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Foster Carer contact(17 Posts)
So we're hoping to adopt soon. It's complicated and I don't really want to go in to the details on here but a concern of mine has become the childrens current relationship with their foster carer. Despite their placement with her ending soon she's letting them call her mum (it's a new thing) and they and her are incredibly attached to each other. I think it's a great sign that they are able to form that relationship but she decided not to tell them they wouldn't be staying with her permanently and I'm worried about how they are going to take the transition which should be happening in the next 2 to 3 months. I also know the foster carer wants to maintain contact post adoption but given how attached they are to her, while I know it's important that she remains a part of their life, I'm worried about how they will cope with the loss of her as their 'mum' or primary caregiver. Any words of wisdom?
what does your social worker say about the 'Mum' and not being honest about the future?
She said previously they were trying to encourage her to put some respite breaks in to give her and the children some breaks from each other as she had previously been refusing them. She thought that would be a good start. We have another meeting with her next week so I'm going to raise my concerns but I wasn't sure if I was over thinking things as it's getting closer to it all happening so I know emotionally I might be over thinking things.
The child's SW needs to get a grip on the situation and make sure the children are being prepared for the change - and your SW needs to be pushing for it.
The children need to know that it is not permanent as a matter of priority, and to work through that before they are told about you, otherwise there is a danger that the children could confuse the decision to place them for adoption (remove them from 'mum') with you arriving.
I suggest pressing for info about the detailed plan to prepare the children, and how the SW will manage that process and the relationship.
I can sympathise with this. My son was 3 when he came and had stayed with his foster family for a year. He called them mum and dad and introduced himself with their surname (he didn’t know his birth name). He called their parents gran and grandad etc. It was beyond confusing. Worst of all he wasn’t told about us until the Friday and we met him on the Monday. His foster carers were crying when they dropped him off. I felt like I had been the one to take him. Unfortunately so did he. It was months of anger towards me. I just had to keep telling him that they were foster carers and were only looking after him until he was adopted. So difficult for a 3yr old to understand.
There was supposed to be contact but the foster carers struggled too much with it and wouldn’t respond to any texts from us and it took four and a half months to arrange a meeting. My son found it so difficult he threw up on the way home. It was so painful. He wouldn’t leave my lap the whole time we were there.
Anyway, we got through it. Not ideal and he still talks about them. His biggest fear is someone coming along and taking him away again (as he perceived I did) but it’s part of his life and it is something we have had to work through with him. Regardless of what your foster carers do, you can support your children in their understanding of their lives and take it from there. Your social workers can support you
Wish you all the best as you prepare to bring your children home
Our DS Foster carers also allowed wed him to call them Mum and Dad, albeit in another language. He was aware of the concept that he would be moving, but I think he was prepared at the last minute.
We were supposed to be doing Skype calls with them but after he left he got very distressed at seeing their photo or hearing their names. As he has gotten older and his speech has improved he has only mentioned them in the context of not wanting to see them or speak to them, and he recently threw their picture across the room saying “not want it”
We haven’t had any contact, I have my suspicions that he was actually neglected there, so am not pushing it.
It’s their social workers job as well as the foster carers to prepare the children for adoption so I’d be asking questions about what they were doing and what work was being done with the child in general. I wouldn’t Worry about the foster carer not wanting respite for the children. It’s not a great time for them to be having respite in the run-up to an adoption.
Have you met the foster carers yet.? Most foster care as I know would want to have an ongoing relationship with the children if that was possible so I don’t think that’s unusual. Obviously calling them mum and dad is not great, how old are the children? Are there birth children in the family too?
Our lo fc neglected and hit her, which we subsequently reported and thank god she is no longer a fc as a result as our lo complaint was not the first one. She too was encouraged to call her nanny and this is such a red flag for me for other selfish, neglectful and abusive behaviours. To emotionally manipulate a vulnerable child is awful and awful for any sw to turn a blind eye. Our lo was also very ill prepared for adoption and felt she had been taken by us for a very long time.
Our FC had strong attachment to DS so much so that introductions were awful. In her own words she couldn’t handle the thought of separating so she was absent for most of the introductions. As a result we had a very hard transition that took a good few months to settle down. He didn’t call her mum as too young but she did refer to her family members as relations (her mum - granny etc).
We did keep in touch by text first couple of weeks but messages were increasingly emotional / patronising then we realised there were a number of things which should have happened under her care which didn’t and have also impacted DS.
She pushed for contact 3 weeks after intros which my SW blocked as said too soon. But has continued to push since. My SW and IRO have now said we don’t have to have contact so we won’t but DS social worker still raises each meeting.
As much as it’s good to maintain relationships, you don’t have to and certainly if it’s not in the best interests of your child. Do what you think is right
I don't know if you watched 15000 kids and counting but there is an awkward scene in there where a little boy is told by his FCs he can no longer call them mum and dad because he has 2 new mummies.
Our LO would've probably have come to call her FCs mum and dad because that's what the other children in the house who were there on long terms orders choose to call them.
Thanks so much for your responses, they really help. I'm going to speak to our SW next week and get clarity on what preparation has started if any and raise my concerns. I have begun to feel like we are taking them from the FC which is silly but I'm pretty sure she would adopt them herself if her situation was different. I really admire her for what she does and how well they have progressed with her but I can't help but worry.
Anyway, thanks again. I'll let you know how I get on.
@Runner31 I think as they are older and calling her mum it just makes the reality of the situation more obvious from their perspective. I met someone on a course who'd adopted an older child. They'd lived with the same family for several years and were just reaching the stage of no longer being available for adoption when it happened. They called everyone in the family uncle, grandma, mum etc. It tore the whole family apart as well as them when they were separated. I know there are reasons why the FCs chose to do this but it feels deeply unfair.
I had a very hard time with our foster caters who were very attached to my DC, my DS particularly. They didn’t prepare the children for moving, didn’t share our photo books, cried at our formal meetings and really wanted ongoing contact which was pretty much mandated during our planning meetings( and which the kids SW acknowledged was about having them on board as foster caters prepared to go through the adoption process again). My DC called them mum and dad and had been there for 3 years when they moved.
I’m panning and intros was hard work and there was early contact with the DC about 7 weeks into placement. The whole thing was a disaster for reasons too outing to explain here but I put a stop to all and any ongoing contact. Even the kids headteacher said she saw a massive regression in the kids post contact.
I think ongoing contact can be ok if managed well but really really trust your instincts. I found social workers very protective of foster carers at our expense as adopters.
I think some of these foster carers have behaved very badly BUT it is normal and ok for the children to be upset after seeing foster carers in the early stages and part of their grieving process. It’s so important for them and as adopters we can help them through that grief which help strengthen the trust in us as parents that we can handle their emotions.
BUT it is normal and ok for the children to be upset after seeing foster carers in the early stages and part of their grieving process.
I have absolutely no issue supporting my children through a grieving process, and was initially very supportive of ongoing contact however the initial contact was conducted in a way that breached previous agreements and which was, by any measure, abusive to my children. As much as I have a duty to support my children through grief, I also have a duty to protect them from people who can’t put their needs first in a way that is harmful to them. And the contact with their foster carers was actively harmful to them, far beyond the bounds of grief.
We waited 2 years before meeting up. I periodically send photo and video updates I think they'd like and we swop cards at Christmas. For me it's important to have some ongoing contact as these are the people who can fill in some of the gaps. The cards are also tangible evidence that they haven't forgotten about my LO.
Nothing about ongoing contact with them was mentioned in the process. They care for other children too and I was conscious of the impact of my LO's adoption on them.
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