Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Visit Posts and Another Request!

At the suggestion of Denver Laura, I think I will split this topic into three sections.

The first will be "Visit Logistics" - What happens at visits, recommended frequency, who attends, who schedules, who supervises, etc.

The second part will be "Visits & Behavior" - What are "normal" child reactions, when should foster and bio parents meet, what should foster parents do before/during/after visits, what are parents told before the first visits, why do foster kids still see parents still on drugs, transportation, safety, etc.

Lastly will be a post on "Visit Progression" - how visits change as children return home, how visits change near termination, post-adoption visits, etc.

And what about a "Talking about Visits" post? How to explain why parents don't show up at visits? How to talk about why parents make promises they can't keep? What other topics get brought up by visits that you aren't always sure how to explain to a child?

I was wondering about starting a series of posts about how foster & adoptive parents can talk to children about some of the "hard truths" of foster care and adoption. One of the posts might be all about how to talk to kids and prepare them for visits and it could jump start a series about how to talk to them about:

-How to explain their parents choices?
-How to explain the reasons they came into care?
-How to explain their "life story" at different ages?
-How to explain adult topics like drug use, mental illness, criminal behavior, sexual abuse, poverty, etc.

Would that be helpful? What other conversations do people have trouble figuring out to talk to their children about? This isn't just for foster and adoptive parents - if there are birth parents who aren't sure how to explain certain topics - please ask away! Any other social workers out there wondering how to explain something to a child? Or how to explain it to a birth/foster/adoptive parent so they can talk to their child?Please be as specific as possible - hypotheticals are fine, but I really want these posts to be helpful. And if you are especially interested in some of the questions I've already come up with above - please tell me! That way I will be sure to touch on them sooner rather than later.

Please feel free to email me if these questions are personal or confidential. I am happy to answer them and not give out names. I can be contacted at .

The first of the Visitation series will be up tomorrow! Feel free to post more questions on that topic here or on the original post!


  1. I'm really interested in the talking about visits post. One of the worst things when we were fostering was waiting for J's Dad to pick her up for visits. You'd sit there and watch her heart break for an hour before he'd walk in, tell her to get in the car and not even acknowledge her let alone that he was so late. I never knew what to say to her while we were waiting. For visits during the day I'd say we were going to the park and her Dad might come visit while we were there, but when you're all packed up and waiting for an overnight visit knowing he will turn up eventually that line wont work.

  2. We have finally (after 7and 1/2 years) finalized GB, but the best answer I have had to questions like "  Why doesn't she come? (for a scheduled visit) and "Why does she like D (biological 1/2 sibling) and not me?" is either "BM has problems" or "I don't know". both of which are true, but ultimately  don't meet GB's needs. I would love to be able to have a more productive conversation with GB.

  3. My husband and I have only been certified for two weeks and are waiting for our first placement, but man, that "hard truths" series would be awesome! I'd also love to know what you suggest for foster parents who can't transport kids to and from visits. We both work full time, so the county will pick up and drop off from daycare if the visits fall during our working hours, so we won't be the first people the kid sees to help process a bad visit or anything.

    Thanks for this series. It's a lot of good information to have before it's too late!

  4. Love this idea!
    How to prepare them to move with family that they really don't know.
    I've got another one but I'll try to contact you privately with that one.


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