Hello all, happily we are adopting 2 girls from the foster care system ages 2 and 4. Right now we are in the "transition" phase where we visit and go to their appointments so they are familiar with us. I have read many books etc. But for those of you who have been through it, what are your suggestions for transitioning and bringing them home? Would love to hear your advice.
DianeS
made some really good points I feel.
So I suggest taking her advice along with the others listed above as well.
If you do this is should help alot I feel.
Originally posted by DianeS
Talk to their foster parents, and make friends with them. The fewer things that change from one home to the next, the less worry the children will have, and you'll need their help to accomplish that.
Get their schedule down pat, and use it in your home for the first several days/weeks before transitioning the schedule to the one that will work for you.
Use the same soap, fabric softener, air freshener. Cook the same foods. Smells are very familiar to children.
Do their rooms in the same colors, keep the same bed placement, etc. (And take pictures of their rooms to put in that photo album they'll keep at the foster home.)
Take as much of the children's stuff with you as you can. Their clothes, toys, books, bedsheets, shampoo, etc. If the things they use at the foster home don't belong to the children, offer to purchase them from the foster parents or to replace them with new items.
Be sure that they are being told who you are. Maybe not right away because of their ages, but they should know you as mom and dad before they move in. If possible, foster mom should call you that (ie: "you get to visit your mom tomorrow", "lets look at the picture of your family", "your dad sent this book, would you like to hear it at bedtime tonight?"
And finally, keep life boring for the first few weeks they live with you. It'll be very tempting to take them everywhere and show them off, but don't. It'll also be tempting to take them around to do all the "childish" things you've wanted to do with them for so long, but don't. They need to get to know YOU, and that's best accomplished calmly in the home - baking cookies, painting fingernails, playing games, being normal. Keep gifts and attention from outsiders to a minimum. Put off the "welcome home" party for a few weeks or a month. Etc. It's hard to do that, but usually well worth it!
And congratulations!
Discipline and set boundaries the same as the Foster Parents.
When the child has a temper tantrum. What works for them?
Schedule one on one time with each child!
I am hopeing to adopt out of state. The children I am being consedered for are very bonded to their foster parents. How long usually do out of state transitions take place? DH is a CPA, and this is the begining of tax session. DH won't have alot of time available soon. Can transition take place with just one of the parents, or do both parents have to be there for the whole process...I realize the more time spent with the children, the easyer it will be for them; DH just wont have the time
Thanks for all your great ideas! They are in the same large city as us so we are able to see them a few times a week, transition time is a month, (it can be more depending on the particular childs needs) and yes we do work up to overnights. The nice thing is that thier therapist who has worked with them for a year is staying with them through the transition, and after for awhile so that there is always someone they are familiar with. I'm finishing up the photo books to take them tommorow, and am planning on bringing books, coloring books as suggested to interact. We won't be running around too much the first couple of weeks because I also have 2 bio kids (4,and 9 months) so that should keep us home for plenty of bonding! I hadn't thought about phone calls, that is a neat idea, I also wondered about doing a video their fostermom could play for them.
I think the idea of the video is a wonderful idea.
I have seen that listed in books as well,
What I had posted above was just a small amount of what I have seen.
Anyways I wish you the very best in this
and if I can be of any help to you feel free to contact me.
Take care and may God bless.
Originally posted by happydaze
Thanks for all your great ideas! They are in the same large city as us so we are able to see them a few times a week, transition time is a month, (it can be more depending on the particular childs needs) and yes we do work up to overnights. The nice thing is that thier therapist who has worked with them for a year is staying with them through the transition, and after for awhile so that there is always someone they are familiar with. I'm finishing up the photo books to take them tommorow, and am planning on bringing books, coloring books as suggested to interact. We won't be running around too much the first couple of weeks because I also have 2 bio kids (4,and 9 months) so that should keep us home for plenty of bonding! I hadn't thought about phone calls, that is a neat idea, I also wondered about doing a video their fostermom could play for them.
