Tag Archives: adopters

Brighter Thinking – a new animation

Recently on Twitter, The Open Nest invited adoptive parents to share ways they felt unsupported by friends and family, and also share the ways that their support networks got it right too.
To view all of the suggestions, you can search on Twitter using #Allchildrendothat.

The aim of this research was to inform a new animation, to be produced by the charity, following the success of it’s previous animation The Lost Children of Trauma. And last week, our very own Sarah (also of The Puffin Diaries and Trustee of The Open Nest) and Amanda Boorman of The Open Nest, launched the new animation – Brighter Thinking.

And here it is:

Now we need your help again in getting it seen. So please share it far and wide – with your local authority, with your friends and families, with anyone you think would benefit from seeing it. It not only shows how adopters feel they could have been supported better, but it acknowledges the good bits too and highlights how prospective adopters might be better supported in the future.

And finally, we’d like to say a big thank you to all of those who contributed to this film in anyway. Your input and experiences are vital in getting better support for adopters and adoptees.

Meet Me – a Chance to Join in.

Since day one of The Adoption Social we’ve run a feature where bloggers are able to contribute to our website with posts like Meet the Blogger and Me and my Blog. However it seems a little unfair to limit this opportunity just to those who blog. So many of you tweet and comment on our Facebook page and have a huge input to our online community. So maybe you too would like a chance to tells us a little about yourself.

If you are interested, all you do is answer a few questions about yourself. You chose which five you want to answer from the list, but we ask everyone to complete the quick 5, it’s all a bit of fun. There are two sets of questions one for adoptive parents and the second set for adoptees.

Meet Me questions:

For everyonePlease answer these 5 questions,

Quick 5 – In my life at the moment….

  • Book –
  • Music-
  • TV programme
  • Food
  • Pastime

Then choose 5 questions minimum to answer form the following list..

Adoptive parents:

  1. What is your biggest challenge as an adoptive parent?
  2. What do you wish you had known before you adopted your children?
  3.  What inspires you?
  4. Who inspires you?
  5. Tea/Gin?
  6. What do you think is your biggest source of support?
  7. What do you do to take care of yourself?
  8. What is the best or most memorable piece of advice you have ever received?
  9. My perfect adoption support would include…
  10. When I look into the eyes of my child I see..
  11. The best thing we did this week was….
  12. If you could take your children anywhere in the world to see something where would you go?
  13. What I hope I can give to my child/Children?
  14.  At the weekend I can mostly be found…
  15.  What makes you and/or your family laugh?


  1. Can you choose 3 words that describe your experiences?
  2. My perfect support network would include….
  3. What is the best or most memorable piece of advice you have ever received?
  4. When I look in the mirror I see…
  5. The best thing I did this week was…
  6. If you could travel anywhere in the world to see something where would you go?
  7. At the weekend I can mostly be found….
  8. What makes you laugh?
  9. Tea/Gin?
  10. What do you think is your biggest source of support?
  11. What inspires you?
  12. Who inspires you?
  13. What do you do to take care of yourself?
  14. If you have children of your own, what are your greatest hopes for them?
  15. What are your greatest hopes for yourself?

So select your questions and get answering. Once you are done your email your answers to theadoptionsocial@gmail.com

Who is The Adoption Social for?


There has been a bit of confusion over on Twitter this week amongst our followers,We need you about who The Adoption Social is for. Some people have assumed that because they aren’t adoptive parents, that this site is not suitable or appropriate for them, and therefore they feel they can’t contribute.

We’d like to say a big Sorry if you’ve felt this way and if we’ve given you the impression that this site is exclusively for adoptive parents. It’s not!

The truth is, we are adoptive parents. We came together through a mutual love of blogging, and a desire to help link up those who blog about adoption. Thus The Weekly Adoption Shout Out was born. We’ve come such a long way since then, and The Adoption Social stands alone as a support site for those who don’t necessarily know the back story of how it came to be.

Our aim has always been that The Adoption Social is created and led by those in adoption and those experiencing and living with adoption in their lives. We therefore need you to write for us, contribute your experiences and knowledge so that we can pass that on to others and they in turn can support, understand and help you and many more.

