Tag Archives: support

Summer plans at The Adoption Social

It’s almost Summer Holiday time and indeed for some, the holidays have already started, so we thought we’d best let you know what’s going on here…

We’ve decided to take a break for the entire Summer holiday, giving you just the Weekly Adoption Shout Out each week from Friday to Sunday as usual.

We both feel that we need to re-assess what The Adoption Social means to us, to you, whether we need to branch out, or stop or diversify or…we don’t know, but in order to this about all that, we need to step back completely for a while. July and August are traditionally quieter months for The Adoption Social anyway, so we hope you won’t mind us stepping away for a bit.

However, we will still be around if you need an ear or a shoulder, you’ll find us at @puffindiaries and @boysbehaviour. We started The Adoption Social because of our amazing online community, and we both definitely want to remain a part of that community too – because we still need support and help with our families, and because you know, you lot are pretty nice people!

If you have any thoughts about what The Adoption Social means to you or where you see it in the future, then please by all means email us at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com, and we’ll take your thoughts, ideas and messages into consideration when we think about where we’re going to go and what we’re going to do.057

For now, here’s the dates that we’ll be running #WASO, and their themes:

22-24 July                 ‘6 Weeks’
29-31 July                 NO THEME
5-7 August               ‘Fight, flight or freeze’
12-14 August           NO THEME
19-21 August           ‘Sun or storm’
26-28 August           NO THEME
2-4 September        ‘How do you feel today?’
9-11 September      NO THEME

We’ll be returning week commencing 12th September and we’ll let you know our plans then or shortly thereafter.

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.

Support opportunity for adoptive couples

Today we’re bringing you a guest post and opportunity from The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships…

Have you and your partner been arguing more since adopting?

Have the summer holidays exposed some cracks in your relationship?

Ever feel like you are ‘on your own’ and no one understands the pressures of being an adoptive parent?

Don’t let these concerns grow; there is no better time to seek support.

At The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships (TCCR) we are offering NEW, FREE, government funded support in a new service called Adopting Together – Relationship Support for Adoptive Parents.

This specialist service offers a safe space to reflect on how adoption has impacted on your couple relationship. It allows for better communication between couples where they can freely share the difficulties they are experiencing in order to improve the quality of their relationship.

Programme Head Julie Humphries says “Our innovative approach is unique as, unlike other Adopting Togetherparenting programmes it avoids the usual focus on mothers and parenting, instead looking at you as a couple. By helping your relationship, the aim is to improve life for you AND your children. Participation will help you strengthen your bond and allow you to concentrate on building or growing your family in a happy and harmonious way.”

The support is run in London and starts in September. Here is a brief Q&A for couples who are interested in attending

Who can receive the support?

The Adopting Together Service is open to all post-adoption parents and we welcome both heterosexual and same-sex couples.

What type of support is offered?

We offer two types of face to face therapy.  Couples will be seen in either couples therapy or parent groups and work with our experienced therapists to get support to address some of the issues that are impacting on their relationship.

What are the Adopting Together Parents Groups?

One option A FREE group-based programme designed to support adoptive couples with their relationship and their parenting with the benefit of allowing you to share your experiences.

What’s involved if we join the Parents Groups?

You and your co-parent will meet with our expert group workers and they will be able to answer any further questions you might have and decide if the group is the right sort of help for you and your family.

You will then join a series of 16 weekly, 2 hour sessions with a small number of other adoptive couples who might be going through similar situations. The sessions give you the opportunity to improve your relationship, yourself and your parenting skills. There is a mixture of creative activities, video clips and discussions with the group leaders.

The group is a safe space to explore things that might be difficult and sad, as well as a space for lively discussion, fun and meeting other people who might be going through similar situations.

What is the Adopting Together Couple Therapy Service?

A FREE therapy service designed to support adoptive couples with their relationship and their parenting.

What is involved if we join the Couple Therapy Service?

You and your co-parent will meet with a specially trained therapist for up to 20 weekly 50-minute sessions. In these sessions you will get the chance to explore your relationship and any issues that may be concerning you.

What difference will it make?

