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Supervision of visits


Since we adopted our four year old daughter from foster care last year, we have had a plan to have visits with her birth parents three times a year. Her birth mom was fairly active when we still fostering our daughter; she made about half of the monitored visits.

An adoption professional advised us to have the ongoing visits monitored by a therapist, so that if our daughter had anything she needed to process afterward or during, or if her birth mom did not show up and she was disappointed, that was available. They also suggested that this therapist could be a liaison between us and the birth parents, so if anything went awry, they could deal with it. Our child’s birth mom was challenging for the social workers to work with, and they were concerned she might become challenging for us. Her birth dad is significantly older, and there was also a concern, though nothing was ever proven, that he may have been involved in child sex trafficking. I have a feeling he’s not going to attend the visits since he missed the last two.

We have since hired a social worker who charges $180/hour to monitor the visits. She is a great person, but we are thinking of increasing the amount of time for the visit from 1 to 2 hours, meaning that it will be quite costly just to have the visit. I’m comfortable interacting with her birth mom, and we also keep in contact via email, so I’m considering whether this is really necessary.

I’m curious to hear how you handle visits with your children who you have adopted from foster care. Have you hired a monitor? How much do they charge? Has that been helpful or useful? Or do you manage the visits on your own? How has that been?

Replies

If you are there for visits, there is no need to pay a third party $180 per hour to be there. If your daughter needs help processing things, she can do so with her therapist at a separate appointment, probably covered by the state.
It is not your responsibility to provide coaching to the birth mom, her rights have been terminated, and the child is yours.
If you and your daughter are comfortable with visits, great, keep them up.
If you are actually dropping off your recently adopted four year old and leaving her with the birth mom, I’m sorry, I can’t support that decision for a child not old enough to fend for themselves, and not mature enough to recognize she has one forever mom.
We have five children adopted from foster care. While we have contact information for their birth moms, visits will wait until the children are teen agers who can make those visits on their own. The state does not take lightly the severance of parental rights, and based on behaviors and comments made in several court appearance by their moms, there is no way we would feel comfortable facilitating visitation.

Posted by hdctx on Dec 06, 2017 at 12:23am

I agree with hdctx, as long as you are there to monitor, no need to pay someone else to be there. If the visits are so severely traumatic for her that she requires a therapist to be present, then they aren’t in her best interest and should stop for the time being. and if they bring up normal adoption related feelings, then I would expect that you as her parents are skilled enough to handle them until she can get to her therapist. We don’t have visits because bio grandma lives to far away and birthmom isn’t stable enough right now. but we write letters, do phone calls, and sometimes skype. usually things go well but once in a while something might be upsetting or disappointing to her. when that happens we talk and I help her deal with it, we haven’t had a need for a therapist. If you are comfortable interacting with birthmom yourself, then go for it.

Posted by rn4kidz on Dec 06, 2017 at 2:46am

There are a lot of variations to someone being “challenging”. I’m kind of with the other responses so far… If her behavior is conducive to the health of your child, you should be able to handle it. If her behavior isn’t conducive, she shouldn’t have visits.
If the concern is based around a conditional surrender where the biological mom was granted visits, I received good advice from my children’s law guardian: the conditions are on the biological parent, not the adoptive parent. She cannot go back to court and get more time. She cannot get her children back. This is true in NY state at least. If she is not meeting the conditions (having healthy visits), she can lose the visits if you feel that is the safest thing for your child. Document your visits, including any comments or behaviors that may be concerning. If you make the choice to terminate visits, you have documentation of how and why you came to that decision.
You always have the right to protect your child.

Posted by KimmerDB on Dec 20, 2017 at 9:47pm

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