Because of our own experiences and connections, most of the content on this site supports adoptive parents rather than anyone else within this world of adoption. That’s not because we don’t want posts from other people, or differing perspectives, we do, but they are harder to find. We do hope however, that what is published gives all sorts of people an insight into adoptive parenting and the needs of our (currently) young adoptees, and allows you to support others and gain support, even if it’s just knowing there’s someone else out there in a similar situation.

So whatever your position – adoptee, care-leaver, foster carer, adoptive parent, prospective adoptive parent, contact supervisor, birth parent, wider family from either birth family or adoptive, social worker, therapist, health visitor, special guardian, kinship carer, doctor, specialist, student or other interested party, we would be happy to have you featured on The Adoption Social, and invite you to guest post, write us a problem, share poetry, write a review or have a rant.
We also invite you to link your blog up to the Weekly Adoption Shout Out – so called because the links are about adoption related subjects, not just for adoptive parents.

If you really want to write for us but aren’t sure if your subject is right, then send us a copy at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com and we’ll have a look and remember that we are always happy for you to use a pseudonym or anonymise your post for you. 




I’ve dealt with many a comment in my time as an adoptive parent, from

“Wow, doesn’t he look like his dad…er…I mean your husband”


“So which one of you is it then? Who can’t have children?”


“Poor thing, was his mother a druggy/alcoholic/rape victim?”


I have a number of stock replies now. I use these opportunities to educate, with humour, a direct approach, rudeness and/or sarcasm where needed. Most comments are well-meaning I know, but despite the intention, they are still ignorant and hurtful.

But now the one I need your help with is the ‘Isn’t he lucky to have you as his parents’ comment. And those that are similar, usually using the word ‘luck’ in the sentence.

How do you respond to that? Because, no matter how I respond I usually end up with a snappy “well you know what I mean” or find myself faced with a backside storming off – clearly the owner of said backside has been offended. My response is dependent on my mood, but usually includes “well, I’m not sure he’s lucky, after all, he had to endure rather a lot before he came to us and I’m sure he’d have rather stayed with his birth parents, but yes, at least he’s no longer in care”. What would you say?

These days, I’m not so worried about offending, and more worried about protecting my child, but still if I could think of a gentler way of getting this message across, I’d rather use that than upset.

Adoption Acrostic Poems for National Adoption Week 2014 – Part 2

Today we have more moving poems written to celebrate National Adoption Week. These are all acrostic poems using the word ADOPTION.

Buzzbee (aged 8 & 10 months) – adoptee

A new house and family
Drugs and booze free
Only nice food and cuddly teddies
Parents who wanted us
The cat liked us too
It started of cool
Only for a while
Now it is up and down. But that is what makes us a family

Another family! Another new bed to get used to!
Do they really want us?
Only time will tell! We will have to wait and see!
Presents, toys and sweets from strangers we don’t know!
Tell them to stop! PLEASE, we don’t know them!
It doesn’t matter how bad we both can be!
Or, how hard, we try to push both of you away!
Nothing seems to break you! I guess you love us and want us to stay!


Beeswax (a grumpy 13 year old) – adoptee

Adults who think they know better than me
Don’t listen to what we want
Or even care. If you ask me
People making all the decisions for us
Try and ask me
It’s not like any of you know us, is it
Or maybe you just don’t know me
New house and new adults – It’s better than nothing but it won’t last.


Gary Hargreaves – Adopter

Are you there?
Do you exist?
Or will I remain alone?
Please come and help
Try to understand
just need your love and a home.
Offer me hope.
Never let go
Stop my heart from becoming a stone.


The Adoptions Equation Adoptee +Adopter =Answer

Adoptee        Adopter          Answer

Alert                Angry              Absolutely
Distracted      Desperate      Dependent
Overactive     Overload         On
Pleaser           Pressured       Professional
Traumatised Traumatised   Therapeutic
Inbetweener Incomplete      Input
Obstructive   Oppressed      Offering
Neurotic         Nervous          New
Social Misfit   Social Outcast Solutions


Sarah Adopter and Co-founder of The Adoption Social

Always on my mind
Deepest, intensity
Of the question inside
Pertaining to how
To make the love I feel
Into a shining light which
Opens their hearts to
No longer be ruled by the darkness






PAFCA – Parenting Advice for Foster Carers and Adopters

We know that some of our readers are already members of PAFCA – Dr Amber Elliott, creator of the organisation shares more about how PAFCA came to be.