TCCR has nearly 70 years’ worth of experience and is world leading in the field of couple therapy. Seeing a therapist has made a big difference to thousands of relationships, here are just some of the things our clients have said about what couple therapy did for them:

“I was so worried about seeking help and I wonder why it took me so long”

“It was a very professional service. I have got all I wanted form it.”

“It has brought me and my partner closer together”

Interested?

We ae allocating free spaces now…

You can find out more or register for a consultation appointment by emailing adoptingtogether@tccr.org.uk or call: 0207 380 1950, then you may be offered one of two options, either Adopting Together Parents Groups or Adopting Together Couples Therapy.

New single adopters network launched

We’re pleased today, to bring you news of a new network that has recently launched, especially for single adoptive parents…logo FINAL

Hello!  I’m Sarah a single adopter to a gorgeous 8 year old.  When I started my adoption journey 3 ½ years ago I didn’t really think about how much support I would need.  I made the decision to adopt and assumed I would get the support I needed when I needed it.  As we all know though, the reality is often very different.

Throughout the approval process all the training I received was aimed at couples, which is understandable.  I don’t have anyone to takeover when he’s having a meltdown and I feel like I want to join in.  Since my son moved in 16 months ago it has been a rollercoaster ride, with some amazing highs, and a lot of difficult lows.  Throughout that time I’ve been lucky that my social worker has been good, but my son is from a different LA and they are not quite so good.  To start with there were no support groups near me and I couldn’t have gone to an evening meeting anyway.

All of this got me thinking about the type of support I wanted and needed.  I spoke to a number of other single adopters to see how they felt and a clear message came out – they wanted a support group specifically for single adopters to focus on their issues.  In some cases they didn’t know any other single adopters, had very little support from their LA’s and felt isolated.  That’s not right and needs to change.  Whilst there are many similarities between the experiences of couples and singles adopting there are of course differences, and recognising and supporting those differences doesn’t always happen.

From these discussions the idea for the Single Adopters Network was born.  I decided to create a support network just for single adopters and I wanted it to be one everyone could access.  My intention is for the group to be a supportive, friendly and non-judgemental community purely for single adopters, or those thinking about adopting by themselves.  It is an online network, so it doesn’t matter where in the country you are, you can join and get the support you need when you need it.  There is a secure forum where you can ask for advice and support each other, as well as a resources area with useful information that is only accessible to members.  There will also be a monthly call, via a teleconference system for anonymity, which will give you the opportunity to talk to other single adopters from across the country from the comfort of your sofa, so no worries about babysitters!  All of this is designed to support us in building a strong, supportive community where we can help each other through the difficult times, but also celebrate the good times together.

I’m so pleased that the network launched on Saturday and if you’d like more details about the group and how to join the website is www.singleadoptersnetwork.com

I can be contacted via email sarah@sarahpfisher.com or mobile 07817 544707 if you’d like further information or to have a chat.  I’m also on twitter @fishercoaching

I’m passionate about building a supportive, friendly and non-judgemental community to help single adopters like me so, if that’s what you would like, come and join us.

Finally, I want to thank www.theadoptionsocial.com for their support I really appreciate it.

Sarah

www.singleadoptersnetwork.com
@fishercoaching
sarah@sarahpfisher.com

My thoughts and Experiences of Contact by Amanda Boorman

To start our second Sore Points in adoption week on CONTACT, Amanda Boorman from The Open Nest, tells us about her thoughts and experiences.

As a peer support charity we get calls from adopters asking advice and direction to services for many things. After running for two years I would say the most common issues we are asked about are access to short breaks, aggressive behaviour, problems at school and problems with professionals who ‘don’t get it’

Surprisingly issues with contact and life story very rarely come up.

At the opposite end of this, adults who were adopted report life history, identity and incorrect file information as being one of the key unresolved and painful issues for them.

It is a subject that when discussed can bring up a lot of emotion, anxiety, anger and confusion. I believe the issues of life story and contact in adoption are due a big public debate despite hardly featuring at all in the current adoption reform.

