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Hi I'm new. Intros in 4 weeks!

(21 Posts)
StringandGlitter Wed 13-Sep-17 14:28:37

Hi I'm new to mumsnet. 18 months after being approved we finally got our match.

We meet our new daughter in 4 weeks. She's 6 years old. Anyone else adopted a slightly older child? Most of the resources I've found are aimed at younger children.

We're currently decorating her room and will be doing intro books and dvd this weekend and visiting schools next week.

I've been waiting for 10 years to become a parent. Can't believe it's happening so soon!

OP’s posts: |
sparklymarion Wed 13-Sep-17 14:38:09

Congratulations and good luck xxx wait to let her choose a little few accessories as it will make her room feel her own x

fatberg Wed 13-Sep-17 17:03:39

Congratulations!

There's a few posters around who've had older kids placed recently. Someone will have something to say.

My own advice would be (all other things being equal) to try keep and keep her out of school as long as you can. This is probably not what SWs will want though so you'll likely have to negotiate it with them.

If she's not feeling secure with you, she won't learn anything anyway - far better she gets a chance to bond with you, without also having to deal with whole new school/classmates/teacher.

Is there a plan for this in place already?

ChoccyJules Wed 13-Sep-17 19:45:56

Hi, we are three months in to placement, our DD is 5. Feel free to message me with questions.
Obviously every child has a plethora of different needs but in general I would say remember to ask FC which foods she actively dislikes, try and bring a favourite duvet cover set and any posters she has up at FC's and accept all emotions as 'normal'.

Jellycatspyjamas Wed 13-Sep-17 20:26:47

My DD is 6 and was placed with us 6 weeks ago - I so remember the frantic excitement of preparing her room etc. Our little one has settled very well all things considered, do feel free to drop me a line if you want to check anything out - folk here have been such a valuable support to me.

It's incredibly hard with older children - what I would say is take all of the theory, advice, expectations with a huge pinch of salt. Your little one hasn't read the textbooks and doesnt know what's supposed to work. You'll figure it out together. You might have a child who needs to stay close to home, she might need the structure and familiarity of routine, you won't know until you get to know her.

LateToTheParty Thu 14-Sep-17 13:49:54

Congratulations! No specific advice but hope it goes ok for you all. It's a tough time for you too, so don't be afraid to lean on your support network as required.

UnderTheNameOfSanders Thu 14-Sep-17 15:16:42

My DD1 was nearly 8 when placed, but that was 10 years ago.
She went back to school full time after 3 weeks.
With hindsight and in an ideal world we would have magicked her needy pre-school sister into thin air for a couple of afternoons a week so I could have 1-1 time for DD1 which she probably didn't get enough of.

School can be stabilising though, and is a good way for her and you to make new friends. Which is why I wouldn't for example try to keep her off school until January. But 4 weeks from now will be not too far from half term, so keeping off until after then might work?

Jellycatspyjamas Thu 14-Sep-17 16:00:57

I kept mine home for 4 weeks by which time both were in need of the routine - they had been in school and nursery so we're used to be away from home etc and the time at home was too much for them. In saying that, the school are fantastic - if they'd been less supportive I would have waited.

StringandGlitter Thu 14-Sep-17 17:42:17

Thanks for all your replies. We have 3 weeks of introductions, (the last week of this is half term), then her first week with us she was not go to school. She'll then go back mornings only for a week or so gradually building up to full time. They're still deciding if she'll go to school during intros or not so we'll find out at the planning meeting.

I think that's a good balance between spending time with us and getting back to school.

We still haven't chosen a school, but have 4 visits planned over next few days. Some have been so welcoming and lovely and one (a church school) couldn't have been less welcoming if they tried! Still going to look at it though, just to compare.

Tonight I'm tidying the rest of the house so it is presentable to take photos for intros book.

OP’s posts: |
Jellycatspyjamas Thu 14-Sep-17 17:55:31

Don't forget you have a say too - if you think school during intros is too much (and I know it would have been impossible for my 6 year old) then argue your case. There are lots of ways for her to have endings with her classmates that don't need her to be in school full time.

