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Worried about intensity of introductions.

34 replies

luckylucky24 · 24/09/2016 17:38

Hi All

We start intros with an almost 1yr old next week. I was expecting a gradual introduction but this is anything but!
Day 1 is 2 hours
Day 2 jumps to 8 hours!
Day 3 we have to be there at 6am - we live 45 mins away. we are there till 5pm.
Day 4 our son joins us and we have to be there at 7am. After lunch lo comes to ours with foster carer for a few hours, stays for tea and then goes home after a bath here.
Day 5 we have to be there at 6am to bring lo to our house and return lo after bed routine.
Day 6, later start. Lo is with us from lunch to bed time. Again we are doing the travelling collecting and dropping lo off.
Day 7 6am collection, return to our house, return lo at tea time.
Day 8 bring lo home for good.
There are a number of mornings that one or both of us are going to be getting up between 4.30 and 5am enduring emotionally exhausting days and up to 4 hours of driving. Most days we won't get to bed until half 9ish.
I am really looking forward to meeting lo but worry that it will be hard to bond when we are so tired. I think it is mostly the driving that worries me. Because of DS we will have to do the early and late journeys alone (only one of us) which will be lonely and tiring, particularly in the dark. And when lo comes home we will be parents of two children and trying to juggle a huge change with such exhaustion.
Are introductions always this intense? I was expecting slightly shorter days with her being so young!

OP posts:
NuffSaidSam · 24/09/2016 18:31

I don't know much about what is normal/average for introductions, but that does sound very tiring!

Would it be possible/worth staying somewhere closer to the foster family to maximise sleep and reduce the driving? Obviously you'd still need to go back and forward to your home with the baby, but could you stay nearby after dropping her off and then drive home in the morning after collecting her?

LateToTheParty · 24/09/2016 18:43

It is quite intense, but it's so you can hit the ground running once you're home. We've done intros twice, once with toddler DC1, then two years later with baby DC2. Similar timescales and travel times. We also had a mid week review at SS offices with the FC, our SW and child's SW, and separate birth family meetings towards the end of the week! Won't lie to you both weeks were knackering & emotional, even though both sets of foster carers were fab.

Have you been able to discuss concerns with your SW at all? Could day 2 start later & day 3 finish earlier so you're building up a bit more gradually?

If you haven't already, can you plan now to make the week easier e.g. batch cook /order a delivery of ready meals/wash & iron everything you own etc. so you only have to do minimal domestic stuff during the intros. Maybe prime close friends and family that you won't be in contact much, & agree to send a couple of group emails with short updates, photos etc if you think you'll have the time & energy.

Try not to worry too much about how much bonding you'll do during that week, everyone involved is going through a significant change as the parenting responsibilities transfer to you from the FC. Looking back to our intros weeks, they felt like a crash course in the practical aspects of caring for our children. It's once you're home for good that the relationships start to grow as you all adjust to the new shape of your family.

Hope it goes well for you all!

luckylucky24 · 24/09/2016 19:29

Thanks for the replies.

We are staying over one night paid for by them and then possibly another that we will pay for later in the week but just for one of us as the other needs to be at home keeping life smooth running for DS.
We only had the meeting for schedule Friday and it starts monday so no time to discuss worries but we already have reduced some days by a few hours as everybody felt it was too much considering her age and the travel time.
I have scrubbed the house top to bottom and cooked around 15 meals to cover us over the next couple of weeks. That should help alot. DH and I have just been discussing who will do which drop offs and pick ups each so I feel a bit better as I have said I want it to be light when I drive her in case she is really upset. I can drive fine in the dark if its just me.

OP posts:
matimeo · 24/09/2016 19:59

We adopted a baby of very similar age, and travelled a similar difference. Our intros plan looked almost identical, but with 4 critical differences:

  1. We hadn't parented before, so wanted all that time to learn routines.

2. 6 am start is batty. Our earliest was 8am. We arrived a little early ( by arrangement) because traffic was bad, but getting up before 6 for a very intense day is ridiculous.
3. We didn't have a child, so the plan needs to be adapted to him. It won't be a positive intro if he and you are knackered.
4. The FC did half the journeys while child at ours (i.e. we collected- they drop off or vice versa).

There is an easy solution: say no. Say it euphemistically, politely and with clear suggestions about what reasonable amendments you want. I think if you keep the FC informed small changes will be fine (even on the day) and everyone will understand that your son's well being is top priority.

Finally: intros with a baby is easy, in terms of the child adapting to you; but the long week in someone else's house is as intense as you fear. Try to look after yourselves during- its all worth it in the end. You sound well organised- it'll be fine.
Clockworklemon · 24/09/2016 20:21

We had similar with out 9month old AD. FC were an hour away, winter time, 6am start (because LO woke at that time) and didn't leave until after 7pm (LO bed time) every day plus BC back at home missing us desperately which meant that often we would drive separately (we negotiated this at planning meeting.). There was no budget for hotel but also not practical as BC at home.

