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She wants to go back to the FC(37 Posts)
A few weeks ago we brought home two little girls - 2 and 4. Its been an overwhelming whirl of course and we're incredibly knackered. All four of us have been sick - it feels like there hasn't been more than about 4 days since they came home when someone hasn't been ill.
Anyway, I felt like I was just about managing until the other day when the older girl got upset upon seeing pics of one of the foster carers and said she didn't like A and B (us) and wanted to go back to X & Y's (foster carer's) house.
Rationally, I know it's reasonable she'd be missing them (they'd lived with them for a year, it was their first period of good care after a neglectful time with birth fam), but it felt like a kick in the stomach when we've been trying so hard to settle them with us. I know I'm not supposed to take it personally but, er, I am. And its so hard to know what to say to her, apart from promising that we will see them (the FC's)
Anyone else experienced anything like this? It's not so much advice I'm after as knowing that this happened to someone else (and some hope that she will eventually want to be here!!)
I'm no expert but is it wise to promise to see the FC is it allowed or encouraged?
The poor mites will settle soon, and I know it must be so hard for you to hear this and not take it personally.
I'm sure with time they will both settle and you sound like a lovely person.
Try not to take it to heart and when they/you are fighting fit find some fun activities you can all do together, something bonding.
My two were with their foster carers for nearly 3 years before coming to us and have (and still are) grieving that loss 5 months later.
It really hurts when they say they want to go back. Yes you know not to take it personally but when your knackered, and emotionally wring out, and just wanting to get it right for them - while second guessing every single thing you're doing - it's bloody sore when they say they want their foster carer.
All I can say is of course they do, that place was safe and familiar and where they are now is really scary. I've tended to be open to it - reassure them that it's ok to miss their foster carers, that the foster carers will miss them too, that they can write, draw a picture or whatever the contact arrangement is for foster carers but that you're their new mummy and daddy, refer back to the work that was done to hekp them settle with you
It's also important to let them know it's ok to have lots and lots of feelings - happyness, excitement, fear, sadness all at the same time. If I think they're struggling I'll ask now if they're missing X, that way they know it's ok to talk about them.
I just say our one attempt at face to face contact had a horrible impact on the kids so I won't be in a hurry to do that to them again.
After all that, take yourself off for a scream or cry or shout, drink wine, talk to friends, SW, therapist - anyone you can be completely open with about how painful it is, it's ok to hurt even when you know it's not personal.
gillybeanz thanks! Contact with FC is encouraged, jury still out on whether its good for the children or not....I thought it would be good before we had them.
Jellycats - thanks so much for your response. I've read quite a few of your previous posts and relate v much to your experience. So good to hear we're not alone!! Yes, we empathise with their loss, encourage expression of all the feelings of all flavours but its certainly gut-wrenching to witness. I also feel that the social workers don't really want to acknowledge this side of things, they are so keen to see the positives in how the girls are settling (to be fair, in many ways, they are settling)
I know Scooby, it does sound a bit unsettling at a time they aren't settled. iykwim.
I wish you well, my love and am in awe of adoptive parents as I know what you have to go through.
Personally it's probably be to early for them to see
The foster carers but the also need to now the foster carer did not reject them but wanted them to be with there forever family.
Maybe arrange something six months - one year in and they probably will be behaviours after but then surely this is better than the little mites having 2 other people in their lives the feel rejected from.
Hi, my now 17 month old (15 months ag placement) was placed in mid Nov, on day 4 the grief stricken screaming began, I swaddled, cuddled, put In a baby carrier and walked the streets and was told "you need to see the FC so she knows they are not dead" so day 6 we did and it was awful, I then put my foot down and we didn't see them for almost 6 weeks, that visit was at their home (I know terrible Decision from SS) and I had 6 nights of hell! A very unsettled child and oh yes it was NY so 0 support from SS.
Thankfully the SW came and has now on hearing the fall out we suffered postponed the visit at the end of this month. I was almost T Breaking point at the thought of another visit and the subsequent fall out again.
Your doing all the right things, verbalise their feelings as mentioned above "yes you do miss them, they still love you and we are your mummy and daddy now, let's draw a picture for them"
Thinking of you, it is tough, in a way I wish my little one could tell me what she's thinking/feeling.
So hard in the early days. Yes it's hard for you to hear, I really do understand that. But it's very normal for her to want foster carers, her whole world has changed so much. It's a good sign even if it doesn't feel like it that she is able to tell you how she feels.
Contact with the foster carer can feel very hard, and there will undoubtedly be some fall out, but in my opinion and there is some research backing this, in the long term it will greatly help the child to know that important people don't just disappear.
