wants me, dont me be mean he just wants grandma to pick him up/give him a biscuit/ etc etc' funneling goes out of the window and before you know it you have a 2 yr old who goes to anybody who gives him eye contact or food/love etc...
......a 7 month old you are completely in control and can wear in a sling during visits, can not let grandma pick up off the playmat etc, so in that sense the say hello but do not pick up is so much easier and therefore earlier visits are manageable
- and grandma can help with folding clothes/washing/dishes etc and feel useful and wanted by the family smile

the primal wound theory is interesting - and I do agree that all our children have had a degree of trauma simply by their pre-birth experiences and by being taken from their BM, but I dont necessarily agree that all adopted children will go on to have some attachment problems - i know they don't!

Its also completely normal for a 5-6 month old baby to gaze or look at its parent while being held by someone else, it doesn't mean there is a problem, babies look around to check with you that all is well etc - blimy if I took my babies back when they looked at me i'd always have a baby in my arms! (i've had 3 under 1s) I usually make an agreeing noise, yes all is well, auntie x has you, she is lovely, aren't you happy etc etc, its our job to teach them friend from foe, if you whip them out of people arms how do babies ever learn this?

donquixotedelamancha Sat 21-Jan-17 00:25:29

"and I do agree that all our children have had a degree of trauma simply by their pre-birth experiences"

It's the vast majority these days, but it has to be most not all.

The danger of blanket statements and doom-mongering that sometimes crop up on adoption boards (not implying that's what steve is doing) is that it stigmatises adoption itself. There are much higher instances of a host of issues among our kids, but these issues are depressingly common in non adopted kids as well.

I dislike the primal wound stuff for the same reason. Of its time it was a powerful wake up call. I can certainly see why it resonates with many adoptive parents; but the many of the claims made are not (to my understanding) supported by Science.

donquixotedelamancha Sat 21-Jan-17 00:29:10

@ Boston. P.S. Just realised that I sound like I'm really disagreeing, but actually i thought your post was fab- a better version of what I was trying to say.

bostonkremekrazy Sat 21-Jan-17 09:16:16

Donquix.....the primal wound stuff is american isnt it? I think they go about things differently (sorry to our US friends), and I agree it was a good wake up call smile

fasparent Sat 21-Jan-17 12:13:46

Done the research Baby Trauma 0 too 6 months.
Many from birth are detached from nurturing care , be they return too parents go into foster care or adoption. Deprived of attachments.
In the car from day one transported too contact some times 5 days a week , need too be in a nice warm and comfortable environment.
not a nice way too start life pillar too post. They have no voice or choice.

Neo Natal care, FAS FASD, many will not show problems until later on in life
as with many development conditions. Stability is needed for new born baby's., Intervention's should be paramount and surmount legal constrictions.

bostonkremekrazy Sat 21-Jan-17 15:51:11

I agree FAS many children who go to contact back and fore do end up with attachment issues...they are often taken by a worker they dont know - a different one every time..its so sad and should not be allowed!
But lots of the younger ones being adopted at 6 months who had a PO at 12 weeks or so may never have attended contact - my youngest 2 never went to contact and were with fc from their SCBU bed....very lucky babies who could and did build a secure attachment to their fc from day adopters you then hope and pray they can transfer that attachment ☺

Rainatnight Sat 28-Jan-17 13:51:48

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. Loads to think about here, and lots of different views!

My reading of Dan Hughes is the same as donquixote's - that it's repeated failure to have needs met and frequent changes in carer that causes attachment problems.

So my view would probably be that short visits with us doing all the care-giving, etc, might be OK? But as lots of people have said, we'll need to see how she's getting on

We've got our sling so will minimise the picking up!

Our LO's been with the same FC since she was three days old (for context, not to minimise the difficulty she's faced).

Bostoncremecrazy Sat 28-Jan-17 18:40:58

So an 8 month old whose been with same fc since birth?
Then yes have grandma visit...but make sure its you and dp doing all the care. There are lots of lovely jobs for grandma's -ironing tiny baby clotges is a delight (at first!), cooking for you both - could she help stock the freezer with batch meals? ....
For my mil it was enough to be pottering around the house feeling useful - she never tried picking baby up at all.
Of course there is space for you and grandma to sit on the floor with baby to play together, and no harm in grandma pushing the pram around the park if you dont mind walking with her......but you and dp should do all feeding, all sleeps and wake ups, all nappies etc.
You have to gauge your dd and how grabby grandma will be....will she be happy to stand back pottering? Or try to take over?

Rainatnight Sun 29-Jan-17 16:38:13

Thank you, that sounds very sensible.

As you say, the issue will be getting her to stick to it. She's very aware of attachment issues, did psychology as part of her degree, has friends who've adopted, so is very switched on and would absolutely say she supports us. It's whether that actually holds true in the face of her urge to pick a gorgeous baby girl up and give her a squish.

She's also very, very bossy, and I'd have to be very, very firm. Time to put my big girl pants on, of course.

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