AdoptResources's Blog

blogging about adoption, attachment, parenting & family life

Posts Tagged ‘adoptioncoach


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holding handsThe title of this post didn’t mean much to me until last week when I listened to a presentation from Laura Steckley at a Scottish Attachment in Action conference. Laura talked about the concept of containment and how it relates to the regulation of emotions from early infancy and beyond…

Containment in this context describes the process where an infant seeks out emotional regulation from their carer by projecting their unmanageable feelings to their carer to manage. The carer absorbs the feelings and reflects them back in a more manageable form. It is an important part of the infant, caregiver relationship and links closely with the attachment process.

I really liked this way of thinking about emotional regulation, especially in adoption and fostering where children might not have had much emotional containtment in their early years and could still be projecting what’s unmanageable for them and chucking it your way to process. It helps make sense of those situations where ’emotions run high’...

Another important point that was made is that carers can become ‘uncontained’ in trying to contain the emotions  of children in their care…

All of this got me thinking about ‘containment for containers’. For practitioners that can be in the form of professional supervision, for parents and carers it might be one-to-one support, a chat with a social worker, support groups, online forums, friends and family, or a book and a cup of tea. Whatever works for you, it’s important to recognise that you’ll need to find ways to help you feel supported and ready to deal with whatever emotions might be thrown at you.

On a professional level, I have regular supervision, and on a personal level I rely on my network of friends and family, and lots and lots of tea… What works for you?

Written by adoptresources

September 14, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Support over the summer…

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summer written in the sandSummertime is associated with relaxing, taking time off, having fun and recharging batteries. But it often doesn’t live up to the expectations, especially for those of us who are parents to children who’ve experienced early neglect or trauma. The thought of all that free time can seem like a dream come true for some kids but ironically, the lack of familiar routine can lead to more confusion and the occasional meltdowns.

I’ve written about some tips and strategies that can help over the holiday season: Surviving the summer holidaysChecking inA weekend away

For a bit of extra support, this summer I’m running an online ‘Adoption summercamp’. It’s a 6 week programme that can work around your schedule and includes:

  • weekly video blogs and teleseminars to introduce the topic for each week and cover some key points on attachment and parenting and look at tips and strategies for dealing with issues that are important for you.
  • a weekly group Q&A call for you to discuss any issues with me
  • downloads of supporting materials
  • access to all the recordings to listen to/watch when it suits you best.

rabbit figures in classroom settingOver the 6 weeks we’ll cover:

  • finding your holiday friendly routine
  • troubleshooting – what are your challenges
  • working on what’s behind the behaviour
  • tools and strategies
  • the ‘back to school’ transition
  • looking after yourself

There are some bonuses for early birds who register before 9am on 18th July, including your first week for free, a copy of the Boosting Self Esteem in Adoption ebook and, for the first 5 who register, a one-to-one call for more individual attention.

I’m really looking forward to running the course and hope that you’ll join me for a bit of extra support over the holidays… I’m sending out more info later today, in the meantime, email or comment below if you’ve any queries.

Written by adoptresources

July 15, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Coming soon…

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…to a living room near you – a teleseminar on an adoption topic of your choice…

laptop and coffeeI recently discovered teleseminars and am a big fan. I like the fact that I can learn something from the comfort of my own living room, no childcare to sort out, just an hour of my time with a cup of tea. So, I’m hosting two free teleseminars in December: the first one is on 7th December and will answer lots of questions about the adoption process, the second one is on the 8th December and will focus on finding answers to some of the challenges post placement.

I’ll tweet and post details nearer the time. Let me know the questions you’d like answers to…

Written by adoptresources

November 15, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Back to school…

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It doesn’t seem that long since my summer holiday post and now we’re into our second week back at school with the novelty of getting organised for school fast wearing off…

School requires a whole host of skills – social skills, the ability to listen and concentrate, language processing, talking and communicating. Then there’s taking care of yourself physically, eating the right things at the right time and being able to organise yourself for different classes/lessons.

