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Family members and fostering?(14 Posts)
How do members of your extended family deal with you fostering and what can you do about their reactions to it?
We live several hundred miles away from our families so will be travelling back to stay with my parents for a few days. We'll spend Christmas eve and day at my parents house, then the inlaws boxing day, then a couple of days visiting friends
My parents have been fantastic. They met our FC over the summer and have treated her like one of the family. They sent presents for FC's birthday, and have bought Christmas presents, done a father Christmas stocking the same as our kids, etc, etc. My brother and grandmother and our close friends, have all included her, along with everyone else who buys our kids presents.
Now, we knew that MiL was a bit worried about us fostering, but last night she rang and made it very clear that she doesnt approve and told me that she didn't want us to take FC with us when we went on Boxing Day as she wanted it to be just 'family time'
Now as far as I'm concerned, we all come as a unit or we don't come at all. Our FC is very much a part of our family and you don't get to pick and choose which of us you see. I understand that it's us fostering, not her and I can't insist that they welcome her with open arms I suppose, but I'm not leaving FC out at Christmas, well not at anytime, but specially at Christmas
Usually I'd just leave her to her strop but our kids absolutely adore nanny and grandad and would be beyond gutted not to see them at Christmas
I jus feel that if my mum's next door neighbour can buy our FC a selection box, then why on earth can't MiL show a bit of compassion for 1 bloody day?
But is it too much to expect her to accept another child, when it's our FC?
Difficult one. If you did all go it sounds likely that it wouldn't be a fun occasion for anyone. Especially FD and you. So if it was me I would politely tell her that I felt sad that she feels like she does and un order to protect everyones feelings you won't be coming.
It is then nit great for your birth children but hopefully it would be the kick up the bum your mil needs. She us IMO being very childish.
Definitely not a nice position to be in. You sound line a lovely, committed, caring Foster Carer and it would be a shame if your FD's self esteem and sense if worth we're damaged by thus lady. :-(
We are ok for Christmas as both our mums and dads are so old that they are almost house-bound and a bit dotty and quite honestly would not notice if we squeezed in 20 fc's for a visit! We do not expect the olds to buy gifts other than a large bar of chocolate even for our own children as money is tight on a pension and they are far from rich.
We do have a bit of an issue with weddings and celebrations. We have had 4 weddings and two "special" Birthday celebrations since we have had our f/teens. The invites each time are for just husband and I and our own bc's and f/teens are not invited due to cost of the sit down meal.
With costs of weddings and parties held at posh hotels so high I can sympathise but it makes it really hard for us as we feel rotten excluding the f/teens as they are not going to get the experience of family weddings or how to behave at an hotel or formal function etc.
I remember our own bc's when they were in their early teens being so excited at the formality of a large and quite posh wedding when we needed to stay in an hotel for 2 nights as it was the other end of the country. My my b/daughter was a bridesmaid and it was so lovely for her. I feel sad that f/children do not enjoy the same experience due to the economic times we live in.
I hope your Christmas turns out ok. No words of wisdom I am afraid but I do feel for you.
I can come at this from the point of view as a child who grew up in a family where fostered and as an adult where my parents foster.
I have always supported my parents in their decisions about fostering but as a child I found fostering really hard, I felt abandoned often, and as a bright, happy, well behaved child was often left to my own devices as whatever I did never quite matched the challenging behaviour of the foster children, and my accomplishments were often down played in an attempt to not make the foster children feel under achieving. Now as an adult I under stand these strategies, as a child I didn't and it built up resentment. I am saying this as a background to how I feel now.
sometimes it is difficult as an adult to accept all the fostering. we are a very close family and suddenly things can change in a heartbeat with the introduction of a new foster child to my parents home. I have no say in this addition to my family but I am instantly expected to accept them as a brother/ sister, and as an 'aunt/uncle' to my child. this bond doesn't come instantly and therefore it takes time for someone to get my head around this. I or my DS never see my parents without foster children around which makes me sometimes feel for my DS - they have 4 foster children now so he gets very little time and attention from DPs. So yes I do understand where your MIL is coming from, she hasn't yet made that transition.
However I have never, ever seen this as the foster childs issue, only as mine. I do completely agree with you, if you make the decision to foster a child, that child is part of your family come what may. I accept this and embrace it whilst trying to get my emotions to catch up. For example if my parents need respite the children come to me as respite carer as they are my family.
Not sure if this rambling helps, but what I am trying to say is give your MIL time and support to make this transition. she hasn't made the family unit steps you have and may see it differrently. But I do agree with you either all go as one or not at all for the sake of the children. Good luck and have a happy christmas whichever way!!
Sorry that is supposed to say grew up in a family who fostered (I wasn't fostered)
Bless you for being so honest AB82. Your story was poignant and a reality check for us with b/children and our own elderly parents who may be quietly yearning for our undivided attention and frustrated that they do not get the best of us.
Good question OP. I refuse to do the Christmas visits on my own as it should be family time for us all (f/children included). For us it is all of us or nothing but I can see that it does lessen the quality time with our blood relatives and our own friends when our focus is not on them.
Thanks fosterangel. I would also like to add the good impact my parents fostering had on my life. From the age of 14 I volunteered with riding for the disabled with children and scouts, by 18 I was a youth worker with vulnerable children, I got a degreee in social policy and a masters in child development. I have dedicated my career to working with vulnerable children and now at 30 am CEO of a charity which provides a whole host of services for vulnerable children and their families, including a lot of work with foster carers and looked after children. I am also a respite carer and have provided supported lodgings prior to the birth of my son.
I don't believe I would have ever been on this path if I hadn't of developed such a solid understanding of emotional wellbeing and the experiences that some children have to grow up with and the impact this has upon their lives. so please don't read my post above as all bad, I would never change the path my parents choose as it made me the person I am today.
Sounds like your own parents deserve a massive hug! Fantastic and sound people. xx
Sorry, I've not been back before now, it's all gone a bit busy.
Will have a good think about what we can do and will be back
Thanks for all your input.
We've decided that DH will take our DDs to visit granny, and I'm going to take FC shopping and some lunch for the afternoon.
Not the nice family afternoon we had planned, but we figured it'd be a good plan B, DDs get some one on one time with granny, FC gets some nice quality time with me.
It's a shame, but we can't force MiL, we're fostering, not her. I think I was just surprised, given how well my family have accepted the situation
My in Laws and their family, say they support us in our fostering, and then when we meet up the pointedly ignore ALL the children ( including their Granddaughter!) and me as well!, They will go to the point of asking does Your daughter want anything, to my husband! This does frustrate me, and i honestly do not know if it is worth the stress! My husband refuses to go on his own. We are lucky as we only see them 2 times a year!
Good luck with it all,
Glad you have found a solution Freddiefrog, how difficult for you.
AlphaBeta82 what brillant posts - very humbling to read them
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