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Christmas presents from foster carers

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I'm looking for advice on how to handle our AD's foster carer. AD has been with us 2.5yrs but they still expect frequent photos and get in touch around her birthday & Christmas to give her presents. This year I was unable to meet her to collect the gifts so she left them for me to collect in work. I don't mind occasional updates for her & meeting up occasionally (AD came to us at 12 months & doesn't seem to have any memory of foster carer). My problem at Christmas is that there were 6 wrapped parcels for AD and I'm so careful that both AD & AS have the same number of parcels on Christmas morning & now with precious little time left do I have to find another 6 items for AS?? She also always gives some item of clothing which are horrendous, how do you say thanks but no thanks?? This lady has been a foster carer for many years but seems to have a real fixation with my daughter, even her WhatsApp profile picture is of her and my AD! I get on reasonably well with her despite her making our introduction period a nightmare.

Am I being petty or worrying about an non-issue or is there anything anyone would recommend?


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1 user has supported this.

Hi, I don't think you're being petty at all. It does sound as if the foster carer is rather over-attached and finding it hard to let go which I can empathise with but it is not helpful for you. I think it's a situation where you will have to put a boundary in place. Given that you're ok about occasional visits and updates, why not ask her to limit gifts to one present and explain you like the children to have the same number of presents as you said here. In terms of what the gift is, I'd accept whatever is given as you would from anyone else who gives you something - that's a side issue.


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As a former foster career myself, from day 1 of training we were trained that we are there to look after the child and our aim is to prepare the child for if or when he/she leaves our care. Having said that fcs are only human and your fc either couldn’t adopt or didn’t want to, so has become a little too invested in your child.


If you haven’t already, I would contact your sw and get the sw to have a word with the fcs. Personally I think it’s about time you take control of the situation. If your ad has little memory of their fcs, it is not up to you do deal with the fcs emotions. I would stop all contact with the fcs, including presents. If they insist on giving presents, take them but don’t give them to your ad. (Perhaps give it to her when she is older). Tell your social worker what you intend to do and he/she should back you. The only thing I would consider is letterbox contact (with no photos). Hope this helps.


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First I want to say try not to give your children always the same amounts of everything. Say 'sometimes Jack is lucky, sometimes Jill is lucky', if they notice a difference sometimes. Ofcourse 6 presents difference is a bit strange. Why do you give the presents? unpack them to see what's in it and give them to your children as you see fit, donate the rest.

Tell the fc that cards are oke (you do not have to give those either) but no presents. I had a fc who brought presents to school because I no longer wanted them, I did the above and used what I wanted, gave it as my present. As I no longer thanked them or replied to update requests (they could ask ss after all) it eventually stopped. Introductions were hell, it was so bad that the child was dropped off at my house by ss! Inform ss as well and ask them to tell the fc.


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I agree this is inappropriate to say the least. I would scale back contact to once a year either letter box or direct brief meeting. And no photos on soc media !! A big no no all round imo.

If you want to accept 1 gift a year make it clear that is it and send everything else off to the charity shop or return immediately. Those are the rules we have with our sons birth parents and we stick to them and it has worked well. I am also a fc and she sounds v unprofessional so dont feel guilty . At the end of the day you need to do what is right for you and your children . Have a great christmas x


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Totally agree with all the advice here - it sounds really similar to our situation with FC and my 2 boys. She had terrible trouble letting go of them, made our intros and beginning of placement a total nightmare, and had huge piles of presents delivered to my house by private taxi (!) on their birthdays and Christmas. The worst thing is the messages in the cards, completely inappropriate stuff.

Right from the start we felt this was wrong for our boys, and asked not to receive stuff, but she continued to send it. We never give it to them or let them see the parcels. I keep the cards in their memory box in case they want to read them when they're older but the gifts go to charity shops. It might be different if they had been older at placement and had strong memories of FC but they don't at all. She performed a wonderful role in their early lives, but that role has now finished and so should the contact.


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I genuinely feel concerned when I read about the (few, I hope) FCs who step over the boundaries of what is appropriate. Surely any well balanced adult who is doing a job would understand that the priority has to be what the parents want for the child, regardless of your own feelings.


If they cannot manage the transition or ca not deal with their own emotions linked to their attachment to the child, then should that be a concern for SS too?? Is it safe for them to have further placements?


Sounds very stressful and I hope it gets resolved for you.


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4 users have supported this.

We had similar problems with our FCs - in the end (earlier than you) on the advice of SW we cut all contact. You do not have to keep contact with them - you can ask not to receive presents and if they send them, return them. You are the children's parents - there is nothing that says you have to accept gifts, provide photos etc.


In our case, we tried to keep Christmas low key and the FC sent excessive presents - a bin bag full for each child. I unwrapped them and let the children have the appropriate things over a period of time, without the children knowing who they were from and gave the rest away. Again they favoured one child. They were also inappropriate at contact favouring one child.


I did get an email asking about the kids a few years down the line - on the advice of SW I sent a very generic response that told them nothing really - all the kids were doing well blah, blah. Not heard from them again since.


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I’m amazed that the F.C. dropped off the gifts at your place of work!


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We meet up with LO's foster carers 3-4 times a year, I'd do more if we had time. LO has a lovely relationship with them and I want them to be part of her life. We had presents for us all from them this Christmas.

However, they are only in our LO's life because we want them to be there. They don't see all their ex foster children and while they miss them, they do respect the adopters wishes. I think if they are becoming too much then you should set boundaries now and go from there. I would try speaking to them directly first and then go through social services if it still carries on. Sounds like she's having trouble moving on, it must be difficult xx


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