Tag Archives: tips

#TASchat round-up – Surviving Christmas

Last week we held our monthly #TASchat on Twitter.CYMERA_20131211_155809 This month the theme was ‘Surviving Christmas’…

If you couldn’t make it, we’ve produced a handy round-up for you, which you can find here via Storify. There are some great tips on making it through Christmas, so be sure to take a look and maybe even make some notes.

Some of the top tips:

From @sares123
introduce changes gradually. Christmas fairy adds a little bit of Christmas everyday from 1st Dec”

From @fabwysiadfae
I always buy a present that he *knows* he’s going to get. He can’t cope with ‘surprises’ – even nice ones.

From @diggerdiaries
spread Xmas pressies over many days. Not all at once.”

If you’ve got any more tips to add, or comments to make, please do so below. Otherwise, we’ll see you in a few weeks for the next #TASchat on Thursday 10th December 9PM GMT.

Meeting your child’s birth parents

Today Joanne Alper of AdoptionPlus talks about preparing to meet AdoptionPlus logo const PHOTOSHOP VERSIONyour children’s birth parents.

Adoption is without doubt an incredibly emotional journey. The hoping….. the worrying…… the waiting…….. and above all else the wanting; for a child to complete your family. When you first find out about your child your compassion and love centres on this little person who has already been through so much in their young lives. The horror and the pain that they must have experienced can feel almost unbearable. You want to love them and protect them from any future harm. You want to connect with them so that they see you as their source of care and protection. You want to have fun together, laugh together and be a family together.

But what about their birth parents? How do you feel about them? Anger that they either harmed or allowed their child to be harmed? Compassion that they have lost their child?  Worry that they may try and take your child away from you? Fear that your child might even still love them?

In the emotional cauldron of Adoption…. feelings about birth parents can be complicated and confusing. Should you meet them if you get the opportunity?  How then do you go about preparing to meet them? What should you say to them? Do you tell your child that you have met them?

At Adoptionplus we have been offering a therapeutic counselling service to birth parents since 2004 and during this time offered counselling to over 700 birth parents.  The majority of the parents we have worked with have experienced considerable difficulties in their own lives. Many have a history themselves of abuse and neglect as children. Some have been in and out of the care system and many have never experienced consistent, caring and reliable parenting. They often have difficulties organising their lives and managing their feelings. A number of parents have mental health difficulties, or learning disabilities and many have problems with drugs and alcohol.

When they come to counselling the majority of parents feel devastated at the loss of their children. They often appear angry and confused about how it’s happened. We see parents who feel completely overwhelmed by the situation they find themselves in. The ability to be self-reflective and consider their role in the loss of their children is often limited. In whatever ways they failed to protect and care for their children, most of the parents are in an incredible amount of pain at the loss of their children in their day to day lives. Many talk of it feeling like a physical pain, one birth mum said it felt like a hole in her heart.

Adoption is ultimately a service for children. If birth parents have not been able to look after their children and keep them safe, despite considerable attempts to support them, children need to be placed with parents who can. Children absolutely  deserve to grow up in a family where they are cared for, nurtured and kept safe.  Which is why adoptive parents like you are so important.

You offer your child hope of a better future. A future where they can learn to make sense of their past, so that it doesn’t hold them back and keep hurting them.  To do this you need to recognise that your relationship with your child’s birth parents and birth history is important. One opportunity to understand and develop this is during a meeting at the time of placement, with your child’s birth parents.

Why it can be helpful to meet your child’s birth parents

  • It can be an opportunity to ask questions of the birth parent and gain helpful information
  • It can provide reassurance to the birth parent that their child is going to be well cared for
  • It can help you gain further understanding into your child’s experience
  • It can help with the integration of your child life story
  • It can help you talk in meaningful ways with your child about them.
  • It can be comforting to your child to know that you have all met
  • It can promote improved letter box contact. Additionally in a world where social media is so accessible, you need to recognise that as your child grows there is the potential for them to be in contact with birth relatives. Having some relationship with the birth parents yourself, can be helpful if this situation should occur.