@ScoobySnacks2017 it is very tough and sounds like you have had a hard time health wise. make sure you look after yourself physically, and mentally (sleep healthy food etc) to help cope with the emotions.
It's natural they will want foster carers but it won't be forever.
I'll tell you what we did, which was encouraged by social workers, and how it has worked out for us.
Almost exactly a month after our three year old son moved in, we met foster carers in a park for fun and ice cream. Ds knew it was going to happen (don't mention until it is confirmed and even then I said Hopefully it will happen because they are very busy and had other kids to care for).
I'd always plan it well and never just bump into then.
I told ds he would go And Come Back in our car. He would come back home with us. The visit was not, and never has been, to their home.
I warned ds foster carer would have new children to care for as this is her job, to look after children before they find their new mums and dads. She brought the new kids with her.
Ds was fine. Happy to see her, not upset etc. I was on tenderhooks! But all was fine and we would have dealt with a tantrum if necessary!
After that we next met at about 2-3 months into placement (his birthday) then about 4-6 months in and now we meet approximately twice a year. This is completely our choice, we like the fact his gorgeous lovely foster carer is still a part of his life. But it is 100% optional.
He treats her like a distant relative he is happy to see. But not that bothered to see.
We've been able to do this because she lives quite close (about 30 mins by car), she is genuinely lovely,
I feel very happy to see her and she is happy to see us.
We have a birth dd and she has birth kids too and we talk about all the kids.
I'm not recommending this for everyone but it works for us.
I always tell ds it was the social workers' choice to make us his parents, and we love him very much. Foster carers look after children when they need it but we are mum and dad.
He missed foster cares and has said before that he wanted them to be his parents. It does hurt butt it does change over time. It's not his choice to make and with time he has settled in well (over three and a half years now).
There's research to back just about anything in fostering and adoption, i think it's always a good thing to be aware of the research, give it due consideration and then do the thing you feel is right for your kids. No evidence based practice in the world will convince me it's good for my kids to have ongoing contact, and actually none of the professionals are suggesting it given my kids reaction, except for the foster carers link worker who is pressing quite hard and has openly said it's because she needs them to be willing to foster again where kids are placed for adoption.
SW always claim to act in the best interests of the child but with the best will in the world there are so many competing demands, dynamics and priorities that come to take pre-eminence. The adoptive parents are so often viewed as the "winners" that their feelings can be at the back of the queue when actually your feelings are so relevant and need to be given space if you're to have the resilience to parent your children .
It's hard but follow your instincts of this, if you think contact is too soon, too much, in the wrong place, whatever, or if you think it's going to be just too much for you to cope with on top of everything else, i would (and have) renegotiate.
In our situation @Jellycatspyjamas I think the foster carer does get something from seeing him and the fact he is well etc. And I like it too! But it's for ds and if I did not think it was beneficial then no amount of research would convince me. So I agree.
If seeing foster carer distressed ds or caused issues we would not do it. It's not for your kids to help foster carers adjust.
@ScoobySnacks2017 you've told the kids they will see foster carers, is that true? Do you know when it will be? Please do only tell them things that are true, age appropriate.
Please also remember they are grieving and confused, although it is very hard for you as their mum, it is very difficult for them.
As others have said the fact they can tell you how they are feeling after such a short time is really good, so you are doing well.
You're tired, they're tired. Feeling ill is going to make them feel even more vulnerable and scared. I know it's unbelievably hard when you feel awful too, but the more you can give extra nurture now - ideally treating them at least two years younger than their bio age - the more you'll help them begin to have trust that in tough times you are solid. Easy to type that, and weep-inducing to do day and night, I know.
Fantastic that the child was able to tell you what they were feeling - you sound like you're doing all the right things. Try to remember that "I want to go back to X and Y" translates as "I'm scared, help me" not as "You're doing it wrong". Hang in there, and spend as much time cuddling them under blankets and chilling out as you can. You all need some recovery time together.
Italiangreyhound, our posts crossed - I was responding to 2girlsandme posting about research supporting foster care contact, not challenging your arrangement with your LO foster carers (which sounds really lovely and is what I was hoping for with ours).
@Jellycatspyjamas I read your post and was agreeing with you. If the foster carer was problematic we wouldn't't do this so I'd take reality of situation over research. We are in agreement.
We experienced something similar when DS came to us, age 5. He would sob for his foster carer, and I found it really hard to deal with, and feared that we would never be able to make him happy. It helped when through talking to our SW I began to think of it as a grieving process - DS had been with foster carer a long time. Validating his feelings seemed to help a bit (and helped me, as at least I could do/say something, instead of just feeling useless and helpless) and at the suggestion of both sets of SWs we met up with foster carers again pretty quickly after placement - at our house in the first instance and then at a neutral location (park) halfway between for subsequent meet ups.