Back to school in any capacity after a week feels ways too quick - if you think about what you might need after losing one family, gaining a new one and every single thing in your life changing - school would be the very last thing you'd want. She won't suffer academically and many of these decisions are driven by government stats rather than what's best for the child.

In my case every single thing I was told the kids needed turned out to be wrong. Have a view and be prepared to negotiate. Also build in a couple of reviews during intros and don't be afraid to say if you think x isn't working.

Lastly, intros were the most stressful time of my life, I felt hourly like I'd made the wrong decision so don't expect it to be fairytale like.

Ineedmoreshoes Sat 16-Sep-17 21:41:40

Our lo was 18 months but just wanted to say congratulations xx

Kr1s Sun 17-Sep-17 00:05:15

Also adding my congratulations .

And I agree with all the advice here .

Keep her off school as long as possible. Ask yourself how long you would want to take off work if your husband died and you had to move home - would a week be enough to adjust to all that ?

Of course it's an incomplete analogy because this child will not just lose her family and her home , she will lose her school and all her friends as well.

Also go easy on the room decoration so she can choose most of it herself. Most 6yo will have an opinion , she may like cars, dinosaurs, fairies or fire engines. You can always just paint a neutral colour and get a plain blind and add curtains / duvet / rug etc when she's home and decides what she wants.

I know it's hard because you have waited so long to be parents and I'm sure you've had fantasies about a cute nursery etc. But you need to think about what you would like in her situation. What would make you feel most at home if you were abducted by aliens ?

One reason adoption is hard is that it starts from a point of loss for everyone involved, so it's very different from giving birth to a baby. Naturally you are very excited to finally have the child you have longed for. But you need to tune into the fact that it's a great loss for most children to lose their FC . And it's very hard to make one attachment while grieving another .

You job over the next months will be helping your DD work through all of this, as well as dealing with your own losses and adjusting to being parents. And it's OK to allow her to have contact with FC ( if she wishes), regardless of what SW say.

I'm sorry if this seems depressing and I don't mean to rain on your parade. But I want to be realistic about what's ahead so you can prepare yourselves for the tough bits as well as how wonderful it will be.

Kr1s Sun 17-Sep-17 00:18:14

Also remember that SW are completely obsessed by " keeping tye child's routine " . Well if they wanted to keep the childs routine they shouldn't have moved them.

Remember the three most important things , particularly with an older child, are attachment, attachment and attachment. Ultimately nothing else matters.

If they don't attach , you and they will have a shit life. So being a term or even a year behind in school is neither here nor there .

A very hard part of older child adoption is fighting the SW obsession with short term goals and focussing in the long term. And adopting an older child is absoutely exhausting, so understandably most parents are desperate to get them into school asap .

Even if you are a two parent family, most men are reluctant to take enough parental leave, so one parent ( almost always a mother) is left with it all and becomes burnt out very quickly . Older traumatised children can be bottomless pits of need and can suck up your energy in a way it's hard to describe or even imagine if you have not experienced it.

So one way to deal with this to get them into school. It's understandable but not helpful for attachment.

In my (not very ) humble opinion .

gillybeanz Sun 17-Sep-17 00:22:20

I have no advice but wanted to send my congratulations. thanks
Oh, and as you are new and others have offered for you to pm them you just click on message poster. In case you didn't know.
Good luck.

Thepinklady77 Sun 17-Sep-17 10:15:16

I just want to pick out two things from comments already made and second them utterly:

1) school - I am a teacher but if I was adopting a school age child school would be the last place I would be considering sending them to for a long time ( probably around a year/ equivalent to my adoption leave.) Those nine months to a year are all about building true attachment and getting to know and trust each other. For the child it is about grieving her losses and exploring her new gains. This can not be done if the child is at school for most of the day. Also depending on issues school may also create other problems and undo a lot of the theauraputic parenting you will be doing at home. I would consider home schooling for the first while. Adoption uk will be able to put you in touch with adoptive parents who home school and have support groups and communities built up to allow socialisation for the children. There could be an issue getting this past the SW this late on but in my opinion a fight worth having.

