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#1 of 11 Old 10-14-2011, 06:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have no idea if this is the appropriate place for this post, BUT it seems like a good place because I can still glean advice from you guys.

 

I am going to try to shorten this story as much as possible, but it will still be a bit lengthy.

 

DP is trying to get his child out of foster care. (Not his fault, read on, lol). The child was born in April. DP and his X had long been split up. His X was in jail for theft or something when child was born and signed papers for DP to get custody of child and pick him up from the hospital. Unknown to DP, his X was married when child was conceived so they would not release the child to him. They tried to contact the estranged X and he said it wasn't his child. So they set up a DNA test for DP, in AUGUST, he just got his results in September, he has been working diligently with the social workers to learn what he has to do to get his son and is on track to have him in his care by mid-November. (The only thing that is making the wait so long is the mandatory 8 week parenting classes).

 

He has a weekly visitation with his son right now, but because of staffing issues there was a 2 month period of no visits. The child is 6 months right now, so probably about 7 months when we get him.

 

I am wondering what we can do to help with adjusting? I've already told him to write out a letter asking for as many details as possible about his child from the Foster Parents so that he can try to keep consistent. And also, is it typical to let former foster parents have contact? Would they want that? How would you go about it? DP says he would still like the foster parents to have contact with him if they'd like since they have had him since birth.


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#2 of 11 Old 10-14-2011, 07:36 AM
 
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Do the foster parents know about your DP? Do they understand that he's going through the process to claim his son? They are going to need some time to adjust.

 

The best possible thing for your DSS (dear stepson, I know you're not married, but it looks like you're about to be in the stepmom "role") is to have visitation with his dad (and you!) BEFORE the custody transfer. I was allowed to have visitation in my home, with no social worker presence, between my foster son and the family members who were about to take him in. It was most definitely a good thing and I wish I had know about the kinship placement earlier, so that I could have offered more visitation. 

 

Contact between former foster parents and children who have been placed with kin is common, and it's usually a great thing. You'd go about it the same way you'd go about visiting any other relative thumb.gif

 

 

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#3 of 11 Old 10-14-2011, 09:34 AM
 
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If they let you have contact (visits, Skype, phone calls, whatever) with the foster family while the baby is with you, then definitely do it. If not, exchanging photographs is usually allowed. I lost contact with my first foster daughter's adoptive family and while sad, I'm glad that I sent as much as possible of her baby-life with her- pictures, clothes, etc. If it was my infant, I would want the same.

 

We see DS's first foster family (I was his second) a few times a year. We also have lots of contact with his relative placement (his maternal grandmother.) They are pieces of his past and are part of our extended family. DD's first foster family said they wanted contact at first but when they realized that the regretted having her move, they didn't want contact. That's fine but sad. I think I'm going to send them an e-mail to check in. We are going to start having occasional visits with her birth father and the foster family of her baby brothers (who will likely be adopting them before the year is over.)

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#4 of 11 Old 10-14-2011, 11:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

 

Do the foster parents know about your DP? Do they understand that he's going through the process to claim his son? They are going to need some time to adjust.

 

The best possible thing for your DSS (dear stepson, I know you're not married, but it looks like you're about to be in the stepmom "role") is to have visitation with his dad (and you!) BEFORE the custody transfer. I was allowed to have visitation in my home, with no social worker presence, between my foster son and the family members who were about to take him in. It was most definitely a good thing and I wish I had know about the kinship placement earlier, so that I could have offered more visitation. 

 

Contact between former foster parents and children who have been placed with kin is common, and it's usually a great thing. You'd go about it the same way you'd go about visiting any other relative thumb.gif

 

 


The foster parents DO know about him. They have been updated regularly about the court cases. I do not know if the social worker has let them know about the time frame involved though.

 

DP does have visitation with DSS, but I have been told that I am not allowed around him until he is in DP's custody because I am a non-relative. :(

 

I will tell him to suggest the visits at the foster's house. I never even thought of that but it would give him the opportunity to learn more about his son's routines, etc. in a more personal manner.


Thanks!

 


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#5 of 11 Old 10-15-2011, 02:57 PM
 
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I got my little one when he was 6 months, so around the same time. 

 

What helped me the most was knowing his schedule and any little oddities - for example, he's only ever gone down with a bottle and doesn't know how to sleep without one.   I didn't know that the first night and made the mistake of finishing the bottle before I put him down.  So imagine my surprise (and the poor screaming little guy that I couldn't soothe for the life of me) the first night...

 

BUT... other than that, we didn't really need her help.  In retrospect, we wouldn't even have bothered with the schedule.  His schedule didn't even slightly stay the same with us, and not for lack of trying, but because the heartbeat of our home is different and we all kind of adjusted our schedules to compromise with each other.

 

Visiting together definitely helped us with the transition.  We got to know him, and he got to recognize us in the presence of someone he knew and trusted before we took him home with us.

