So, husband and I are wrapping up our first experience with fostering. Our first placement was a sibling set - 2 boys, 5 and 2.
Here is a brief description of our experience with the family/social worker. The boys had been placed with their grandparents for a year and a half after removal from their parents. The grandparents decided they couldn't handle the day-to-day care, so asked for a new placement. When we were contacted, the situation was described as an open-placement; the boys would still be able to visit/stay the night with grandparents and these visits were encouraged. We met with the grandparents and they seemed very nice, so we agreed. Suddenly, it was on my shoulders to negotiate visits. Nearly as soon as the boys were placed with us, grandma called for last minute visits, nagged about their health, and insinuated we were not feeding them properly (I could run a tangent on this astoundingly expensive supplement she insisted on giving) and the social worker turned a blind eye.
We told the social worker we were not comfortable with this level of contact, and she said she would take over more, but then immediately had grandma call me to arrange a visit. Things got worse when the boys mom graduated from rehab; the social worker began asking me to host visits with her at my home, transport kids to visits at her house (a total of 1.5 hours driving for me) and supervise visits. (In this time, mom has basically abducted the 5 year old from school once, and has been nasty to me on several occasions about extra visits).
Now the social worker is giving mom the choice of keeping the boys with us or going back to grandparents, and we are more than happy to see them go - we very much love the boys, but we are TOTALLY over these interactions. I see now that this is partly on me for not setting boundaries immediately; I had assumed the social worker would see we were completely new and help guide us through this process, but instead totally took advantage of us instead.
SO: my questions for experienced foster parents:
1. Is this normal??!!?!?
2. What boundaries do you set in regards to contact with family?
3. How do you establish those boundaries?