I just thought about those little books from the 80s that came with records... remember those?
How about duplicating that idea with storybooks and cassette tapes? You could read several stories onto cassette tapes, and give them (along with the books) to the foster mother. Those could be played to help them remember your voice (especially at hard times like bedtime). Then the books could come back when the children move, and you'd have a ready-made ritual.
(This might help especially well with your long-distance transition, too, mina2u.)
You do make a good point Julianna.
I do suggest getting the ok from the foster parents
before doing anything.
I should have stated that earlyer.
Glade Julianna brought it up :).
Also the foster parent or parents may have other idea's of how to help.
Thanks
cya.
Originally posted by JuliannaTeresa
I would ask the Foster Mom or Parents how they feel about the videos!
Some feel very threatened!
I would ask the fosterparent first, because if they aren't comfortable with it, then they won't play it. I have met her and she is very open about the whole thing and helpful. I have read Toddler Adoption and that is definately a fabulous resource. We are of course so excited right now and wondering if there is any bit of info we have missed, LOL. 3 of my siblings were also adopted so it is always nice to just ask my mom, but nowadays I think everyone is more aware of how traumatic all of this can be on kids. They have been very lucky to have only been in one foster home.
You sound like a wonderful person with a good head on your shoulders.
I hope all works for you.
I was wondering if I may Pm you to talk about the toddler adoption book?
Originally posted by happydaze
I would ask the fosterparent first, because if they aren't comfortable with it, then they won't play it. I have met her and she is very open about the whole thing and helpful. I have read Toddler Adoption and that is definately a fabulous resource. We are of course so excited right now and wondering if there is any bit of info we have missed, LOL. 3 of my siblings were also adopted so it is always nice to just ask my mom, but nowadays I think everyone is more aware of how traumatic all of this can be on kids. They have been very lucky to have only been in one foster home.
Hi there
We had a two week transition period. The children (aged 2 and 3) had a photo album of us and our house before they actually met us and from the first meeting wanted to call us Mammy and Daddy.
We got on very well with their Foster Mother which I think helped a great deal - everyone was at ease with each other which was good for the children. She wrote a detailed list of their daily routine down for us which we followed, and still do to some extent. She also warned us of any behaviour patterns we could expect and how she dealt with them. The children are doing brilliantly, especially the youngest, who was very attached to her Foster Mother and in the beginning would not have a lot to do with me.
Lynne
WOW! Lots of great information. I only have a couple of comments.
The story book/cassette idea is great. The aparents for our fchildren sent one of those micro players with recordings and a book with a matching stuffed toy. The kids loved it and wanted to hear them over and over. The video would have been nice also but somehow got smazhed in the mail so I didn't get to try it first hand.
The phone calls were good but we found after several hours the first weekend that we had to ask for them to limit it to 15 munutes per child. That was very doable and plenty for all.
Not ony make friends with the foster family but please treat them with respect. Your children will be watching how you treat their caregivers. Remember, they have been caring for your children for several weeks, maybe months or years. Their contribution isn't trivial. Of course its not your responsibility to take care of the fparents but common courtesy can be overlooked in the excitement.
Send pillowcases, towels and if possible, small blankets from your home for them to cuddle and to get use to your smells. Like has already been said, smells are very important. If they can sleep with these things or use your towels after bathing (don't get new stuff, grab something from the linen closet) it will help with the bonding process.
Don't buy all new things for your kids and then toss or box up everything they have. It sends a message that they don't have anything to offer. That their life before you wasn't worth anything. That's not a message anyone wants to send and certainly isn't healthy to receive. They can slowly start replacing things as they go. One of our foster chilren wanted to take a pillowcase with her to remember me but he aparents told us that they bought all new sheets, cases, blankets, comforters, etc and that anything we sent would be boxed up so we didn't see the point in sending it.
