To ask him to leave?(11 Posts)
No idea where to put this but could really use some advice. DH and I are currently being assessed as foster carers with the aim of fostering our niece. She is 3 and the same age as our DD. we have met her a few times but she currently lives with her grandad (MiL first husband, so no relation to DH). He is coming over this weekend to bring her to visit as we are building a relationship with her before we (hopefully) get her full time.
My problem is, her grandad is so difficult, he doesn't talk, he doesn't interact and he insists on joining us on any outings we have planned. He simply stands around looking really awkward and almost inspecting our behaviour. It means we can't build a relationship with our niece as we are trying to occupy him. I have suggested he leave her with us but he won't. He leaves once she is in bed (at our house) to go and stay in a hotel. I would do anything to have some time with her.
Does anyone have any ideas what I could say, how to broach it? Or would ibu to just ask him to leave for a while?
I do understand he adores her and is responsible for her but it is his instigation that we are going through this process. So he must be ok with us caring for her.
I am starting to dread their visits as I feel it's so fake.
I'd thank him for being supportive and suggest that now is the time to start testing out her ability to manage without him. If you're going to foster, it'll need to happen at some point.
I'm not familiar with the process, but presumably there is a social worker involved? Could you ask her to have a word with your niece's grandad about it?
I suppose, seeing things from his point of view, he might be feeling a mixture of protectiveness and guilt (that he's "giving her up") and is just very anxious for her. He might be uncommunicative because he's a bit shy and awkward, or he might just be a miserable bugger.
I'd not worry too much about trying to occupy him. If you're at home then offer a cup of tea, try making a bit of small talk to be polite, but then - if he doesn't want to talk - ignore him and get on with playing with your dd and your niece.
If you go out, keep it somewhere simple eg park. Find a bench near the playground bit. Ask if he'd like to sit down. Then go off and push the girls on the swings etc. If he wants to just stand around and watch let him. But don't feel that you have to babysit him.
Yes, there is a social worker involved, I have tried asking him and he says it's fine for us to be alone with her but that it's up to us to negotiate that.
I think maybe just minimal engagement is the best idea. It's just more about my feelings I guess. He is absolutely feeling guilt but at the moment, our niece is unsure who to go to for support and she is struggling to play with us becauseshe keeps running to grandad (she is suck a lovely caring little girl!)
In that case, could you say to the grandad that the SW has said that it's fine for him not to be there all the time.
Maybe have half a day with him there and half a day without him there? Of course that will only work if he agrees to do that.
I've just had a thought, squaretoes. How about re-posting this in the Fostering topic www.mumsnet.com/Talk/fostering? Just to get some help from foster parents who have had to deal with a similar situation.
Yes, that's a good idea! Thank you. I am going to try asking for some time alone with her today. She slept at our house last night and has been brilliant, so maybe that will make him feel more relaxed.
Have you thought about having a meeting and writing a bridging plan with him? This is what they do when they move a child from a foster home to an adoptive home, and basically is a very clear timetable that allows the new adoptive parents to slowly do more with the child without the old carers present and to take more responsibility for her routine. So it would literally say when he would stay and when he wouldn't.
Having said that - are you sure your fostering approval is going to go through? It would be really unusual (and not in the child's best interests) for new carers to start having more independent interaction with a child if there was any chance their fostering application might not go through
In my experience as a foster carer that has moved children to kinship foster carers, the contact has been very general before the assessment has finished. The child has to know who is caring for them at that time, and when the move is made, it is very structured as the child moves its attachment. Be careful of playing mummy and daddy at this stage, it makes it very confusing and distressing for the child. It will be done properly in about a week when the time comes.
I am really surprised they are doing sleepovers before approval. Then again, I've known SW get it wrong and it is awful for the child.they don't know where their home is.
Don't ask her grandad to leave, she might need him there!
If you've only met her a few times, then I can see why he is reluctant to leave her - I wouldn't leave my son with someone he had only met a few times unless it was absolutely necessary. Surely the important thing is how comfortable she is rather than your desire to 'build a relationship' on your terms, or fears that it is 'fake'? He may have instigated the process, but it doesn't mean he will be finding it easy to let go, so unless there is a pressing reason to speed it all up, then it seems sensible to take as long as everyone involved needs.
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