How to prepare yourself

  • Try and think about the situation from the birth parents perspective.
  • They are likely to feel a lot of pain at the loss of their child and want reassurance that you will look after them properly.
  • It’s helpful to write down a list of questions of things you may want to know. It’s not uncommon for birth parents to tell adoptive parents information that they have not told social workers before.
  • It’s worth considering asking the social worker to take a photo of you all together for your child. This can be helpful for your child to have.
  • Empathy and compassion are always good, for the birth parent, the child and yourself!


The meeting

  • These meetings are arranged by social workers and there should always be a social worker present to manage the meeting and support everyone.
  • Birth parents may feel very nervous about the meeting, and be concerned that they will be judged by the adopters. They want the adoptive parents to hear how they had tried their very best even if it hadn’t worked out.
  • Birth parents have told us that for them the meetings go well if the adoptive parents take a real interest in them and ask questions about themselves and their child.  This makes them feel valued. It can also provide adoptive parents with helpful information.
  • Birth parents have told us that they don’t like it if adoptive parents say that they feel like they have been given a ‘gift’. Many adoptions are contested and birth parents can find this comment upsetting.
  • Many birth parents say that they like to know that their child will have a good life. As well as needing reassurance about how much you will care for them they are also interested to hear about activities, holidays and the family home for example, so they can picture the life their child will have. However, it is important to be aware of and sensitive to the differences between lifestyles when sharing this information.
  • Birth parents also find it reassuring to know that adoptive parents will support the letter box contact as this is very important to them.



  • It’s important that you take care of yourself in what will be an emotionally draining situation.
  • It’s good to make sure that you have someone to talk to about what happened and what was said
  • You may want to make a note of important information that was shared
  • And a bit of TLC is always good…..


Joanne Alper
Director of Services

For more information about AdoptionPlus you can reach them on enquiries@adoptionplus.co.uk or check out their website at www.adoptionplus.co.uk

Tips on Twitter

Hands up if you love a hashtag?
*Puts hand straight up*

Yes here on The Adoption Social we do like a hashtag, and we’ve had some great hashtag initiatives recently from the Twitter community – #TakingCare, #HowAreYou, #TakingCare100 and our own #WASO too.

So we’ve thought of a new one that might help with a bit more sharing of tips, resources and general usefulness – Adoption Tips or #Adotips. 1421672780517

There is such a wealth of knowledge out there and we want you to share it. Whether it’s a parenting tip, recommended website, strategy, technique, course, book, blog or even another Tweeter that has been particularly inspiring or helpful. Just make sure you add the hashtag in your tweet and we’ll share it, and try to offer a regular round up here on The Adoption Social.
And if you see an #Adotips tweet that you agree/disagree with or can add to, then please do.

The Things We Do – 31/03/14

Have you written a post recently about the “things” your family do?

Is there a special little something that keeps you and your family going? Maybe it’s a special meal or movie night, a visit to to a special place or an activity that brings a smile to everyone’s face. Or it could be how you’ve overcome a particularly difficult challenge. Have you conquered something and want to share how with everyone? Then write a post about it and link up with “The Things We Do”.



3 Bees and a Honey, did an excellent post last time about how to deliver a successful birthday. Transition to a Successful Birthday is a post full of tips on how to make celebrating  that special day as smoothly as possible, see what you think.

So if you’ve got some useful tips to share, get writing and we look forward to reading when you link up below……..

And if you like you can always add our rather lovely badge to your post or blog…


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The Things We Do 17/3/14

The Things We Do – a link up for you to share the things you do…

Last time the lovely Frogotter shared her post about ‘The Hat’…you can read the full post here.

IMG_20140313_170045 (1)
What things do you do that make your life a bit easier? What things do you do for your children?

Whatever it is, we want to share it, so link up below, and as with all our linkys, please do share your favourites, and we’ll do our best to share all the posts that join up.