PAFCA_logo hi-resIn the space of a couple of weeks in April 2010 I journeyed from disheartened overwhelmed and unmotivated to passionate, inspired and some may well say hyperactive. This was my transition from a Local Authority and NHS Looked After and Adopted Children’s CAMH service to setting up The Child Psychology Service. I didn’t know whether I could make a living but I did believe I could make a difference.

I should first make it clear, though I won’t go on as much as I could, that my heart, passion and politics still lie idealistically within the NHS. Quality services for looked after and adopted children should be available to all, free at the point of access and provided at the moment they are needed. However this was not where I found myself and I needed to do better for looked after and adopted children and their families.

The problem, as I saw it, was that the right therapeutic messages were not getting “out there”.
The developmental trauma of looked after and adopted children was treated with the same models of therapy that had been researched and developed on entirely different children and the emotional and behavioural consequences of trauma were being simplistically seen through the lens of behaviour modification i.e. “we can shape this undesirable behaviour using rewards and punishments” (regardless of its underlying psychological causes). The staggering fact is that 60% of children in the care system have severe and enduring emotional and mental health problems, that’s compared to 10% of all children and you don’t resolve those kinds of problems with tighter rules and boundaries.

In my career as a Clinical Psychologist my passion has always been to help looked after and adopted children to develop beyond their early trauma to happier, healthier lives via supportive and therapeutic work with their primary carers. My work is about enabling healing from the effects of traumatic early relationships via new therapeutic parenting relationships.

In the brave new world of independent practice, free from all the constraints and securities of employment I was faced with the dilemma of how I was going to achieve this. Armed with my grandiose aspirations and my new-found energy I knew I wanted to set up a high quality therapeutic and consultation service. Within six months I was meeting with families, foster carers and Social Workers and getting the therapeutic parenting message out there.

I was also constantly thinking about how I could reach and support more people. The cost of direct work with a private psychologist will be a barrier in some cases, when Local Authorities cannot be persuaded of the importance of targeted, quality and comprehensive therapeutic support and sometimes when families are, broadly speaking, doing ok. So, I got thinking about how I could offer different levels of support and help to foster and adoptive families.

When I was writing my first book, Why Can’t My Child Behave? Empathic Parenting Strategies that Work for Adoptive and Foster Families. I became aware of just how limitless the need for this support is. So, I started work on developing a more dynamic, interactive service. Parenting Advice for Foster Carers and Adopters (www.pafca.co.uk) is a web resource that joins together the expertise of foster carers and adopters with that of professionals to improve the emotional well-being, behaviour and mental health of adopted and fostered children.

The world of caring for traumatised children can sometimes be so hostile, scary and punitive that I wanted to create a safe place for foster carers and adopters to relax, learn and thrive.

We regularly upload new articles, information and advice written by foster carers, adopters and professionals in related disciplines. The site works best when we get feedback from our users about what they would like to see, so please get in touch if you have any ideas for what you’d like to see and what you think you could contribute yourself. Mail us on contactus@pafca.co.uk if you’d like to.

We pride ourselves on having a very practical focus so every article, profile and feature on PAFCA contains a Top 5 Tips Section. These are practical ways of using the information included on each page.

At the moment the site is completely free to join but from 11th November 2013 membership will cost £36 per year. For that you’ll get access to all of the expert articles, problem page, adopters’ and foster carers’ experiences and a forum to chat with other members We’re also developing a free-access resource to which members can direct people who don’t “get it”.

I’m proud to say that PAFCA has indeed become the useful, supportive environment that I so desperately wanted to provide for foster carers and adopters but as time goes on I hope that it will take on a life and momentum of it’s own and become more and more the resource that you need.

Dr Amber Elliott is a Clinical Psychologist with a specialism in working with looked after and adopted children and their carers. You can reach her either via email (as above) or through the PAFCA website. PAFCA is also on Twitter @PAFCA2013.