The pervading opinion remains that if a child has been removed from its parents, then by definition those parents do not have rights to seeing or hearing from that child again. To seek contact and the continuing of previous relationships is potentially disruptive and damaging for the child. It is recognised that having to maintain contact could be off putting for prospective adopters.

contact AB

But it is rarely as clear cut as that.

By the time a child or children is removed, social workers have put together the case for removal and presented it to court. It goes without saying that the records involved in this process will focus on the parents failings in relation to their child/children. It is unlikely that future carers will have much more of ‘the family story’ than these failings and scraps of file  information gathered during that process.

Perhaps the debate about contact begins with questioning the quality of, and commitment to, the recording of birth family history before the connections are severed.

This information is not just about parents, it’s about culture and place and extended family history. The programme ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ does not just focus on parents it goes generations back and recipients gain positively from information about family members they have never met even if some of this is sad.

In my adopted daughters case she arrived with a life story that if it were summed up would say:

A cruel and uncaring mother who despite numerous offers of help refused to change, she was selfish, obstructive and very aggressive. She may have been prostituting herself as her daughter has different skin colour to her siblings.

The children were unkempt and living in chaos. They had head lice, skin rashes and ear infections. The children have been removed into temporary foster care on many occasions in order to try and help the parents.

A stubborn disruptive father who will not engage with services and shouts out in meetings, often in front of the children.

There have been many reports to social services from neighbours which describe the mother shouting at the children and slapping them and then causing trouble with the neighbours if they tried to intervene

Based upon this I accepted the professional view that no contact was in the best interests of my daughter and her brothers.

A couple of years after placement I chose to seek out her parents myself. My dad was a history teacher and history, particularly biography, is something we all enjoy as a family. I found the scrap book of disjointed photos that arrived from the foster carers and the file reports lacking in any real and meaningful life history. I felt without detailed history, both good and bad, I couldn’t support my daughter properly.

After meeting her parents the story I had to share with my daughter was:

A mother with an undiagnosed learning disability. Her father was tragically killed at sea when he was in his twenties leaving her (6 months old) her mother and three young siblings. She was prey to a local paedophile at a young age and then abused in local authority care where she was placed due to her subsequent challenging behaviour. Previous relationship with a violent man and a pregnancy with this man that ended up in late stage miscarriage.

Having had an African American great grandfather she and her family have a dark skin colour which has been passed down to her daughter.

One sister is a detective constable who tried to help the family but as a single mum found it impossible. Another is a nurse and the third emigrated to Australia where she cares for the elderly.

The mum is unable to parent without intensive support but when given empathy is fully aware of her failings and honest about these failings. She is very loving but when under pressure becomes anxious and aggressive. She made many calls to social services pretending to be a neighbour and reporting herself. She believed the children should have been removed sooner in the absence of intensive parenting support. She feels social services didn’t ‘get it’. She is unable to read or write without support. She needs help to make it to appointments.

A stubborn but loyal father who is considerably older than the mother. He has previously bought up five children with no local authority involvement. He was extremely fearful of losing the children, he has a deep mistrust of social care systems and is over protective of the mother. When treated with respect he is gentle and generous

There is no doubt that my adopted daughters birth parents failings damaged her. So did the service she received from the state as a vulnerable child. I have no doubt her parents were not easy to deal with. There did however seem to be missed opportunities to gather correct information that could help my daughter understand her family history and identity better as she grew up.

Maintaining contact with an extended family beyond your own can be extremely challenging, especially with scant information and no support. It can also be costly and involve lots of travel.

Making a decision to begin contact or maintain it when the information is damning of parents or news letters are constantly unanswered is almost impossible, especially without a meaningful and safe connection having been established between the two families in advance of the adoption placement.

Where contact has been properly evidenced as being damaging or potentially damaging to children this also needs careful and therapeutic input towards healthy endings that put the child’s needs first. Children should be given therapeutic support to make individual decisions about contact.

This approach would require specialist and committed long term support work. In times of austerity, budget cuts and an adoption agenda focused on recruitment, as well as adoption continuing to be placed culturally as a saving mission, the resources are simply not there. Evidence gathered from adult adoptees about their experience of contact or lack of it is also missing as a means to inform good practice.