The Things We Do – 3/3/14

The link up that tells us all about the things you are doing…

So come along and join the linky fun, with a post that tells us what you’ve done recently that really works. Any tips or advice, maybe just a new approach to doing something, that makes life that little bit easier for you or your child/children.hearts

Last time the Family of Five showed us just how Valentine’s day can be made lots of fun and a great way to show your children how special they are, read more here.

So now it’s your turn to share, link your post up below and if you like add our badge to your post or blog. We’ll try to share as many posts as possible but you can always let people know you’ve linked up using the twitter hashtag  #TheThingsWeDo.

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The Things We Do – 03/02/14

A place to share your Pearls of Wisdom………

I’m really starting to enjoy the diverse posts that we attracting for this link up. From offering up tips for dealing with different situations, we are also seeing posts on just how you get through life in general and what happens within your families.

dance-shoesLast week @3beesandahoney, described the dance of her family life, a great insight into the different situations we can all find ourselves in, read the post here.

So what have you discovered recently, or have remembered a little snippet of advice that could be helpful to others? Maybe you’ve got a post in your archive that could help others. Please come and share them with us in our link up below. And to help promote this link up please do attach our badge to your blog…….


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The Things We Do 27/1/2014

pantoWe all have tips and tricks, special traditions, particular routines, or treats special to our family that make our days go better and brighter. They might not always work, but they are…

The Things We Do…

Last week Sarah from The Puffin Diaries shared her love of pantomime – and how it’s provided her with some ‘me time’.

We’d love to hear about the things you do, little or big that make your days easier, or just a little less stressful. So if you have something to share, please write a blog post (or poem, or post a photo) and link up below. If you don’t have your own blog then you could tweet your tip with the hashtag #thethingswedo or drop us a line at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com and we can help you out.

The Things We Do – 13/01/14



So we started this new link up last week as a space for you to tell us about the things you do to help you along in life, ease family pressures and bring happier times for all. Thank you to those that linked up, we enjoyed reading about the need to get outside, open spaces and by the beach. Also a family in the midst of very tough times talked about coping strategies, a very touching and emotional post from Katie’s Adoption and Fitness Journeys . The subject of bedtime routine was raised, one I’m sure many of you can offer up advice on, and also an approach to holding conversations with your children. So plenty to get us all started and if you missed them, then please have a look here.

So what is it that you do?

Share your ideas with us in a post, it really doesn’t need to be a long one, you might just have one simple little piece of advice, which someone else could benefit from. It could be something to do with your children or maybe it’s something that is just for you, that something that helps you get through. Pictures or words or both, you choose.

You can share your posts on twitter with the hashtag #TheThingsWeDo and please do add our new badge to your blog or post. Oh and don’t forget to have a look at the other posts, you might just find some pearls of wisdom you’d never thought about before.


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Changing schools – useful tips and things to ask

 Today’s Handy Tips and Advice comes from our very own Vicki, who also writes The Boy’s Behaviour. If you have advice or tips to share too, then please do get in touch.

I’m in no way an expert, but I’m currently looking at moving my child to a different school. There’s a host of reasons why, but I won’t bore you with those. Instead I wanted to write about the things I’ve found useful – tips given to me, questions to ask. If you have anything else to add, please do so in the comments below.

Making the right decision

If you’re thinking about changing schools, then it’s for a good reason. However, I know some people have tried to put us off moving our son, and suggested we reconsider – indeed our social worker said:

Try to resolve the issue at your current school. Moving schools may not address the issues you’re facing, and indeed moving may create more anxiety and worry, and cause more disruption.

We were also advised to consider the following, before we made any definite steps towards moving our son:

  • Each school has it’s own way of teaching – how will your child cope with learning in new Glasses and booksways, with different rules?
  • Children who transfer after exam subjects have been picked may find their new school doesn’t offer the same subject – bear this in mind.
  • Think about how well your child will be able to settle, how quickly they make friends, and if this might impact on their ability to learn.
  • Consider uniform – you might need to buy a whole new uniform – from Blazers and special PE kit right down to different colour socks. Is this manageable for you?
  • Do check whether your other children will be able to move to the same school. Have you thought whether it will be a problem for you to have your children attending different schools? There is no automatic right for your other children to transfer to the new school, either now or in the future.