. It's very hard, intense, exhausting, but we did it. And although it seemed bonkers at the time, I think I cried when I read the schedule, I could afterwards see their rationale for doing it that way. Hopefully it will make more sense when you're in the midst of it.

You will be able to report back to your SW every day. There was a point when I felt very strongly that despite me being the "main carer" (and therefore the main person who should be doing all mornings, bed times etc) our BC needed me to go home and do bed time with her. SW agreed and DH did bed time instead.

It's ok to voice any concerns you have. It's also OK for you to ask them to explain why the Introductions are planned this way, it may help you to feel more on board with the schedule.

You'll have a mid way meeting where again you will be able to discuss any difficulties you are having.

We were absolutely knackered and fell into bed every night.
Stock up your freezer with meals, get takeaways, tell friends and family that you're unlikely to be in contact much so not to call or expect updates.

And make sure you know in advance what food to have in for LO when they come home as you probably won't get a chance to go shopping between introductions and bringing them home..

It's a mad experience but also wonderful amazing and special. Ask FC to take loads of photos Grin and congratulations Flowers

user1471555041 · 24/09/2016 20:26

We have introductions next week too for a baby and our plan looks similar to yours in terms of intensity and distance to travel. We have a son too so understand how your feeling. I just keep thinking it's a week and we will all be home together. Good luck!

luckylucky24 · 24/09/2016 20:26

Thanks Matimeo, we had expected Fc to be sharing the journeys but apparently she is not confident at driving at all. On the day they are coming to us, we have chosen the day her husband is off so he can drive her.
DS will be accommodated by one of us staying home with him whilst the other collects and returns lo. He will be oblivious to anything until the Thursday so hopefully his week (and most days) will be shorter, it is just us parents who will be shattered.
On day 2 and 3 of lo being home, DS will (hopefully) be at nursery so maybe we can take turns having a nap when lo does to ease the exhaustion and keep us going.

OP posts:
luckylucky24 · 24/09/2016 20:33

Lemon I am already telling myself that I need to let DH have a significant part in this process. I was quite selfish with our birth son. He was BF so I did feeds and then changed nappies and often when DH asked I just said I would do it. He then resigned himself to doing nothing until DS got a bit older and stopped trying and we have had to work really hard to rebuild DS and DH relationships. This time I am doing my best to let DH be an equal parent. Yes I will be the main carer but DH is home for a month and I want him to bond too.
User, good luck next week. I really hope it goes well for you.

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marmalade999 · 24/09/2016 20:47

We did it living about 90 mins away. It's exhausting. Thankfully foster carers were good and if we arrived a bit late some mornings because of traffic they were fine. Ss paid half our hotel costs and sadly didn't tell us we had a breakfast/dinner allowance they would have reimbursed. You will go on auto pilot and do it. Good luck x

CheeseAtFourpence · 24/09/2016 21:22

Similar to ours but we didn't have 6am starts - that's madness. And we had a super FC who met us half way and let us tweak things to suit us and her. She was also integral in helping us speak to our SW and DD's in shortening intros by a couple of days. Still the most exhausting time of our lives. We could barely speak by day 4. Good luck - it will all be worth it Smile

Thefishewife · 24/09/2016 21:44

This sounds correct

And Can I just say as Somone who fostered and adopted and has a birth child you can't really learn routines it's almost impossible to keep routines the same

Your Diffrent people with Diffrent lives for example Out FC put our dd to be at 6:30 we had to change this day one because 6:30 is way to early

Clockworklemon · 24/09/2016 21:57

Agree. it was more about the handover of care, from FC to us, LO to get used to us being their carer and no longer FC (obviously in a v short period of time) to make the transition as least traumatic as possible for LO and routines were useful but it wasn't the main purpose of introductions.

Good luck to all of you with introductions coming soon.

greenandblackssurvivalkit · 24/09/2016 22:26

FC often won't drive, as they don't get paid mileage, and sometimes adopters do.

We were supposed to have a 6am start. FC said she always agrees to this at the meeting, and then she and the adopters just don't bother, on the quiet, because they didn't want us in their house at 6am, and we didn't want to be up at 5:30!

You do want to be spending as long as possible with the child, so the quick jump to 8 hours is probably a good thing, getting LO used to you being the main carers. You actually don't want shorter days.

Get out of the FC house as soon as possible, as much as possible, to allow LO to look to you to look after them.

If you ask for less intense introductions, don't be surprised if that turns in to long and torturous introductions. Be careful what you wish for. Buy a lot of ready meals, wine and chocolate.

