This week’s interview is with ‘Kate’ who tells us all about her experience of introductions when she met her little one. You can follow her on Instagram @our_pebble_life
How old were your child(ren) when you met them?
Just under a year old when we met.
What did you do to prepare for meeting them? (e.g. photo book, slept with a toy)
We slept with a soft toy and made some large laminated photos of us. The foster carer put the photos where they’d be seen by little one regularly.
We asked lots of questions, particularly to the foster carer, about little one’s development, routines, personality and much more.
How long after matching panel did introductions start?
Introductions started about three weeks after matching panel. Between linking and matching it was almost three months which was a frustrating delay at the time.
When did you get the introductions plan?
If I remember rightly I think it was after matching panel so probably about a week or so before introductions.
How long were introductions planned for?
Our introductions were planned for nine days.
Did you have far to travel for introductions? If you did, did you stay in a hotel or travel each day?
We travelled daily as our journey wasn’t particularly lengthy.
What happened on the first day? How did it go? How did you feel at the end of it?
Our visit lasted a few hours and started around mid morning. We gave our little one a bit of space initially but interacted playfully so as not to overwhelm too much. This helped us to start building a positive relationship at the same time.
I felt excited and anxious on the first day. Excited that the day had finally arrived when I would meet our little one and start my journey as a mama, but also anxious whether there would be an instant connection and how little one would respond to us. For us there was a spark between us from day one, which was amazing.
After the day was over I felt knackered but on cloud nine and couldn’t wait to see little one the next day.
What were the next few days like?
As we built our relationship with our little one we took on more responsibilities for their care and the foster carer took a step back. Our experience was very positive and each day we felt that our little one was feeling more and more comfortable being looked after by us. There were really positive signs that they understood that we were their primary carers (rather than the foster carers) and starting to attach to us.
The days were of course exhausting and we really felt the need to debrief each evening (mostly at a pub or over a take-away, as the thought of cooking was too much to comprehend!). We also tried to get as much rest as possible. I found that difficult as I couldn’t stop thinking about little one and counting down the hours until we’d see them again.
At what stage did your child visit your home?
On day four of introductions
How did that work?
Again their first visit to our home was a very positive experience. They were accompanied by the foster carer but were very comfortable in our care and happily played for the few hours that the visit lasted.
Did you have any contact with your or your child’s social worker during introductions?
Yes, on the first and last days as well as at a mid point meeting which reviewed how things were going. We were also able to contact them via phone or email. I think they were also in daily contact with the foster carers.
Did they last as long as planned?
How did you get on with the foster carers?
Really well. They made us feel really welcome and supported us in getting to know our little one. Before we met little one, they gave us a lot of detailed information which meant we could fully take on our little one’s care whilst we were in their home. They balanced the need to take a backseat so we could be primary carers whilst letting us know what little ones routines and preferences and so on were.
Were there any problems during introductions? If so what and how were they resolved?