This seemed to help as DS was reassured that not all the adults in his life disappeared, and we still meet up with foster carers a few times a year, which all parties enjoy.
The early days can be so hard, with sleep deprivation and high levels of anxiety in the mix, so take the positives from this - there are lots, as other posters have said, and just take it one day at a time.
Also how does he feel about seeing foster carer?
We are due to see foster carer next month (do this roughtly twice a year, 6 months apart, for a cuppa and a piece of cake etc) and it's over 3.5 years since ds came.
I asked how ds feels and he says he doesn't really know. I think for him it is a normal part of life.
Totally agree that you should do what's best for you child, not follow research blindly and was pretty sure I'd get some people disagreeing about foster care contact, which of course is fine, not everyone will agree.
I do maintain that if a foster placement has been one where a child has been loved and cherished and the foster carer is someone who can be relied on to be appropriate in future contact then it is in the best interest of most children. The benefits of knowing people who love them don't go away and never come back are just huge.
@Twogirlsandme I do totally agree. Generally.
I was very worried our son would want foster carer not me. In one meeting early on we went to a park with foster carer, I'll call her Betty. It was berry, me ds and other children betty was looking after.
At one point out son and one of the other kids collided! The child in betty's care walled to betty, crying, our son walked past betty, also crying, walked to me, and put his arms round me!
I must admit I did hold my breath as he did it. I think it was about four months in.
I think what you do every day, loving. Cuddling when allowed by the child to do so, swimming (skin to skin) and comforting any boo-boos all adds up to make you the person they need.You know that of course.
Our son has now been with us longer than anyone else. I watched the milestones - longer with us than with foster carer, longer with us then with birth family and now longer than them added together. But very quickly he more and more felt like my son.
No one has mentioned the fact that there are two children in your situation and I wonder if this makes it harder, I think it does.
You are spread more thinly and the kids do have each other so get comfort there and remember things together. I think you need @ ScoobySnacks2017 to remember that you are doing a Great job and you will find it gets easier.
You will feel more confident as time goes on.
I suggest yevelop little family rituals they love, special food they like and get at certain times (try not to be too ridgid) e.g. toasted tea cakes or fairy cakes at 4.00 one afternoon and special drinks, or a lovely cafe you go to, or swimming at the weekend etc.
My kids are driving me mad today! So feel free to ignore me!
I actually think that most research related to adoption (contact, therapy for trauma and attachment) heads in the same direction and has done for a while. The problem is dissemination, not differing ideas at research level. Also, all parents, not just adopters, sometimes need specialist input. For example, a parent is going to have a valid judgement about the here and now, but may not always understand long term affects.
Anyway, OP you have had good advice, and I hope that you have had a better day.
Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread, it has really helped me to feel that our situation is normal and see that maybe we're doing an OK job after all!
That old adage about putting the oxygen mask on yourself first is so true - we have to be so emotionally resilient to do this and you can't achieve that if you ignore your own feelings.
Somehow (more sleep helps) we have both been able to have more fun with the girls over the past couple of days and that makes a big difference. The FC's are still on a pedestal compared to us, but I'm taking it less personally or literally.
Italiangreyhound - you are totally right in that having siblings does mean we are spread more thinly in terms of the hugs and conversations we can give/have, as well as all the time sucked away by refereeing toy squabbles. But yes, the family rituals idea is a good 'un; we're starting with family bear hugs!!
Contact with the FC's is an issue to think about another day...but all your thoughts have given me plenty to mull over.
...also, B1onawire - that idea about treating them as 2 yrs younger is a really good one, ta
I bet that was such a magical moment when he ran for you not the fc italiangreyhound.
Op, it's exhausting. Be kind to yourself. X
Op, the person on that pedestal will change, honest! I was heartened a couple of months in when DS sobbed for DH (who was at work) and not foster carer for the first time. And sobbed for me when I had to go into hospital a couple of years ago. It's still very early days - it will keep getting better.
Italiangreyhound DS has been with us almost 3 years, and I know exactly what you mean about watching the milestones - he has been with us longer than with the FCs, but he was with them for a long time, and they had a really good relationship. He does still enjoy seeing them, but with less 'need' to see them as time goes on. There is often an exchange of gifts when we meet up (birthdays and christmas) so there might be an ulterior motive, but I think it's more that, as you say, it's his normality.
@ScoobySnacks2017 I am so glad to hear that. Keep going and it is not personal, they are finding their feet. Make sure you and your dh/dp stay connected and spend some time together, you need some down time.
@Twogirlsandme it was, I waited, and didn't run to him, I wanted to see. But if he had run to her I would still have gone to him and calmed him. It's just a moment I will always remember.
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