2) your SW may well say no contact with FC for a set length of time. Fight this and disregard this. More recent research and my own experience as an adopter and foster carer shows that a child needs regular contact early on either by phone, Skype or face to face to be reassured that the people who they have the closest attachment and to whom they love are still ok, they still love them and that they are giving them permission to move on and to transfer their attachment. SW used to recommend 6 months of no contact to help them 'forget' about their previous carers. They will never forget them, they simply learn that important people in their life can disappear over night and actually one day you might do the same.

Good luck with the coming days.

Ted27 Sun 17-Sep-17 11:03:23

I really think you have to take your cue from the child when it comes to school. There is no one size fits all approach.

My son was nearly 8 when he came home. We had 9 days intros, he came home at the start of the easter holidays. So we had two weeks, an extra week, a week of half time, there was a short week for May bank holiday, then only a few weeks to half term and then we had the whole summer. He was home by 3.20. giving us a good chunk of time every day. I used no child care, after school clubs, was there for every school assembly event. It worked very well for us.
But the timing of his arrival was quite helpful. We had the long summer break quite early on. If he had arrived at a different time of year I might have done things differently.
I couldnt have done home schooling. He was desparate for school and to make friends. You wont build a relationship if you are driving each other potty.

Finding the right school of course is key.

People can only tell you what worked for them and their child. You need to think about what is best for your child. Good luck !

Jellycatspyjamas Sun 17-Sep-17 17:02:49

I'd second the thought that each child's needs are different - and theories are just that.

School and nursery has been very good for my two - it's gives them a "normal" weekly routine and an opportunity to make friends given we don't have children to play at our house and wouldn't send them to a friend's house to play - decisions made because of issues particular to their experience of foster care. I can't imagine it would have been good for any of us for me to keep them home for months on end, certainly not the 9-12 months of adoption leave and I couldn't see my SW being ok with it either.

Attachment is built in the day to day, mundane interactions we have with our children which tell them they are safe and loved. In older kids that process can take years, and the routine of going to school and coming home again to mum and dad can help that process, help develop that "invisible thread".

There is lots of time to build attachment and if your kids need school, or frankly if your sanity depends on getting some physical space in the day it doesn't mean you're a bad parent damning your child to a life of insecure attachments. I'd also say (gasp) that attachment is only part of the picture, most adults have an insecure attachment style (only about 45% have what is considered a secure attachment style). I'm not saying attachment doesn't matter but the danger in theory around therapeutic parenting is that parents feel under pressure to respond in a "right", therapeutic way in every situation - which is impossible. All children (including adopted children) need real relationships with loving, attuned parents, they need care and predictability. They may also need a therapist/therapuetic support.

My SW reminded me, kindly, that I'm not their therapist, SW or trauma specialist (I hold professional qualifications in all of these areas), I'm their parent and they need me to be their mum, warts and all. Remember they need you to be their mum and you'll not go far wrong.

sparklymarion Sun 17-Sep-17 18:57:54

Jelly cat I must say I think this is one of the most insightful replays ive seen on here.

I read these responses and a lot is adoptees appear to put a lot of pressure on themselves.

I have been a foster carer for six years and when I started wanted to save the world, experience has made me realise whilst I still attend training and also do use this , I'm not a therapist or a social worker a teacher but are on a parental role and when I concentrate on this role this seems to work best for the children in my care as all the want is parenting, to be loved, feel safe and their needs met x

Kr1s Mon 18-Sep-17 09:43:50

Sparkly Marion - can I ask how you handle attachment issues when children are primarily attached to their birth family and are expected to move on to a permanent placement in due course ?

I'm assuming you do short term fostering as you said you have moved children on to adoption. I understand it's completely different if you do longer term or permanence .

sparklymarion Mon 18-Sep-17 19:06:54

I do all short term long term and babies whom have been fostered.

sparklymarion Mon 18-Sep-17 19:12:14

Attachment issues can be hard and it's recognising the behaviours for instance we can have one amazing day e.g. Go out for the day to a theme park and the next day can be followed with challenging behaviours it's just recognising the child is pushing us away which could be a variety of reasons, guilt, don't want to feeling to attached to the placement, breaking placement down so they do it before the perceive we will ! All children are different obviously it's looking for the symptom of the behaviour and not the actual behaviour.

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