Talking to your child

Whether you discuss it with your child right at the very beginning, mention it casually, or keep it to yourself until you find a place elsewhere is your call. Here we decided, given our son is only 6, to mention it in casual conversation, kind of sounding him out really, but we won’t say anything else until we know we can find a suitable school for him – no point worrying him, and I don’t want him letting on to his current school what our plans are.

Speaking with admissions and choosing a school

The next step is to contact your local education authority and their admissions team specifically. Our own local authority has a form that is downloadable from their website, which we print, fill in and send off, with 3 schools named as options.

Our local authority advised us to look on their website at the list of local schools – there are hundreds, but I narrowed it down to about 8 that were either within a reasonable distance to us or seemed to have specialisms in some of our areas of difficulty. The advisors in the admissions team were happy to look up those schools to see if they had any spaces. In our case, most haven’t got any spaces in the Year we’re transferring within. But we were advised to check out the websites and prospectuses of all we’d initially picked, and base our decisions on the schools, not whether they had spaces. Sometimes, depending on how the school is governed, they can make a space available. If your child has a statement and is still considered LAC, then I was advised that the new school would have to take the child. *There’s a handy tip there…if your child is in the middle of getting a statement, wait until they have it before you try to move them, it could prove a useful tool*.

Ofsted website

So after looking at websites, OFSTED reports and speaking to schools directly I narrowed my choices down to 4, which I’m visiting this week – only one of them has spaces, but one is governed differently and might be able to make a space.

Remember to look at a mix of large and small schools. Just because you’re experiencing issues with a large school now, doesn’t mean you should only consider small schools. Large and small schools all have their own pros and cons – big/small budgets, lots/hardly any friendship opportunities, little fish/big fish – opportunities to stand out, or get lost. Consider every aspect.

What to ask

I have a standard list of questions and they’re in part based around the things my son struggles with, but you might find them useful to adapt:

  • How big is your intake/what size are your classes?
  • What is the daily routine like?
  • How often do you have assembly?
  • What is the mix of female/male teachers?
  • Have you experience of children with attachment issues?
  • What is your SEN provision like?
  • How often do you review your IEPs?
  • Can I meet your SENCo?
  • What is the school’s approach to discipline?
  • Do you have a nurture group?
  • How many TAs are there in each class?
  • How would you manage transition from old school to here?
  • How are you moving forward on your OFSTED recommendations of a,b and c?

I also explained a little about my son’s needs, and asked if they were daunted by them. And how they thought they could support him.

Going with your gut feeling 

I’ve been advised that the most important thing is the feel of the school – several people have told me that I’ll know as soon as I step through the doors whether it’s right or not. Think about how you feel when you look around? Is there a good atmosphere? Do the children seem happy? Is safety evident? Are they obviously only showing you the good bits? Are the displays fresh and new? Are they interested and taking pride in the children’s work?

And if you’re allowed, see if you can ask the children questions – are they happy? Do they look forward to school each day? Do they like their teachers? Do they like the playground and it’s facilities?

Finally, try to strike up a bit of a rapport with the headteacher. Get a good relationship going before and during the application process… it’ll help in the long term.

Next steps and submitting that application

So my next step is to finish the application by adding the 3 schools (or less) that I want my son to transfer to. One of the schools advised me to add as much additional information as I possibly can, so I’m calling on our Post Adoption Social Worker to write a supporting statement, and I shall be adding a (hopefully) strong statement about why I want to move my child, and why I’ve picked the schools that I have.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of things to look at and things about, but I’ve tried to pull in the questions, advice and information I’ve been given, and hope you might find it useful too. The most important thing I think is to be prepared – go and visit schools knowing a bit about them, knowing the transfer and admissions process – that way you can ask the relevant questions.Bookbag and school shoes