We had looked after our little girl for two years when she went to her adoptive parents. We requested if it would be possible for us to keep in touch with her. We were fortunate and lucky enough that her adoptive parents accepted this and the role that we had had in this little girl’s life. It is also with the clear knowledge that if it was detrimental to her that we would not continue with it. This was six years ago and we still meet up a few times each year to catch up swap birthday/Christmas gifts. She is now attached to her parents and is still happy to meet us and remind her mum about it too if too much time has passed.
Please keep up this research. It needs to be proven that the foster carers have a significant role in these children's lives whether they are adopted or moved to other foster carers. There is bereavement for the child as well as the foster carers attached to each loss whether it be a positive or negative move. Anything done to salvage each bit of positive relationship is worth it in the long run building the child's resilience and more importantly trust in others.
Our little girl we always insisted that we would see her foster family and went against the social workers advice and saw them earlier (about 8 weeks) … no dramas, and have seen them multiple times since. In fact, she missed their son more as she was more lonely at home without someone to play with. …. Not being able to go to her birthday party was just silly and a year later we have forged a more natural arrangement which again goes against the grain, so they see each other in holidays and go to each others parties etc. Like a normal family member rather than a formal arrangement.
Sometimes I think adopters think more about themselves and not the wishes of the children. They are so busy in the "our family, go away now" mode, whether that be nervousness about being seen as their parents, a question of jealousy or burying head in the sand.
Best of luck with the research! Changing the attitudes of especially first time adopters is key so they aren't scared of the extended family, and realise what benefits it can bring.
Even before introductions foster carers are made to feel unimportant and are not allowed to know the address of adopters, despite introductions taking place in the home of the foster carers. We did not get to see our foster child for five months. When we did meet up, he was overjoyed to see us and our children. Unfortunately since then we have received no further contact. All foster carers are advised that they are not allowed to phone or email the adopters. The adopters have to make contact.
We had no problems at all during introductions or during the meet up. We can only presume that they feel insecure. However we would dearly love our foster child to know how precious they are to us! We loved her every bit as much as our own children, who have had to come to terms with the fact that they will not be a part of this little girl’s life and will probably never see her again.
Please please disseminate your research! Foster carers do an amazing job! Change attitudes, starting with the social workers and then move onto the adopters!!
Before introductions my wife was very concerned that she would cry when the time came to say goodbye to the child. She did not want to upset the child. … On the day the child left, the social worker commented how well the child coped. It is only after reading your research, that I realise that she was just being compliant! Heartbreaking! no-one is looking after the emotional needs of these children, when they move from foster care.
I would be overjoyed if you could be some sort of catalyst for change. As foster carers, we are powerless!
We fostered a girl for nearly 3 years. ….It took a lot longer than expected to get an adoptive family and by which time she had become a very special member of our family. She met the adopting couple on a Monday and saw them for a couple of hours … every day for 5 days. There was no contact over that weekend and then they took her to see their home on the next Monday. On Tuesday they came and took her forever. We have more or less been 'dumped' and it’s like a death in the family. I rang her SW and was given the minimum of news and worry constantly that she is experiencing the same feelings as us and having a total ban on hearing anything about us. I'm totally in favor of the adoption and did my best to make the move go as smoothly as possible and I understand that she needs to be allowed to settle in but I cannot see how it can help either her, or us, to have just totally disappeared out of each others lives. Because of my experience I'll never long term foster again.
I totally agree with further training and support with prospective adopters around attachments and the importance retaining meaningful contact.