Whether you're a parent, carer or professional working with an adopted child, it is imperative that we acknowledge the trauma that all adopted children have experienced; even those removed at birth. Many adopted children go on to have additional needs; whether they're directly related to their early life experiences or another support need often seen in our children such as Autism or ADHD.
It can be difficult to know where to start when your child begins to show signs of behaviours rooted in trauma. I've outlined a whole lot of support further down this page. I hope you find them useful and you leave here with an idea of some direction you can take in supporting your child and your family.
With love, Claire.
Parenting all children is one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences we will go through. Parenting a child who has experienced early childhood trauma usually requires more specific knowledge, skills and compassion than you may have originally expected. Often, our adoption preparation does not really prepare us for the reality of some of the challenges families may experience, nor the level of support our children often require. So I've put together a load of resources: adopters entitlements, organisations, training and books. Everything I've come across and can personally recommend over the years is listed here.
Do take your time. It can be overwhelming to get to the point of accepting that our children require support. One step at a time.
The very first place I am going to recommend you check out is the National Association of Therapeutic Parents (NATP). They are qualified, experienced professionals who have many collective years experience supporting and raising adopted children. They offer a membership option for a small monthly fee and through this you can access events, support groups, resources and 24/7 support.
Here is the link: Home | National Association of Therapeutic Parents (naotp.com)
Secondly, do check out the training courses (most at a small cost) from Home | Inspire Training Group. They are a partnership agency of NATP. I have accessed a lot of their training and it really is brilliant. They range from introduction to therapeutic parenting to more specific training such as managing violence and supporting food related issues. They also offer a training pass in case you would like to access a variety of training which will reduce costs. There is a free 7 day pass too. Here is the link: Home | Trauma Revolution
Here are some books you might want to have a look at.
(These are affiliate links which means that I earn a small commission for every purchase through the links).
https://amzn.to/3KOqKzd : The Great Behaviour Breakdown by Bryan Post.
https://amzn.to/3IHOMKn : The A-Z of Therapeutic Parenting by Sarah Naish.
https://amzn.to/3Gabd9p : The Quick Guide to Therapeutic Parenting by Sarah Naish and Sarah Dillon.
https://amzn.to/3uc0itl : Creating Loving Attachments by Kim Golding and Dan Hughes.
https://amzn.to/34ad0hj : Every Day Parenting With Security and Love by Kim Golding.
If you feel as though your family need more professional help then your local authority is a good place to start. They have a number of services available to support you and your family including: support maintaining birth family links, counselling, training, information and advice, increasing support networks by linking with other adoptive families and more. Most local authorities have an Adoption Support Advisor who can support you with finding the right services for your family both within the local authority and under NHS commissioning services.
There is also large amount of funding available each year via the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) to pay for assessments and therapies. Therapies aren't just the typical therapies you may think of such as talking therapy but it also includes creative therapies like art or horse riding and sensory integration therapies. This link explains how the ASF works and the steps to take to get support via this route: Adoption Support Fund - First4Adoption.
This page is excellent for breaking down all of adoption specific parenting courses and therapies available via the ASF.
As adopters, we can really benefit from Adult Adoptees experiences. Unless we have been through adoption ourselves we will never truly understand how our children feel. It may be helpful to you as a parent/carer to join some adult adoptee led facebook groups or check out some adoptee voices on Instagram using the hashtag #adoptees.
You may be a Teaching Assistant, someone who runs home education groups or other out of school groups. You may be a childcare worker highly experienced in working with children but if you don't yet have an understanding of what trauma in childhood looks like, or what even counts as trauma then these first few links may be helpful.
Adoption support fund (ASF) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) All adopted children are entitled to up to £7500 in assessment and therapies. Here is a guide on what it covers, eligibility and how to apply. The family of the child you're working with may not be aware so please do share this information with them.
Here are some books which you may find helpful to inform your practice:
(All links below are affiliate links).
https://amzn.to/3G6HJcn : Know Me To Teach Me: Differentiated Discipline For Those Recovering From Adverse Childhood Experiences by Louise Michelle Bamber.
https://amzn.to/3g7f8ZQ : The Trauma and Attachment-Aware Classroom: A Practical Guide to Supporting Children Who Have Encountered Trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences by Rebecca Brooks.
https://amzn.to/3HcAq4d : The A-Z of Therapeutic Parenting Professional Companion: Tools for Proactive Practice by Sarah Naish, Sarah Dillon and Jane Mitchell.