Even writing, which can seem like second nature to most of us, requires so many individual skills for someone in the early learning stages…

  • the ability to hold a pen or a pencil
  • how to form the shape of the letter
  • what the letter represents
  • how it fits with other letters to spell a word
  • how words fit together to make up a sentence

So it’s not surprising that going to school can send some children’s stress levels sky high, in turn affecting relationships at home. The tasks involved in the  journey from bed to breakfast to school and from school to home/activity, mealtime and bed can provide various opportunities for stand-offs throughout the day for children who find school difficult.

Top tips for helping ease back into the school term…

  • the all important routine, keeping things predictable and following the same format to get ready for school and for afterschool activities and homework
  • pay attention to basic physical needs like sleep and diet – it’s amazing the impact of being tired and low energy levels
  • time healthy snacks for the return from school so that energy dips don’t affect homework/activity time
  • ask your child about school, notice things and offer help if you think it’s needed. It’s  important to be aware of any specific things that might be troubling your child – bullying, learning difficulties etc and act to find solutions or support early on
  • use calenders and planners to map out the week so that kids know where they are going and when – visual cues are helpful especially if things can change from week to week – I like the Organised Mum weekly planner (you can win one by entering the prize draw below).

None of these tips are rocket science but they can make the transition from holidays to school a bit easier. I’d love to hear your tips for making term time easier…

To win a fab weekly planner leave a comment or email

Written by adoptresources

August 24, 2010 at 10:42 pm

The waiting game…

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Adoption is a funny process – full of highs & lows; stops & starts. There are lots of stages to get through and each one feels like an achievement and is worth a celebration, but is followed by a wait until you reach the next stage. In the middle of each of the waiting stages you have to put a bit of yourself on hold and wait for things outwith your control to fall into place but at the same time try to plan for what might or might not happen with no firm idea of when anything is going to happen.

Apologies now for a fairly rubbish analogy but … it’s a bit like flying… you decide you want to go somewhere & research your options, so far so good… decision made, journey confirmed – woo hoo… get yourself organised, remember your passport and head to the airport… check in & hand your baggage over – nearly there… then the departure lounge – potential delays, maybe even cancellations – then, just when you’ve bought another latte/gin & tonic/gone to the bathroom… your flight is called & you’re off – no going back now!!!

So what can you do if you’re in the waiting stage:

  • look after yourself & your partner – be kind to each other, different things stress different people out, some people are better at blocking out things they can’t change, for others it’s not so easy – respect your differences
  • think about the profile of the child you’ve been approved to adopt – preschool? what activities are in your area, playgroups, mother & toddler groups etc – school age? there will be less parent/child activities but it might be worth checking out some of the activities available at sports centres, library etc. You don’t need to be too specific or start booking places yet!! But a bit of legwork now can help save a bit of time later.
  • have a wander round ikea/mothercare etc and see where the types of things you like are, get a few cataolgues to flick through at home. We had a mad afternoon shopping for car seats & buggies & didn’t have a clue what to ask for or what we needed!
  • speak to your health visitor (?paediatric nurse in US) – I found our health visitor a brilliant source of support and advice on parenting and child development. When your child is placed there might not be any scheduled visits to or from the health visitor, so it’s worth making contact or at least finding out how to get in touch with your health visitor before placement.
  • check out some childcare/parenting books… a word of caution on this one – it’s hard to know what information is going to be relevant until you know the child being placed, but again finding out what books you like and where you can find them can help save time later.
  • find out from your agency what sources of support there are for adoptive families in your area – knowing this in advance can help if you do need a bit more support or advice after placement. Linking in with local supports before placement helps make it easier to connect after placement.
  • have a look on social networks – twitter, facebook, internet, Adoption UK etc
  • speaking to family – letting them know about the stages of the process you’ve still to go through, involvement of social workers etc; also have a chat to them about what you’ve learned about attachment – help them to understand how your parenting might have to be a bit different from what they’d expect.
  • sort out practical issues – find out about your options for adoption leave, work out your finances etc – having children is expensive and working out financial practicalities in advance can reduce stress later.
  • pay attention to your needs – chat with someone you feel comfortable with – allow yourself your ups & downs…

You’ve probably done or heard of all of the above and there’s not a lot you can do to make the time pass faster. But there might be a couple of things that help you feel better prepared or fill the gaps while you’re waiting.