HTH
Thanks all for your input, it is wonderful to talk with people who understand. MamaJem you are absolutely right, the fosterparent does deserve respect. We are so greatful to her for taking such loving care of the girls, she was the first positive parent model they have ever had. She has definately contributed to their lives and their ability to love. I really do appreciate the great work that good foster parents do, I have 3 adopted sibs so I know the impact for good or otherwise that foster parents have on a childs life. We hope that their fostermom will stay in contact with them.
Dark Fate, you are welcome to Pm me about the book or any other info I can share, I am a readaholic, webaholic, LOL
We are on the verge of going to Ecuador to pick up our 2 year old daughter. We used to live in Ecuador, and she was allowed to live with us for 7 months. We had to leave the country and move to the U.S. before any of the adoption matters were sorted out. The little girl had to go back to the orphanage where she originally lived. That was almost a year ago. Since then, she has certainly forgotten us, and our 5 year old has forgotten what it is like to have another child around. In addition to all of this, she has forgotten all of the English she was exposed to and now only understands Spanish. On top of everything, she is black and we are white living in a white town.
So.......any ideas about transitioning? Should our son go down with us to pick her up? Should he and I stay in Ecuador until we can all come back together or should he and I come back earlier and get her room ready and buy her clothes and toys? He is in kindergarten and will miss several weeks of school if we stay down the whole time. I want for both of the kids to have the easiest transition possible in what has been a very difficult year for all of us, esp. for our little girl. She could be a total wreck...we just don't know how she is doing after being "abandoned" by us. By the way, we had no choice. We were forced to return her.
So, ANY and ALL suggestions would be appreciated.
:confused:
Wow! What a crazy and wonderful time you must be having right now. We were in your EXACT spot this time last year. We adopted a 2 1/2 year old and a 3 1/2 year old out of foster care. Most of the suggestions you got are good. But I have a biggy.
As I look back now, I have a few regrets. The first is not knowing more about attachment disorder. Somewhere I read that most kids that come out of foster care have some level of it. There is a book called "Attaching in Adoption" by Deborah D. Gray. PLEASE read it before the kids move in. If time is an issue, then just read chapter 8. One issue with kids of the ages that you are adopting is that you weren't able to "baby" them. That is how a strong attachment is often formed between mother and child. You will have to go back, regress a little, and baby your toddler and preschooler. Chapter 8 of that book talks about the different stages of attachment, ways to reinforce attachment, and ways to know when a child is securely attached.
We were so happy. Our kids hugged and kissed us during our visits. They called us Mommy and Daddy the first night they moved in. We were overjoyed. Little did we know that those are two big signs of an attachment disorder. I have a journal posted here with a lot of info about what we went through and are going through. I wish someone had given me this advice last year. It would have helped a lot.
Based on what I have learned now, the biggest mistakes we made were the following. We spent too much time worrying about them being comfortable with our family. Right now it is all about you, your partner if you have one, and the kids. No one else. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, whatever....will fall into place later. If you introduce too many people too quick, the kids won't understand that YOU are the primary caregiver. If you're doing an album I would actually recommend it be just about the people and pets that are going to live in your house, and no one else.
The holidays are coming up. I now firmly believe that this is the worst time of year to adopt because everyone is going to want to be around your kids and spoil them. Please keep your distance. We didn't and we paid dearly. In some ways, we're still paying for those mistakes.
Please PM me any time. I so don't want to see you make the same mistakes we did. A lot of the other things are somewhat trivial. Yes, it's nice if kids have the same sheets. Yes, it's nice if their bedroom is the same color. But the biggy is that those kids begin attaching to you immediately and understanding the difference between you and other people. Kids their age don't automatically understand the distinction between nuclear family, extended family, friends, acquaintances and strangers. This has to be taught...especially with kids who have been in foster care, who often move in with strangers and treat many strangers as their next potential parents.
OK...I've said an awful lot! Sorry! Please let me know if you have any other questions.
Good Luck! You'll be in my thoughts!