Are we getting the transitions right?
I’d be interested to hear what both foster carers and adopters think about this question. There is usually a range of opinionsabout moving a child from foster care to adoption. These range from; do it quickly to avoid prolonging the upset to;providea more gradual and planned process where foster carers and adopters meet up before, during and after thetransition.
Recent research by Boswell and Cudmore (2014) suggests that promoting the foster carer-adopter relationship might be best for all concerned. Anecdotally I have heard stories of adopters and foster carers making these links informally therefore presumably endorsing this approach. I guess when we look at other transitions in a child’s life such as starting Nursery or School the handover is gradual, planned and relationships are maintained between the adults.
Given that a child in the care system probably has a traumatic history of separations this transition would seem to be a good place to start a more therapeutic approach to the process. I have heard of the relief experienced by both foster carers and adopters when contact after adoption is suggested. Helping the child feel settled and happy is usually their shared goal.
As Boswell and Cudmore suggest perhaps training and support should be available to foster carers and adopters on the emotional aspects of this transition for them and the child. As they state, ‘current procedures are out of synch with some of the fundamental principles established in attachment theory and a rethinking of these procedures is needed to rectify this.’ (p19).
Boswell, S., and CudmoreL. (2014) ‘The children were fine’: acknowledging complex feelings in the move from foster care into adoption.’ Adoption and Fostering. Vol 38(1) 5-21.
Brenda McLackland Consultant Clinical Psychologist