In a very small nutshell our family experience of contact has been that we are glad we made it happen.

We wish we had been given more support. It’s been emotional and messy. It’s produced amazing and happy memories and has also triggered some very tricky stuff that has needed to be dealt with therapeutically.

As an adult my daughter tells me that when she struggled after contact it was the saying goodbye again not the contact itself she found difficult. She is glad she got to know her lovely gentle father but the pain of losing him recently is hard. She wonders if it would have been easier not to have known him than deal with the grief. She has forgiven her mother but not forgotten what her failings caused to her and her brothers. She remains angry with her about this (and tells her so) but also loves her unconditionally. She loves her policewoman Aunty who is a role model and is proud of her brave grandad who risked and lost his life for others.

She no longer feels she is from a ‘bad’ family and identifies positively with her home town. Contact got to the truth warts and all.

Sometimes as an adopted person she hates her mum….both of us.

The Open Nest Charity provides a neutral, safe and calm environment for both sibling and birth family contact www.theopennest.co.uk

Anna Writes: What’s helped

Phonto

Our resident columnist Anna is back again after a break for our Adoption Sore Point week, this time talking about what’s helped her…

A couple of posts in and I feel as though I’d like to offer some balance, I can’t change my experiences, they are as they are, but I have been reflecting on some of the things that I have found helpful along the way.

I was adopted at the end of the 1970’s at a time when the adoption of a child was more often through relinquishment than removal and the general consensus seemed to be that ‘what babies don’t know, won’t hurt them’ – the theory being that if you adopted a child young enough, they wouldn’t ever know any different (I’m not entirely sure what the thinking was around older children…)

Now, although adoption support is still not universal, it is at least being recognised as necessary and the advent of the adoption support fund (ASF) will hopefully provide some much needed intervention and support for all of those impacted by adoption. Adopted people are over- represented within the mental health system in the UK, it seems as good a time as any to begin to address this and get the right support in place for families, sooner.

For me, one of the most helpful things growing up, was knowing other people who were adopted- living in the middle of nowhere this was a bit of a challenge, but there was another boy in my school who was adopted. We never talked about it (and nor did my adopted brother and I, save for one conversation where he told me he never wanted to discuss it again) but it was enough to know there were other people. I wasn’t the outsider that I felt like.

As a bit of a music/ comedy/ literature fiend growing up- I discovered some of my favourite artists were adopted, Wendy James from Transvision Vamp, Jackie Kay, Jeanette Winterson and the comedian Stewart Lee and each time I discovered another I felt less alone. I had fantasy conversations with them and they just got me, and I them, because in my head they would know what it felt like, adoption was a shortcut to understanding.

I also had therapy, lots and lots of therapy, from 14 onwards- unfortunately my parents, not being au fait with attachment theory bundled me off to a boarding school at 16 as they found it hard to cope with my me-ness, so for two years I felt rejected, abandoned and displaced all over again, without really understanding why, but at least I had my music, my books and my friends, a surrogate family of people who put up with me in spite of (or maybe because of) how I was.

At 18, I moved away and had my first experience of person centred counselling, it was via the University counselling service and lasted a whole year- accessing a whole year of therapy was wonderful ..and at last I didn’t have someone telling me that what I was feeling was wrong, or ungrateful, or weird, my counsellor accepted me, completely, and wow!…that was powerful. The idea that someone could accept all the different parts of me, the light and the shade was almost overwhelming, and the fact that I could internalise some of it helped immeasurably over the following few years..

And I wanted more, so at various times since, I have engaged in the same kind of counselling, I am still seeing the same counsellor I started seeing 8 years ago when I found my birth mother and she is amazing, she doesn’t judge, she doesn’t offer me her version of events or interpret, she just listens, and accepts and she even went out and bought a copy of ‘The Primal Wound’ by Nancy Newton-Verrier in order to understand me better: now that’s commitment..

With hindsight, I think what would have helped me at home growing up would have been lots of expressed love backed up with a healthy dollop of evidence, the time and space to talk about being adopted, empathic understanding (including asking how I was feeling) firm boundaries and an ability to hold my needs in mind- I’m sure my adoptive parents did their best, and certainly thought they were doing it- but unfortunately the things that I needed most (love and acceptance) were traded in for money and projected wants.

