DO YOU WANT TO UNDERSTAND ADOPTED AND FOSTERED CHILDREN?
Are you confused by their behaviour?
Being around a child whose behaviour is “challenging”, weird” and does not fit with your previous experiences is confusing and difficult.
There are/will be the following sections for specific people:
- Just curious
- Foster Carers
- Prospective (adopters and foster carers)
- Social workers
- Judges and lawyers
- Birth Families
Please explore FAB Parents website, there is much rich information available.
Do you want to understand adopted and fostered children? We know that sometimes, as an adopter, it is all too much and the overwhelm is unbearable.
Understanding your child, having a framework for thinking and access to material you can share with others will, we hope, be useful
As a current or prospective adopter, FAB Parents is a place for you to get honest answers. Your children may be small and/or new to you; or bigger than you, in their, teens, twenties or thirties. We understand the complexities, mixed emotions, stresses, disappointments, challenges and pain hence offer a safe place for you to learn and transform. No magic bullets. No glib falsehoods. No unrealistic expectations or empty promises. Just robust proven methodologies. Why? Because we’ve been there.
The Birth Parent
We know you were their first family and you grieve for them. We know you love your children, you care about them and they are frequently in your thoughts.
We believe you are entitled to help and support to deal with your grief, pain and the reasons your children were removed.
We hope you seek and find such support from appropriate places, we understand you are still screaming.
You may find some useful organisations and resources here
If you are a birth parent whose children were removed by the courts, sadly we can’t offer you any support or specific input.
We have one request. If you are trying to reconnect with your children, please approach an independent organisation or the adoptive/foster parents first. You do not know what is happening in your child’s life. He may be very upset by bullying at school. She may have just split with a boyfriend and be very distressed. Their mental health may be fragile. They may have exams and course work deadlines which would be disrupted by your message, text or call, however well-intentioned.
Adoptive and foster parents want to protect their children from unexpected derailments in their life. They know the current circumstances: you don’t. Please let them pick the reconnection timings.
We know of many adoptive families where children have missed exams, dropped out of school, college or university because they received a Facebook message from their birth family. Some have never fully recovered.
You always have an important place in your children’s hearts and lives. Please help support them alongside the adoptive family.
The Foster Carer
As a foster carer, you may be the first person who hears grim details of a child’s life from their own lips.
A child might live with you, the foster carer, for a few days or a couple of decades. Sometimes you know in advance, sometimes not.
You often have complex contact arrangements with members of the birth family.
Sometimes you see changes in a child quickly, other times slowly. Sometimes the change feels good; other times its very painful.
You will always have support and supervision from professionals. Some will be useful, some inadequate.
You open your home to some of the most hurt children in our society.
You are a professional parent, working out how best to support, manage and care for a young frightened stranger.
You are a foster carer who does a remarkable job. FAB Parents will, we hope, give you extra resources and material to improve your skills, widen your thinking and deepen your knowledge.
The Prospective Adopter
The desire to be a parent for many is both a primitive urge and an instinctive feelin
If you have spent years endeavouring to produce a baby but, for whatever reason, you are unable to bear your own children the “conventional way”, the adoption from the Care System is an option.
One of the cruellest byproducts of infertility is that someone else (social workers, adoption panel members, judges) will be the people deciding whether you are “suitable” to adopt.
You know you would make great “normal” parents and that is what you desire at a very core level. However, unlike most of your friends and family, your path to parenthood is the road less travelled. It seems so unfair.
The grief in not producing your “own genetic children”, will probably be with you for the rest of your life. Not as the searing agony it once was, but like a dull ache which can occasionally flair into a stabbing pain; especially when poked. Adoption will not remove it completely.
One of the tough realisations is that the children available for adoption are not nice healthy babies, but older children who have been removed from their birth families by the courts due to maltreatment or neglect. This is something you need to understand and fully accept if you are to progress successfully and get satisfaction from adoptive parenting. Your expectations must change.