Best wishes for you and your adoption.

Check out the AdoptResources blogroll or tweets for current info…

Written by adoptresources

January 20, 2010 at 12:31 am


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A lot of the things that I’ve found helpful in our adoption/parenting  are not rocket science concepts, they are simple and straightforward elements of parenting, things that are done subconsciously and often go unnoticed. The one difference is in the timing, when you use them and sometimes using some of the ways of relating to younger children & babies with older children. I don’t mean using the goo goo gaa gaa of baby babble but capturing some of it in an age appropriate way…

Noticing is a favourite of mine – it can buy you a bit of time if things are getting a bit heated but the key benefit is in helping children to develop an awareness of their behaviour.

Picture a parent-baby interaction:

  • baby gurgles & smiles….
  • parent notices and responds with something like… “oh look you’re smiling … what a gorgeous smile … etc etc”

The parent and child have a positive interaction, there’s a bit of mirroring/copying , the babystarts to become aware that they are doing something that someone else recognises, there’s also some neurobiology going on positively reinforcing the interaction for the parent and baby.

Now, picture an older child throwing stuff around their room, the initial reaction might be, in the interests of safety and avoiding destruction of stuff, to say “Stop!” … but the child may be absorbed in their actions without realising what’s going on “Stop” is unlikely to have an effect – “Stop” is about you and what you want… Amazingly, responding with “You’re throwing stuff around your room”  can help focus the child’s attention on what they are doing and quite often the behaviour stops or at least lessens. I know it seems a bit lightweight for some situations but it’s worth a try and it can help take the confrontation out of the situation.

Another good time to notice things is when children are acting out, you can use a bit of guesswork too.. “you seem angry/upset/…..” again helps children regulate more than “why are you…”

Children who have experienced early trauma or neglect are likely to have missed out on consistent positive parent/baby interactions and the trust and security that develops from these. Noticing behaviours in children can help in the development of self awareness, trust in relationships and in moving on to understand how their behaviour impacts on others.

Not rocket science but it might be worth a try…

Written by adoptresources

January 18, 2010 at 4:44 pm


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Welcome to my first ever blog!!! Not sure where to start but start I shall…

One of the things that put me off blogging was adding another thing to my to do list, something else not to have time to do. One of my pet hates is to go to someone’s blog and find their most recent posting is more than 2 years ago! So my first mission is not to forget to blog – it won’t be a daily occurrence but hopefully often enough not to look forgotten about.

So much for why not to blog… what made me decide to put blogging on my to do list? It was another thing that I didn’t think I’d get into… Twitter & tweeting. I recently started to tweet to let people know about the launch of my website, taking personal and professional experience of adoption into the real world. I wasn’t really sure about Twitter but I’m now totally hooked on it and think it is an amazing way of connecting with people. I’ve made some great connections and even managed a real conversation on the phone with @changenutrition! I’ve found saying what I want to say in 140 characters a real challenge (!) but also a really good way of focussing what you want to say. Through twitter, I’ve noticed how much a blog can add a bit of depth to tweets, so that’s what got me thinking about blogging. My head is buzzing with loads of stuff that I want to say that I honestly don’t think blogging will get as far as my to do list (in fact it will probably take me away from it!!).

I’m going to blog on things to do with adoption, fostering, attachment, things relevant to caring for children who have spent time in the care system, strategies and different things that might be helpful to families. There will also be a bit of stuff that interests me and a bit of real life stuff (but not too much!). I will respect my family’s privacy, in particular our children’s, and do not plan on sharing any family secrets or information that’s not mine to share.

So, until my next blog (in 1yr, 11mths time!!)…. night night!

Written by adoptresources

January 18, 2010 at 12:02 am