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Long distance intros with a 23 month old - help!

(20 Posts)
Rufus27 Sun 11-Mar-18 20:01:14

Just that really! Please share your experiences and advice. At the moment, I am full of nothing but questions and worries (though I know in the long term it'll be worth it!). Matching panel is in the next five weeks.

Would particularly appreciate advice on: fitting in naps/meals etc for toddler in someone else's home; staying in a hotel (other end of the country) with a toddler who's always asleep by 6.30pm and has never slept away from home; balancing building bonds with the new baby (7 months and potentially high level of need) with the needs of a jealous/scared toddler (23 months and been with us since 8 months - they are full siblings); preparing DS1 for a new arrival (he isnt verbal yet).

If you've done it, how did you cope? Please tell me it's do-able grin . What would you do the same/differently? And at the planning meeting, is there anything I should request/watch out for?

thomassmuggit Sun 11-Mar-18 21:21:12

Could you not request intros close to your home? It sounds almost impossible with a newly placed toddler. Distressing the toddler, AND adding the jealousy of a sibling? Total madness. On the part of SWs.

Hotel sounds particularly nightmarish, can you not have a holiday home?

But I would push for intros in your home town, with FC coming up and staying in a hotel with baby, and baby quickly staying at yours. SWs would think nothing of moving this baby to new FCs with no intros, even out if area, if current FC wanted a holiday abroad.

You need to keep the toddler happy.

The current plan sounds, to me, like a recipe for sibling rivalry, toddler upset, and ultimately, disruption. Madness.

Good luck!

Alljamissweet Sun 11-Mar-18 21:35:11

We did this but didn't have a child at the time.
Refuse to do the hotel. Ridiculous!
Find yourself a holiday let and tell the SW your plan which is in both children's best interests.
Arrive the day before and get 23 month old settled in.
Aim to start with a couple of days at the FC with a view to moving intros to the holiday let from there on.
Show your 23 month old photos of the holiday home. An adventure! Show them photos of their new sibling and plan to be out and about doing fun things with both of them.
It won't be easy but it's doable. Is there anyway a grandparent could join you? .... not ideal but might really help.

Rufus27 Sun 11-Mar-18 22:39:46

Thanks both of you. It’s reassuring to hear what you think as it’s similar to my own views. We’ve requested less time with F.C. and more in our home but don’t yet know if they will agree. Our worry is that we are coming across too focused on toddler’s needs as if we aren’t fully committed to sibling. We have had DS for 15 months, but that’s still not a long time really. Sadly GP are too old to help.

thomassmuggit Sun 11-Mar-18 22:47:31

You will be the only ones thinking about the toddler, though.

I'm not convinced a pre-verbal under 2 can get on board with an adventure. Especially an adventure that results in the competition arriving.

Is it the same location or FC as before? Any chance your toddler could think they're being "returned", or undergoing intros again themselves? The whole thing could be very triggering for them.

donquixotedelamancha Sun 11-Mar-18 23:20:32

@Rufus27. Congratulations! So glad for you.

Our two were near identical ages to yours for both adoptions from the sounds of things, so we had a very similar second intros. The big difference is that we were 1.5 hours away, so only stayed in a hotel for a couple of days and drove the rest. We did 5 days, home on morning of 5th.

We found second time around much easier than the first. Building that initial bond with a baby is much easier than older children (unless there has been severe neglect) and you are vastly more experienced than you were.

We had no issues with jealousy- DD1 was just really excited to have a sibling. Jealousy does come, but later.

I agree with everything @Alljamissweet says about getting an apartment or cottage and making it fun. I think you can easily insist on that.

I would also insist on a timetable that isn't too onerous. Don't be doing every single early morning and late night- you don't need the practice and a baby doesn't need that. Build a half day in the middle for just you and your eldest. Do fun things, but don't do anything too ambitious. Get the FC on side- they are often a bit more realistic than SWs.

Be prepared to be (very gently) bolshy. You've been through this before so you will realise that SW don't know everything and once it gets to the planning meeting, it's far too late for them to change their minds.

Make sure you plan some time as a couple once all the intensity subsides. Intros is the (comparatively) easy bit :-) Wait 'til they are both walking. You have a hard two years coming, but it's such fun.

Rainatnight Mon 12-Mar-18 10:16:43

Hello Rufus! Congratulations! I have no advice but just wanted to pop in to send flowers

bostonkremekrazy Mon 12-Mar-18 13:31:03

I agree with those who say move intros to yours...

there is no need for a 7 month old to do intros at theirs.....7 month olds are really portable. At that age as long as they have their primary person with them, the 'stuff' etc doesn't really matter. The FC and baby should be moved to hotel or apartment near you.

