One of the hardest things I find is access visits.
Regardless of a child’s age, there is always fallout from seeing their birth families.
Little Camryn, at just 3 months old comes home and is more clingy and harder to get to sleep. Plus her feeds are out of whack as she wont take a bottle from her birth mum, at best a part bottle, so she comes home tired and hungry.
Bonnie and Tyla have always had issues surrounding access visits. In the early days Bonnie would have terrible night terrors for days after access. When she had 2 days access per week, back to back, getting her in the car the second day was a nightmare. She would kick and scream, like she knew where I was taking her. Potty training took FOREVER. Access was by now fortnightly, she would make good progress, then go to access and go backwards for the next week. Then, she would start to improve the second week and back to access we would go and the cycle would start again. We got a lucky break when her birth mum was away for a week, so we were able to push hard and by the time we went back, she was in knickers.
Tyla has her own issues around access. As a baby she would flat out refuse a bottle at access and we have now gotten to a point that she wont stay in the room unless I am there too.
Whats interesting is that I cant see anything that birth mum does to cause this. The poor woman just walks in the room and Bonnie stops speaking and Tyla gets clingy.
So, I had ana idea but now I’m torn.
I understand the reasons for access, but at the same time it is so very hard to see the girls struggle to cope afterwards.
Part of me wants access to be cut back to once in the school holidays, so we can have more sunshine days between visists, but the other part of me has seen that when access is 4 or 5 weeks apart, how it is so much harder on the girls and the fallout is worse, much worse.
I came up with with an idea, that I am yet to run past the girls case worker, but now I dont know as birth mum didnt come to access this week.
I thought I would ask that visits be cut back to 30-45 minutes long, rather than an hour, and just for good measure, ask for earlier in tbe day as access is currently at lunch time and birth mum doesnt bring lunch when she is supposed to so I end up with two hungry and tired liitle girls whose nap is delayed even later because i need to get them fed. To make up for the shorter visit time I was going to offer that on the off weeks to their scheduled visits, I take the girls to meet her in a neutral location for another half hour visit that I supervise.
My thinking is that shorter more frequent visits might make it easier on the girls. The visits in the off weeks wont be in a department office building, but somewhere more child friendly. Plus, letting the girls see their birth mum and I having a coffee together while they play might help them see her in a different light, and she might learn from seeing me with them, better ways to interact with the girls.
But I’m torn since she didnt show up this week. And worse than that, she called the office in the morning to confirm she was coming and after we were on our way, she called again and cancelled. I had two little girls wno had been happy to go to see her because we had done some crafts for her for mothers day and i now had to explain she wasnt coming. Do I really want to put the girls in a position that they potentially have to deal with that every week? Mum has missed 3/9 visits since January. Would she be better or worse for reliability? Would it help lessen the fallout for the girls and make access a more positive experience?
I wish I knew what was best for the girls.
After the last visit little Tyla told me she didn’t like going that day and when asked whay we could do to make it better she said “sissy go out me”. When I asked what she would do while I take sissy, she said ” I go day care”. Yes, I know what you are going to say, she’s only 2 and could change her mind next time, but seeing as it has been a struggle to keep her in the room without me the last few visits, I think she is bang on. She really doesn’t want to go, but could shorter visits help? What else can I do to help the girls cope? Is shorter more frequent access better or one session a couple of hours long in the school holidays?
So many questions and so few answers.
I want to do the right thing by the girls, but what is that?