Please don’t get me wrong, I know that my adoptive parents really tried and I certainly didn’t give them the easiest ride, but the generation chasm between us and my adoptive mothers unresolved attachment issues coupled with some fairly regular corporal punishment (it was the 80’s…)  did not make for a secure base.

Not everyone wants to be a therapist, but many people already have the skills, values and attributes to offer children unconditional love, empathy and genuineness, but people shouldn’t have to provide that in a vacuum- the ASF offers many types of therapeutic support, several of which are specifically aimed at the whole family, which I hope, can only be a good thing.

So below, I have reproduced the list of recommended therapies potentially accessible via the ASF, to highlight what’s available now- and it’s great that it is (although a comprehensive glossary of all the different therapies would be helpful too) I hope that the choice on offer reflects the needs of those accessing it and that alternatives to the list aren’t discounted out of hand either.

The Adoption Support Fund will pay for therapeutic support and services including but not restricted to:

Therapeutic parenting training
Further more complex assessment (e.g CAMHS assessment, multidisciplinary assessment including education and heath, cognitive and neuropsychological assessment, other mental health needs assessment.)
Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy
Theraplay
Filial therapy
Creative therapies e.g. art, music, drama, play
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
Non-Violent Resistance (NVR)
Sensory integration therapy
Multisystemic therapy
Psychotherapy
Specialist clinical assessments where required (e.g. Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)
Extensive therapeutic life story work
Respite care (where it is part of a therapeutic intervention)

Source: First4Adoption, 2015

Anna. W

He’s not *that* strong is he?

Another guest post today from an anonymous mum – sharing her experience of Child to Parent Violence.

We don’t experience the same levels of violence that other families do. And we’re very lucky that now, at 8, it appears to be slowing down and petering out a little…although I know it could return. Peaks and troughs – that’s how we roll.

But when it was at it’s worst, we experienced scary violent moments – the worst, for me, were the black eye (after I held him and got headbutted), the concussion and the threatening with cutlery thing. They stand out, but there are many moments where I have been hit, punched, landed on, kicked, scratched, or had threats of all those things.

After being headbutted, I approached our post adoption social worker and asked for safe holding training.

“We don’t approve of restraining methods” I was told.

Oh. Well I’ll continue to get hurt then shall I?

“Here, have some theraplay/counselling/life story work instead” was the response. It didn’t matter how I worded it, what I said, how I tried to tell them that I’d gotten hurt.

Friends would say:
He’s 5 – how can he hurt you?
He’s 6 – come on, he’s not *that* strong is he?
He’s 7 – can’t you hold him, so he can’t hit you?
He’s 8 – he just needs to work that anger out, have you thought about Karate?

Along with the lack of support from our post adoption support term, those comments made me feel absolutely useless. I questioned myself, wondering whether it was my fault for getting in those situations, maybe I was causing the anger somehow.
Deep down, I knew that this was my son’s way of communicating something really hurtful to me, although we struggled to decipher what that was, but the lack of understanding and support made it difficult to hold that thought in mind, especially when repeated day after day, year after year and when suffering the physical and emotional pain of violence from your child.

These days there is less anger, and we take a step back. Rather than trying to help him calm and regulate with soothing words and reassuring touches, we make sure he’s in a safe space and stay reasonably close by to make sure he doesn’t get hurt.
But I know that we will have to investigate NVR in the future to protect him, and to protect ourselves and I’m not prepared to wait until it’s too late.

And I now know that we are not the only family who experiences this, and I’m not ashamed anymore. We need to speak about this to make sure that those children, and those families that live with this kind of violence don’t feel alone, or judged, or unsupported.

The Apple Tree Centre and CPRT

Today we’re pleased to bring you a guest post from the newly launched Apple Tree Centre…

Logo - Text

We are Rosie and Jenny, two Play Therapists and mothers to small children. Just this month, we launched The Apple Tree Centre in Sheffield.   As part of our work to support children, young people and families, we are running Child Parent Relationship training courses for parents and carers.