 

Good luck!

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#6 of 11 Old 10-15-2011, 05:38 PM
 
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You never know how its going to go. I had a little girl for two months (she was 11.5 months old when placed with me)...i knew she would likely go with relatives and was supportive of that. She came with so many clothes...toys even!...diapers, hair things...and hoped she'd be placed back with the relative who had her (i'd been told that after the new baby was born exposed and taken into care, the mom "hid" the other four kids with relatives, and therefore the baby was coming from one of the relatives who clearly had just gone out and bought her stuff cuz the price tags were still attached to alot of it.)

 

Still, it was weeks of no worker contact, no visits, nothing and i was starting to think well maybe she'd stay longer, then out of the blue the worker said the mom showed up in court and the next week we had a visit. After that visit the worker told me they were having a meeting at the end of the week to see "when she'd be moved" !!! we went from no contact to moving in a few days?! There was a meeting with the DHS rep, agency worker and i was included via speakerphone, unfortunately the aunt's speakerphone call was dropped somehow. But when i expressed my desire to have the aunt actually come to my home (instead of having the baby picked up by a transporter), sit and talk about the baby, so the baby could see she was going from one loving home to another (and not just being carted off by some strange guy) the DHS was SHOCKED...he acted like he'd never heard of a foster parent wanting to do this. When i suggested it would be a good idea for me to write up a letter detailing the baby's current schedule, include some pics (she'd spent her first birthday in my home and i figured she'd want pictures of that!) etc...again, total shock, he went on and ON how nice and thoughtful that was, how no one ever does that, etc. Frankly it was bizarre to me.

 

It saddened me to think that these kids are passed around and no one seems to give a thought to attachment or just basic things like emotional safety of the child. She left the next day and i packed up all her things in luggage i'd bought for her (rather than the garbage bags foster kids' things are usually transported in), made up a little album with pics and typed out a two page letter including our contact info and offer of babysitting or anything they might need, etc.

 

The aunt couldnt come to my home because she "had to work" so in the end the transport guy came and got her, the worker that was with him kept saying "do you have that letter? where's the letter?" and i couldnt decide if it was because they DIDNT want to pass on the letter (so they wanted to intercept it) or because the existence of the letter was such a big deal that they wanted to make sure it got passed on. I dunno. I do know i never heard from the relatives or any more about the child after she drove away. I wasnt particularly attached to her and wouldnt "miss her" in that way (she was kind of an aggressive baby!) and then i felt kind of stupid like maybe they were thinking "why would we want to maintain contact with this random foster parent who we think should never have had the baby to begin with?!" but in my heart i know if my relative was in care it wouldve made me feel better about it to know at least she was well cared for during that time. I provided more pictures to them of her two months with me than i EVER got for my adopted daughter who was in care for years.

 

Do the foster parents not attend visits? Where i am, i would have to transport the kids to the agency and sit in the waiting room while the visitation took place in the smaller family visiting rooms. There was opportunity for ALOT of contact with the birthparents and since we all signed in on the same sheet they knew my name. At the end of the process with my last kids, the bmom was choosing to have visitation in the larger waiting room with me and my other son instead of the tiny closet like visitation room. But i know in some areas the children are picked up and transported to the agency and there is no contact.

 

Has the dad provided pictures to the family? Maybe you could make up a little photo album with pics of him,  you, your home, whatever...doesnt have to be extensive, just a few pictures with labels of who everyone is, that they could show the baby. Maybe include a note in the diaper bag introducing yourselves, thanking them for taking such good care of the baby and suggesting you stay in contact in the future. Maybe include an email address or phone number. Foster parents often have to deal with birthfamily being negative about them (my son's father complained EVERY TIME he visited about something...what the boy was wearing, the brand of diapers, his hair...as if he thought if he could get him removed from ME he would go home. Not how it works!) so being supportive might make them feel like you're on the same team. In my experience, foster parents feel alot better about the child "going home" if they think that child is going home to a good home.

 

 


Katherine, single homeschooling mom to Boy Genius (17) geek.gif  Thing One (6) and Thing Two (6) fencing.gif and one outgoing Girl (12) bikenew.gif and hoping for more through foster care and adoption homebirth.jpgadoptionheart-1.gif 
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#7 of 11 Old 10-16-2011, 06:33 AM
 
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"...when i expressed my desire to have the aunt actually come to my home (instead of having the baby picked up by a transporter), sit and talk about the baby, so the baby could see she was going from one loving home to another (and not just being carted off by some strange guy) the DHS was SHOCKED...he acted like he'd never heard of a foster parent wanting to do this."

 

That was the reaction I got, too. Supportive, but shocked. 