I hate to say it, but you'll be even more sleep deprived once LO is home!

matimeo · 24/09/2016 23:54

"We were supposed to have a 6am start. FC said she always agrees to this at the meeting, and then she and the adopters just don't bother, on the quiet, because they didn't want us in their house at 6am, and we didn't want to be up at 5:30!"

Our second intros, the FC just ignored the plan- telling us to arrive at 10ish rather than 8am and shooing us out on our own straight away. It worked well and was much less stressful, but I would have felt very lost without the more intense support with our first child.

"I hate to say it, but you'll be even more sleep deprived once LO is home!"

Dear God yes, two small ones is much harder work than one.

Keep receipts and then try to claim everything back- I think most LAs still pay for stuff like food and petrol but they wont tell you. Just ask for the forms afterwards.

Make hubby do half- get him in good habits now. My wife tried to take over a bit at first but I was having none of it- it's bad enough for us (usually) blokes, having to work, because they always bond a little more with the main carer.

Italiangreyhound · 25/09/2016 00:47

That looks really similar to us, but much earlier starts than we had!

We adopted our son aged 3 when we had a 9 year old birth daughter. We lived about half an hour from the foster carer. We only have one car so it was complicated. Our dd met ds on day two so our day two was much shorter, 4 and a half hours, not 8.

We also had much later starts.

I would try not to worry too much about keeping thing too normal for your existing child, I mean it is nice to do so as much as you can but it is only 8 days, and it is not a normal time, IMHO.

I'd also not worry too much about bonding, just do the best you can. That will all come.

IMHO I would just enjoy your time with your new little one, make friends with the foster carer/s because their knowledge and insights might be useful. And try and enjoy the time. It does go very fast.

Kr1stina · 25/09/2016 02:41

I know it's exhausting. But the only alternative is long drawn out introductions, which are worse.

I'm afraid it's normal for the FC not to drive . You are lucky you stay so close and there are two of you to share the driving . I'd just try to negotiate with the FC over a slightly later start in the morning .

But you will be exhausted for the next year or so, there's no way round it I'm afraid.

luckylucky24 · 25/09/2016 08:48

We have been tired for the last 4 years (DS still doesn't sleep through) so we will manage. A few very early night required when she is first placed and we will survive.
Thanks for all your replies. Tomorrow is the big day!

OP posts:
flapjackfairy · 25/09/2016 09:05

Oh how exciting. Good luck

Thefishewife · 25/09/2016 11:25

If this helps op when our children met out dd the first day they had a short visit and then the next day they stayed until board then dh took the children home and as I was the main carer I stayed

We live 3 hours away from FC she drove just not over moterways so would only drive locally 🙁

Thefishewife · 25/09/2016 11:28

"We were supposed to have a 6am start. FC said she always agrees to this at the meeting, and then she and the adopters just don't bother, on the quiet, because they didn't want us in their house at 6am, and we didn't want to be up at 5:30!"

Our second intros, the FC just ignored the plan- telling us to arrive at 10ish rather than 8am and shooing us out on our own straight away. It worked well and was much less stressful, but I would have felt very lost without the more intense support with our first child.


You nod and smile at the meeting with the sw then yu pretty much do whatever we took dd out on our own on day two we had fostered for 7 years adopted before nd had a birth child we didn't need to be taught to suck eggs she just let us get on

OlennasWimple · 27/09/2016 03:14

This looks similar to our intros plan (we also had a bc to factor into the equation, which does complicate things I think)

The key thing on the timings is that you should be there when LO gets up so that you are giving breakfast, getting dressed and all the other caregiver activities. If LO doesn't actually get up until 8am, say, there's no point you being there so early. So work with the FC to agree timings that make the most sense in terms of the purpose of introductions (to transition care from FC to you) but without completely knackering you.

Though TBH it's a real emotional roller coaster anyway, so even 10am-2pm would probably leave you feeling wiped out....

Good luck to you and anyone else about to embark on this wonderful experience Flowers

luckylucky24 · 27/09/2016 07:42

Thanks, we started yesterday and it went well.
FC said what most have, that we will work it out between us.
Lo wakes at 6 but doesn't eat or dress until 7/7.30am so 6am seems a bit early but we will do it at least once.

OP posts:
Italiangreyhound · 27/09/2016 08:39

Fab. Smile

Kr1stina · 29/09/2016 13:14

How's it going ?

luckylucky24 · 29/09/2016 20:23

We took DS to meet lo early this morning and he was great, has been all day. He played nicely - most of the time, was gentle, kind, loving and even sang her a lullaby when she was upset after her bath and didn't want to get dressed.
She has made very very little fuss. Just when tired. Lets us do everything and has been at our house most of the day no problem. She is fab.
The reality of two children hit me today. Keeping the peace and not leaving anyone out will be hard work i think.

OP posts:
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