View Full Version : Tips on transitioning my daughters to their new parents?

07-08-2005, 12:28 PM
Hi folks. I have never posted here before and actually didn't know this thread even existed. Oh I would have so been on it months ago.
Anyway, brief history on us for those of you who don't read the bitching post.
My partner and I have fostered two beautiful glorious wonderful children for the past 2.5 years. The baby has been with us since she was born. Their mother is soon to be released from prison and she has decided to place them for adoption. I unfortunately have had no contact with her since finding this out only days ago. But it is my thought that she was under the impression the girls would stay where they are.
Due to Anita Bryant and Jeb Bush and a few other homophobic right wingers, we cannot adopt the girls. We are heartbroken over this and think it is very wrong of them to take them from us. But our hands are tied.
So yesterday we met the couple who will be adopting them. Honestly I really really liked them (you can read this whole saga on the bitching post) and while I do not want anybody but myself and my partner raising our children, they are wonderful people and will be wonderful parents.
The SW we have is mediocre, and since DCF really does not have their best interests in mind, they are not much help about how to acclimate them. We have a few months before this is all said and done, and we'll start spending more time with the adoptind couple, but I want to make this as painless as possible. Add to the fact that my partner is 9.5 mos pregnant and we're currently in the path of ANOTHER hurricane and you have one really stressful and highly emotional situation.
The girls are 3.5 and two (last weekend) and have no conscious awareness of having any other family or home.
I know that this is kind of the opposite of what everyone else has experienced, but I would be very appreciative of any info or advice you may have.

07-08-2005, 03:06 PM
E -

My boys have been through a situation very similar to this. My DH and I adopted the boys when they were young. They had lived their lives with their firstmom, who struggled with them and ultimately made the sacrifice to place them with us. It was a semi-open adoption in that she chose us to parent her sons and was the one who introduced us to the boys. The boys were counseled by an excellent therapist prior to placement. Our situation is different from yours because it was not a fully-open adoption with visitation like you are describing with your situation. However, we do now have a fully-open adoption with my daughter's birthmom. My DD is 18 months old. My advice to you is to find a therapist who has dealt with a situation like this for the girls asap. We adopted my sons in FL so I might be able to help you find someone if you need some assistance. With lots of love and reassurance, your girls will do great! My sons are very confident and know that they are loved by their birthfamilies as well as their forever families. I know you aren't the birthfamily, but you are mom and therefore very important to your girls. Please let me know if you want more specifics on their counseling. I admire you for loving your girls unconditionally and wanting to help them through this very difficult time. It is a truly great momma who puts her kids' needs and feelings before her own!

07-08-2005, 04:01 PM
Ok., our situation was very different, but I can give you some of what i would have wished for. Let me first say things you probably will and won't want to hear. No matter what you do, your girls are going to grieve. Obviously, there is no way to make this painless. But kids are also resilient and, assuming the adoptive parents are good people who get them the needed help (it sounds like a pp has good resources to offer), they will get through this.

Our son was 19 months when we adopted him, so a little younger than both of your girls. He was in an orphanage, so it's a *very* different background. however, he had a "foster" mother who worked at the orphanage and took him home at night, so he did have one person bonded with him.

What I did not like: An abrupt tranfer (in our case, they literally spent 3, we have it on tape, yes 3, minutes, before leaving our son with us). The longer you can spend with the adoptive parents as a group and can stand being positive and gradually leave the kids with them for longer and longer periods without showing negativity, the better. I can't begin to imagine how hard this would be. But, the kids opinions are going to come from you. If they get they you are negative, they will be negative as well.

We did not get enough information. You can not possibly give them enough information. Every little piece of information, no matter how trivial you may think it is, is gold to the adoptive parents. Routines, favorites, how to comfort, nicknames, fears, types of soap you use etc. I mean everything. They should be planning to adjust themselves to your kids routines and preferences and it's soooo hard when you don't know what they are.

If you have doubles of any of their baby pictures, or have the time sto make copies, that would be not only a priceless gift for the adoptive parents but for your children as they age. I was able to get 6 pictures of my sone from age 3 months to 17 months, which is jsut so rare for Chinese adoptions, and I could have just cried to be able to show him a true baby picture.

Some of the things I would really think you should talk to a good adoption couselor about now. It's so complicated and I don't think I'm really complicated to give much advice beyond what I hated and what I would have liked.

Again, I am so sorry that this is happening to your family. My heart is with you.

07-08-2005, 06:14 PM
I am so sorry for this situation, but as an adoptive mama I just have to tell you how much I appreciate all that her foster mother did for her. In a million years I could never express my gratitude enough. She will always be an important member of our family even though she is in another country. I don't know any details of your situation other than what you've posted here and in the Bitching forum so I'm really just making some broad suggestions.