Understanding the legacy of childhood trauma will allow you to make robust decisions for yourself and for the children you consider. For any prospective adopter, facing hard truths at this stage will help future proof you and your children.
If you are considering a sibling group, please watch this video. The dynamics and bonding (healthy or traumatic) of a previously maltreated sibling group is complex. You need to learn how to see beyond the presenting behaviour.
Frequently an adopted or foster child in your classroom will behave in a way that disrupts other pupils and destabilises the classroom.
This makes your life as a teacher difficult, and it is often tough to deal with the fallout.
It can be tricky to be sympathetic and supportive to the child and their permanent parent when other parents complain about TIM (Traumatised Child Maltreated) hitting, swearing or disrupting their own child’s learning. It’s a professional challenge that’s complex to understand, navigate and manage. It’s also exhausting having TIM’s in your classroom.
This article offers insights into TIMs early life.
Classroom strategies for traumatised and attachment disordered children do map across to “normal” children. They add more tools to your child management processes. A classroom which feels safe to a traumatised child will benefit everyone.
Although adoptive and foster parents may both be dealing with ‘similar’ children, there are some differences which are worth noting.
Adoptive parents are much less likely to get support from the Local Authority. They often have to fight for adoption support and although the Adoption Support Fund offered some therapeutic input, it is now being capped. Adopters often ask the Local Authority for help but don’t get what they want or need. This is deeply frustrating (particularly as they were told during preparation that support is there) and you may find adopters angry, exhausted, depressed and desperate. Please remember they were not like this before their children arrived. (They would not have been approved as adopters otherwise). The behaviour you are seeing in them, and from them, is the result of living with a traumatised child and dealing with “the system”. And yes … you are part of that system.
Foster parents are supported and supervised by a Fostering Agency (Independent or the Local Authority). Foster carers may have a child placed for days, weeks, months or years. Often they don’t know the duration. There will be social workers actively involved in the life of the foster child and who may have to approve school trips or activities, because the Local Authority has “parental responsibility” or may share it with birth parents, which makes the situation even more complex. Consequently, foster parents would appreciate a ‘heads up’ for trips etc from you.
The child’s birth family will always be significant to a child, whatever the circumstances that caused their removal from that family. This is private information which needs to remain private. Support from you in keeping those boundaries will benefit the child long term. The child needs to know their life story (100% truth in an age appropriate way), yet it should not be playground or staff room gossip. Their personal history will not allow you to teach them better. Of
Sometimes it can be really tough stuff. Maybe the child learns a birth parent has died/ been imprisoned/ had a baby/ had a child removed/ had a child returned to their care/ is the victim or perpetrator of a high profile crime. The list is long and frequently ugly. Even though informing the child (age appropriately) is correct for their long term understanding, there is likely to be short term behavioural and emotional outbursts. As a teacher you simply need to know “he had some distressing news which will take some time to process and integrate”. Sometimes parents are restricted by legal and court decisions. So please have some sympathy. This is difficult for everyone.
Throughout FAB Parents you will find information to help you understand traumatised children.
The Social Worker
You are a social worker who often sees things that most of society walks past.
If you are a social worker in child protection, adoption or fostering, you know some children have suffered horribly, while with others, you suspect but can’t evidence the maltreatment. In addition, you are dealing with dysfunctional adults who seldom welcome your involvement.
Frequently you are unable to access pioneering research and methodologies.
You may have more cases than you feel competent to deal with and you may also feel your superiors are unable to support you.
FAB Parents offers you the opportunity to step back from the day to day, get fresh perspectives on trauma and the long term impact of childhood trauma. There are resources, ideas and a framework for thinking put and pointers to other sources.
Hopefully, it will make you smile too.
The Special Guardian
This can be a brother, sister, grandparents or any other family member.
More to Come
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Sample the Introductory Video
It’s a free sample and suitable for all. Six video lessons (27 minutes) giving a juicy overview into the world of Trauma Triggered Behaviour.
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