 

Jane makes a great point about waiting-room visitation, OP. In my area, the biofamily and the foster family are physically separated to prevent contact, but if there's a common waiting room in your area, then might well be able to strike up a conversation the foster mom while your DP is having his visitation. It would probably do her an extreme amount of good to see that you are a respectable, friendly, motherly person. She is likely to be very bonded with your DSS at this point. If you were to "put yourself out there" first - talking about your kids, your house, maybe show some pictures on your phone? - that would probably be much appreciated. She may have been given very negative information about your DP, or may have constructed her own negative theories in the absence of any information one way or the other. 

 

I'm going to my former foster child's birthday party this afternoon thumb.gif These things can work out!

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#8 of 11 Old 10-16-2011, 06:56 PM
 
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Not all foster families will welcome you into their home. Ours did thankfully. But before that we spent A LOT of time on the phone. She also emailed me routine stuff about dd. I also got an awesome notebook filled with all the medical info stuff I needed that the state made! And a beautiful photo album from the foster family. As far as after contact that is up to you DP. We did because I feel in love with the foster family :) They were at our adoption. We still talk and they still send dd a Christmas gift. They were a part of her life for almost 9 mo, loved her, nurtured her and provided a lot of info for us, which makes them an important part of dd's life.


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#9 of 11 Old 10-19-2011, 06:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, so yesterday we were contacted (with about an hour notice, ugh) of a changed visitation and lo and behold the Foster Mama was there! She didn't stay for the whole visitation, but DP did get to meet her and asked her if she cared to answer some questions he had written up for her that he was originally going to give to the social worker. She said she'd have them answered before his next visit.

DSS lives about an hour and a half away so the visitation is a little different than usual. The transport person usually picks him up and meets DP at a McDonald's with a playplace about 20 minutes from our house. So it was definitely a surprise to see the foster mama there!

So the list asked about his routine, medical history from birth, what kind of formula and foods he is eating, etc.

The social worker talked to DP after DSS fell asleep and said she was VERY pleased with him, saw nothing to say "against" him in court, and said she is looking forward to placing DSS with DP before the end of the year. :)

After DSS gets placed with us, does DP immediately get custody or does he have a "trial period" where they monitor him?

Oh, but we won't be able to visit in the foster house, but he invited the mama to come to more visits and stay if she'd like!

Thanks for all your advice and support mamas!


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#10 of 11 Old 10-27-2011, 07:33 AM
 
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If you are able, definitely get contact info for the foster parents. Ask about his sleep routine, his food likes/dislikes, what kind of bottle and formula he takes. Ask them to send an UNWASHED blanket that smells like "home" to him, and his favorite cuddly thing. Get them to write down whatever they can. Ask if you can contact them if you have questions, and don't hesitate to do so. Most foster parents would LOVE to help ease his transition and get photographs and even have visits later down the road. Most foster parents I know get really sad and frustrated when children are reunified with their birth families and the birth families don't want to hear a thing from the foster family about what the child is like let alone having the foster family be a resource for them. Yet foster families can be great resources - Many of my friends who are former foster parents continue to babysit occasionally for the birth family or take the child for a weekend now and then, or come to birthday parties, or get sent photos. Some have become mentors or supports to the birth families (maybe not so applicable in your situation since it sounds like DP isn't  needy the way a lot of the birth families we deal with are). One thing I'd suggest is being really open to the foster family about what kind of contact you'd like to have, since some may be hesitant to seem too pushy since many birth families aren't receptive to that.

 

Don't forget to ask for photos! One really hard thing for foster kids is growing up with huge chunks of their childhood missing from the photo album. The foster family will probably be happy to send you photographs from the baby's time with them, and a photograph of them to show him when he's older.


Like other posters, CPS has always seemed OMG SO SHOCKED at the level of contact we want to have with the birth parents. They can't wrap their head around it, despite research showing that a strong relationship between foster and birth parents is only positive for the child and for reunification. I have also found waiting room interactions to be really helpful, so if your DP has visits in a place where there's a waiting room I would recommend you go and sit there so you have the opportunity to interact with the baby and foster mom if possible. It's so crazy that the baby will be moving in with you yet you don't get to be part of the visits - If the child has a CASA or law guardian, you could ask them for permission to be part of the visits. It's not unusual for a non-biological parent to be involved at least occasionally. My boys have two different dads adn the one who was more involved in both boys' lives gets to come to visits with both boys (not just his biological son) sometimes.

 

Oops, just saw your update. That is great! I would definitely recommend that DP and the foster mom exchange contact info, since you can't count on DSS to share that information. That will allow direct contact later if it's useful. Glad things are progressing!

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#11 of 11 Old 11-13-2011, 08:53 PM
 
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Oddly enough, as much as CYF harps on transitions and such during trainings, the actuality is that things operate at the drop of a hat.  No visits for months to three visits per week.  Not seeing Mom for a month to moving out and going back with Mom.  Etc.  DFD's caseworker was also amazed that I sent a little photo album w/ pix from dfd's first two weeks of life with her when she went back to her mom.  She had never seen that happen before.  What?  They provide trainings on making life books!


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