If you have never explained that this situation could occur one day, then I think this is going to be very difficult, especially for your oldest daughter. The general consensus in the foster/adoption world right now is to be very open with children about foster/adoption.

Again, I don't know your specific situation, but our foster mama spent so much time telling our daughter about us, telling her that we were mami and papi, etc. She was so young so of course she did not understand it, but it's important that we even have all these videos of her with them and them saying "say hi to mami and papi".

I totally agree with the PP that your reactions to this situation are critical. Your daughters will pick up on any negativity that you feel. It may be difficult too with the new baby coming. They may view it as you are trying to get rid of them to make room for the new baby. It breaks my heart to type that because it's obvious you are in so much pain and I (as an adult) know that is not the case at all. But, children perceive things differently than we do.

I also agree that your children may need a counselor to help them understand this situation.

Absolutely put together some kind of memory book, photos, letters, anything. Their schedules, likes, dislikes, fears. The adoptive parents will treasure these like gold.

My sister is a social worker with over 20 years experience with foster care and more recently adoption. I'm going to talk to her this weekend and I'll see if she has some other advice.

This site is the best resource for adoption literature for children of all ages, for just about every situation. Here is the link to the foster care section:



07-21-2005, 05:21 PM
How are you guys doing?

07-22-2005, 12:00 AM

I am so sorry...

I read your posts for the first time 4 hours ago and it has taken me this long to be able to stop crying and write something. I am a therapist who works with children ages 0-6 most of whom experienced some kind of trauma, were in foster care, etc. My dd was adopted from Guat at 11 mos of age.

First, I have to ask (although I am sure if there was a way you would have looked into this already) does the birthmom have no rights in demanding that they stay with you?

Anyway, back to your question about preparing the girls. I can't say I have a great answer, but I would say to make sure that you DON'T lie to them (don't tell them they will stay with some friends for a little while, etc). I am not sure of exactly how I would explain this to them, but it is okay (even good) for them to know that you are very, very sad that they cannot continue to live with you. Even though this may fuel the anger that tney may have to their new adoptive family, it is important to their self-worth/ability to trust that you don't minimize the love/attachment you have to them. You can also tell them that since they can't stay with you, you are happy they are going to such great people and talk about how great their new parents are. As far as the actual transition it would be great if you could all be together for a period of time (days or even weeks) to help them feel comfortable with the new parents (of course they will still grieve for you, but at least they will also "know" the new parents). On the other hand, it might also be good if the final "transfer" happened at the social worker's office. That way they wouldnt associate another place (the park, their new home, etc) as some place where a bad thing can happen to them out of the blue.

If you want to talk to the new parents about therapy for the girls, I would recommend they look for a therapist who works from an attachment/relationship point of view. The emphaisis would be on security, relationships, and getting the girls' needs met, rather than behavioral or other types of goals.

Finally, someone posted info about this book on one of my adoption listserves:

I Miss My Foster Parents

A sweet story written by a child who was adopted from the foster care
system. He shares his fears about leaving his foster home to move in with a
new adoptive family. Very realistic and honest, "I Miss My Foster Parents"
may help other children feel that they are not alone in missing their foster
parents and depicts the relationship continuing with phone calls, cards, and
visits. Hopefully this book will serve as a reminder to adoptive parents to
keep connections with past care givers.

Illustrated by the 7-year-old author Stefon Herbert and his older brother
Shaun Herbert. Shaun assisted with the illustrations that were more
difficult for Stefon, such as the ones showing action or proper body

The illustrations will catch a child's eye and depicts emotions that
children can identify with.

About the Author
Stefon Herbert came into foster care at the age of three. He was adopted at
the age of six with his sibling Latisha. They have three other birth
siblings in which they remain in contact with as well as two other adopted

At the age of 7, Stefon's honesty is seen in "I Miss My Foster Parents". The
fear and sadness he felt during this time in his life will be of comfort to
children who may be feeling the same emotions.

Final Thoughts and Information
"I Miss My Foster Parents" is an honestly written book by an expert on the
subject - a former foster child.

"I Miss My Foster Parents" is recommended for children ages 4-8.

(Published by Child Welfare League of America, Inc., 1991
ISBN 0-87868-476-X)

I have never read it and know nothing more about it than it says here. Also, your kids are young for it now (well, at least your younger daughter is) and I know that you are their parents to them, not their foster parents, but at some point they may recognize some of their families in this book and also know it is okay to love both sets of their families. It may also be useful to the new adoptive parents in this way.

Take care,