I have three fosters- Bubbie-7, Little Miss-5 and Sassypants-2
They have a "dad" who doesn't have any rights and can't even foster them, that ask us to call him every night. I want him to be involved, he is the one who has been taking care of these kids when their mom is strung out, but when he calls, he just feeds into their... pity party. I know that sounds heartless, but instead of helping them cope, he just goes "I know, honey, this is so hard." "This is rough." "This is a terrible situation." and never adds anything positive except "But at least you're safe, that's just I have to keep telling myself." It's all very "Eeyore". When the kids get off the phone with him, they cry and cry. It even got to the point that Bubbie didn't want to call his dad anymore because he was just sad all the time and it made Bubbie sad. He also makes sure that he tells the kids how sad it makes him when they don't call him every day. This causes the kids to stress when we don't get the call in and then feel guilty when they don't want to call. I have two biological daughters who are very involved in their school activities, and sometimes we get home late, or have running around to do and don't get home until bedtime. I don't let them call on those nights because it takes an hour or more for all three of them to talk to him.
I am at such a loss as to what to do. Any help and advice is appreciated. This is our first time fostering and it is a kinship placement.
I want to be clear that I'm not an expert in anything, and I've muddled through with my own kids. I also haven't fostered, so I can't speak to those kinds of relationships. That said...
You said you want him to be involved since he had been (clearly not anymore?) taking care of them, and it sounds kind of like you feel that he's owed that. I'd try to make sure that first you know what's best for the kids. Your responsibility is to them, not to him. If there's a version of that that also includes that feeling of "owing him", then cool. But if there's no good from it, it doesn't seem like a great thing to continue.
I also have no clue how responsible he is, but perhaps you could also say "hey, here's the problem with these calls: A, B, C. And here are the ground rules: no pity party." If he can't figure it out then remind him. If he still can't figure it out, I'd stop the calls.
Another possibility would be to shake up the schedule a bit. Maybe limit once or twice a week. You could do that and also have ground rules.
Recently we adopted an 18yo daughter. There were stressful calls with her bioparents as well. She made it clear that when the adoption was final, she didn't want communication with them. I can tell she still would like their approval, but it was a good decision and something that she needs right now. Eventually maybe that'll change, but for now no communication is what she needs.
I started out by trying to smooth things over and take less drastic measures. I'm glad that I tried, because I'm confident that her course is the correct one, but sometimes drastic measures have to happen.
Of course, in our case she's an adult and can do whatever she wants. And it's easier to understand how she feels and what she needs than a small child, but it's still complicated.