Child-Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) is a structured training programme for parents and carers. Delivered by qualified and experienced Play Therapists, the course introduces parents to the essential principles and skills used in Non-Directive Play Therapy, so that they can become “therapeutic agents” for their own children. The training is usually provided to small groups of adults, in ten weekly sessions of two hours each. Additional individual support can be offered if this is needed.

Play is really important to children because it is the most natural way children learn, process experiences and communicate their thoughts and feelings. Bearing this in mind, we train parents and carers to conduct special 30-minute playtimes with their child in their own home, using a kit of carefully selected toys. The adults learn how to respond empathically to their child’s feelings, build their child’s self-esteem, help their child learn self-control and self-responsibility, and set therapeutic limits during these playtimes. For 30 minutes each week, the child is the absolute focus and the adult creates an accepting atmosphere in which the child feels safe to express themselves through their play. This is not a ‘normal’ playtime. It is a special playtime in which the adult follows the lead of the child. Within this half hour, there is no criticism of the child or the play, no praise, no questioning or instructions for the child on what to do or how to do it, and no evaluation of the child’s behaviour or what he or she has produced.

During these special playtimes, the parent/carer will build a different kind of relationship with their child, and the child will discover that they are capable, valid, understood, and accepted just the way they are. When children play under these conditions, they are free to explore their worries in the play and, in the process, release anxieties, stresses, and burdens. The child will then feel more positive about themselves and this will bring about significant differences in their behaviour. CPRT trains parents and carers to focus on the child rather than the child’s problem, and they will begin to react differently to their child both inside and outside of the special playtime.

Co-founders Jenny Reid and Rosie Dymond at the launch of The Apple Tree Centre

Co-founders Jenny Reid and Rosie Dymond at the launch of The Apple Tree Centre

The course is delivered through a mixture of presentations, video clips, group discussions, demonstration and skills practice, including discussion and debrief of the play sessions carried out at home.

Parents are taught

  • to identify and respond to their children’s feelings
  • to use active and reflective listening skills
  • to set effective limits, and
  • to enhance their children’s self esteem.

CPRT is equally suited to enhancing already positive parent-child relationships, enabling parents to support their children through particularly difficult experiences, and helping to build relationships which are new or have been damaged by ill health or life events. The system has proven effective in many different situations, including

  • families with step parents and children
  • foster and adoptive families
  • parents who are imprisoned
  • families affected by physical and mental illness
  • children recovering from trauma and abuse.

CPRT was developed in the United States by Dr. Gary Landreth, from the University of North Texas: a respected practitioner and teacher of Play Therapy. The programme is relatively new to the UK. However, the principles on which it is based have been used therapeutically since the 1960s, and the programme is constantly adapted to ensure that it is equally appropriate for parents, carers and families in Britain. We are really excited to be able to offer the training here in Sheffield, and look forward to contributing to the evaluation of its effectiveness here in the UK.

If you’d like more information about what we offer, please look at our website: www.appletreecentre.co.uk

 

Support, training and therapy glossary

A few weeks ago, we brought you an Adoption Lingo Glossary which has been a really popular post. So moving on a little, but in the same vein, this week we’ve got another glossary, but also a bit of demystification on some support, parenting courses and therapeutic interventions that you might come across. Please note we are not advocating all of these as appropriate strategies, but merely explaining what they might involve, and it’s definitely not an exhaustive list.

Attachment Focussed Counselling/Therapy – Family counselling to help improve attachment issues between children and their carers. Helps bonding, and builds positive images between parent and child.

Attachment Parenting – a term to describe a parenting philosophy used in both birth and adoptive families, used to help promote positive attachments.

Child to parent violence (CPV) – a term to describe domestic violence directed at parent, by child.

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) – Developed by Dan Hughes, this is a continuation of PACE that is suitable for day to day parenting. This is a therapy that aims to help children who have suffered trauma, learn – amongst other things – to trust again.

Incredible Years/Webster-Stratton – a parenting program, occasionally offered by schools, developed by Carolyn Webster-Stratton. This behaviour modification technique uses time-outs and reward charts amongst other strategies.