You & toddler need to stay put ideally. FC may not like that idea though.

Alljamissweet Mon 12-Mar-18 16:38:17

I don’t know that many FC’s that only have 1 child in their care..... so going away for 4 nights might be tricky for them.
It will be ok. Short days with new lo. One early morning, one bedtime. Fun afternoons with your older one.
Home by day 5.
Thomassmugit, when you have more than 1 child, you have to be flexible. It’s only 5 days. Sometimes these life events are unavoidable. You will all survive. wink

donquixotedelamancha Mon 12-Mar-18 16:50:55

I agree with those who say move intros to yours...

Many FCs have more than one child and would not be able to accommodate that. It's worth trying to find out the FC's situation and then asking- it would make things vastly easier; but that is not the kind of thing you can insist on.

bostonkremekrazy Mon 12-Mar-18 18:56:48

In my experience it is the kind of thing you can absolutely insist on.....
they won't like it no....depends on how much you want to fight it, and who caves first wink

thomassmuggit Mon 12-Mar-18 19:01:47

Foster carers will put kids in respite for a holiday, or a break. I think ensuring a child gets a good start in their forever family should be a priority. That's if the FC has more than one child, and they're a sole carer.

I also would say you can insist on this.

Flower20166 Mon 12-Mar-18 22:28:41

I would never put my foster children in respite without them having had good introductions to the carers who would be looking after them (and even then I try to avoid respite at all costs). So no, it might not be possible for the foster carer to do intros at yours, but it is worth asking in case your baby is the only foster child she is caring for...then she may be able to. Good luck

Italiangreyhound Mon 12-Mar-18 23:22:32

Congratulations. No advice except you will get tgriught it, I think.

Italiangreyhound Mon 12-Mar-18 23:22:56

Through it

TopsyandTimssmugmummy Tue 13-Mar-18 12:46:26

I did intros at a distance though my two were older. We booked a holiday cottage as a home base, the intro timetable itself was pretty relaxed but tbh we needed the space so don’t try to cram everything into a couple of days - give yourself the same space you needed first time round.

Do insist that the timetable keeps your toddlers routines - eg if baby bedtime is later, it may be that you don’t do baby bedtime, at 7 months they’ll be less thrown by you suddenly doing bedtime when they move than your toddler will be if their routine is disrupted - and then you’ll have an insure, grumpy toddler to cope with as well as intros.

Is it possible for someone known to your toddler to travel and stay with you for intros, someone who can focus their full attention and maybe give you a bit of space just for you and your new baby?

Rufus27 Tue 13-Mar-18 21:39:34

Thanks so much for all your advice. I took on board what you said and we called our SW for a head to head before the planning meeting. Our SW did agree with what we were saying but left it for me to fight the case! We have agreed to do the bulk of the intros at our house, with some input from F.C. originally. Our first son was adopted in house so this is all very new to us.

The F.C. sound wonderful and are very attached to the DC (retired and this is their only child) which is very different to our first F.C.Have also booked an appointment with HV to discuss how we can best support our son pre, during and after intros.
Can’t believe how much harder everything is this time round now we have DS. I remember spending days just planning the nursery colour scheme last time. I’d ‘read’ the JoJo catalogue for hours on end. Those were the days! grin

thomassmuggit Tue 13-Mar-18 22:44:43

Sounds really positive.

You will have to be the ones to push for what the whole family needs, as SWs just think 'default' arrangements unless you say otherwise!

Could you watch some tv shows with siblings in, to start talking about baby siblings?

It is much harder doing intros with other children, but once the intros are over, and you can start being a real family on your own, you'll muddle it all out!

Rufus27 Wed 14-Mar-18 12:32:34

Thomassmuggit We'll try that, definitely, though I am not sure how much will sink in as DS has poor hearing and is almost non verbal. Hearing loss was only formally diagnosed this week, which has added to our worries!

We've got pictures of the baby to show him and say night night/hello to a doll in the new baby's room every day!

bostonkremekrazy Wed 14-Mar-18 13:10:59

Well done Rufus.
We have hearing impaired children. Visual stimulation is everything so great that you have books etc, and going into the nursery everyday to talk about the new baby coming.
Photos etc will really help. Let him help fold new clothes, put away nappies etc. As much as you can to show the new baby will soon be here.
Exciting times ahead for you all 💐

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