Thursday, 5 April 2012

Social worker visits, farms, and a reunion with the foster carers

It's been a fun packed couple of days, I didn't get a chance to post last night as we had a late visit from our social worker.

Yesterday we spent at home again, save an hour where we went to the park to burn off some energy. The boys foster carers came over for lunch yesterday, the first time the boys had seen them since they moved in. They handled it all very well, they were pleased to see them and gave them plenty of hugs, but they were also equally huggy with us, so it didn't feel as though they boys were relieved to get them back. We had a nice lunch and the boys showed them some of their new things. They only stayed about 90 minutes, all part of the procedure - it's about showing the boys that their previous carers haven't just forgotten them,  but at the same time, making it clear that they aren't responsible for them anymore either.

It was a bit strange at times, having two other people giving parental instructions which was bound to happen when they've been responsible for them for so long, but the boys were brilliant and J&P commented to us that they feel the boys have settled incredibly well, saying that of all these first visits they've done with previous children they've moved on to adopters, the children have never seemed so calm and settled, and all in all of their other cases there's been toileting issues and dirty protests in the first few weeks, none of which we've had.

I wasn't sure how they would be once they left, but they barely mentioned it, Joe simply asked if J&P were looking after other children now.

After bedtime, our social worker came round. Her role now is to ensure we're coping okay and she thought it would be good to spend time with us when we were free to talk without children interupting. It was lovely to chat and to reflect on the last month, and to soak up the praise for the job we're doing.

We keep being reminded that we've taken on 'hard to place children' as most adopters won't consider children over 2 years old. We were asked what we would say to other potential adopters now that we know what we do, and we reflected and said that we would strongly urge people to consider older children. We too had our initial feelings that we wanted children as young as possible, I guess to reflect the full 'normal' parenting journey, but in reality when you look at our children you see just how young they still are, and how much they still need parenting. And in some ways, it's easier parenting hurt children when you can communicate with them - I can't imagine doing this with pre verbal children now.

Today we spent the morning at a family farm with a big play area and soft play barn which the boys loved. They were great company and had lots of fun. Just before we went out I was aware that Joe was looking a little sad and reflective, so I tried to talk to him about what might be on his mind. We talked a lot with our social worker last night about the fact that we need to recognise the boys trauma, and encourage them to talk about it and verbalise their feelings, and understand what their feelings are. That's hard to do when things are on the surface at least, going so well, as you don't really want to burst the bubble, but I do agree with the advice, so we're now looking for opportunities to talk about feelings, and this mornings mood may just have been frustration with his younger brother, but it may also have been about the grief for his fc's, so I tried to talk to him about it as the opportunity was there.

This afternoon we had a visit from the boys social worker. She took them off upstairs for a chat, and that gave us a nice chance for a 10 minute break. We then sat with her and got some great feedback and some good advice. She said she had asked Joe about how he was feeling about the foster carers and he said he was a bit sad, but he also said that he felt very happy here, so we do need to do a bit more work to encourage them to express any sadness openly.

She said that generally though, she considers this to be an amazingly positive placement so far, and she gave us some lovely feedback. The first time she met us was a week before panel, and she visited us at home. The boys had only just been assigned to her case load, so she hadn't had a chance to meet us before. She said that she looked around our lovely home, and feared that we wouldn't cope with two lively boys, as she could see how our lifestyle would be changed so much. She said today however that she had to eat those words 1000 times, as she felt we had been wonderful with the children, and that in her opinion, parenting was instinctive to us both. We left with a very warm glow!

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