Marschak Intervention Method (MIM) – an assessment, by way of a structured technique to help plan treatment and check suitability of therapies such as Theraplay. Usually videotaped, but not to be used alone in making assessments – best alongside other means of assessment.

Non violent resistance (NVR) – is a psychological approach for overcoming destructive, aggressive, controlling and risk-taking behaviour.

PLACE/PACE – Playfulness, (Love), Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy. These are core parts of DDP, developed by Dan Hughes. Using these principles, children and parents can communicate more effectively.

Play therapy – a form of counselling or therapy that uses play to help patients communicate.

Self-care – a term to describe looking after oneself. A hot topic in adoption at the moment, self-care can include all manner of activities, all with the aim of caring for yourself.

Sensory Integration Therapy – a clinical approach to treating sensory issues. Usually an assessment is undertaken first, then a personalised programme of support is put in place to help overcome sensory issues.

Speech and language therapy (SALT) – Treatment to improve and treat speech and/or language delay, and can also include eating, drinking and swallowing issues.

Therapeutic Parenting – a term usually used to describe high structure, high nurture parenting.

Theraplay – a therapy to improve communication and attachment. Theraplay uses fun games and nurturing activities, where children and parents are led by the therapist. Such activities create an emotional connection between parent and child.

Triple P – The Positive Parenting Program is a parenting technique to help prevent and treat behavioural and emotional problems in children and teenagers.

User-led support – a term to describe support and help from other people who are using the same services as you, or in the same boat as you i.e The Adoption Social and The Open Nest.

What else have you come across? Other techniques or therapies?
Do please share in the comments below to help others understand what’s out there.

How do you find support?

Support.

Sometimes we need help and we don’t know where to get it from.
I suppose the main support sources are family and friends, but there’s also post adoption support, school, school nurses, therapists, counsellors and other health professionals.

These days, I find help from all those sources difficult though. We’ve gone too far along our journey to find many who’ve experienced what we have and as a result I find little comfort in speaking to those who understand the theory, but lack the real experiences, lack the raw emotion of parenting a traumatised child.

I have a few, very close, amazing friends and they are great for letting me sound off, whinge, cry, rant, celebrate and boast, but even with the amazing personal support they give me, they can’t empathise and truly understand what my family lives through. They are fantastic at letting my children just be children though, and I so appreciate that even with all they know (and they know A LOT), they don’t judge my children or pity them for their pasts.

My family simply don’t see much of the violence or challenges. My children are charm personified in front of their grandparents, and turn into gremlins the moment the front door closes. As much as they believe me, and do their best to support me, they simply cannot see the same children and as such don’t really know how to help.

IMG_20141127_153835I’m aware of this…isolation that I’m putting myself into. Don’t get me wrong – I have normal relationships with other mums, we go out for coffee, we talk about the day to day stuff about school uniforms, dieting, the weather, good books, homework and the star of the week. We have family friends that we occasionally manage a day trip with, but again, we talk about work, the car, what the kids watch on TV, how well they’re eating…normal parent stuff.

 

But I don’t talk about the real things that affect me and my family.
That gets compartmentalised and discussed only with other adoptive parents that live the same kind of life that I do. After all, how many people really understand trauma? Or really get neglect? My normal mum friends don’t – one joked the other day about the circle of neglect she was buying for her baby (an inflatable baby nest), it took a lot for me to bite my tongue and not tell her about REAL neglect…the kind my daughter endured.

The Adoption Social provides the links I need. It’s even managed to find me a couple of people in my local area and we’ve connected via email, and hope to meet up. But I need more. I need more people to get in touch with, and I want better local support. All my local adopters groups have been running for years – the people that go have teenagers and know each other of old, and, I don’t fit. I’ve never been one for cliques. So where now? Where do you get your support from? Am I too needy? Am I expecting too much? I never meant to rant about my lack of support, but I’d love to know how others manage…

So where do you get support from? We hope that here on The Adoption Social we can put you in touch with other adopters, tweeters and bloggers who you can chat with but is that enough?
If you want to write about an issue that you feel strongly about, then please do send your posts into theadoptionsocial@gmail.com