AdoptResources's Blog

blogging about adoption, attachment, parenting & family life

Posts Tagged ‘fostering

Adoption: targets and figures

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calculator and graphNew figures on the number of adoptions in England and Wales are reported in the media today with the general message that there needs to be more adoptions and the process needs to be speeded up.

I’m always wary of these calls to action. Adoption figures can be related in so many emotive ways… “languishing in care” or the contrast “forced adoption… child snatchers”, leading to calls to increase or decrease the numbers of adoptions.

Focussing solely on numbers means you miss the factors that create those numbers. More exploration of the figures is needed to see where the bottlenecks are and what part of the process can be improved to address these.

There are faults with the adoption process and care system and these need to be addressed by improving systems and processes and offering the right support to professionals and families. But a rush to change everything and speed things up could lead to important steps being missed.

Myths about who can and can’t adopt need to be debunked and the process of adoption demystified.

Most importantly for me, the support of families and children is paramount. The ongoing impact of early abuse and neglect on children who go on to adoption is not given the same recognition as that of the looked after child, with some families opting for a long term foster care arrangement rather than adoption so that they don’t lose specialist services for their child.

Regardless of the numbers, the end result of all these processes should be that a child is living in the family setting that is best for them and that they are given the best chance to thrive.

Related posts
It’s not about the numbers

BAAF statement 28/09/11

Written by adoptresources

September 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm


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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?

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September 14, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Conference Report: Somebody else’s child

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I was part of a blogging and tweeting team at BAAF’s Somebody Else’s Child private fostering event earlier this week. I learned loads about a topic I’d not really considered much before.

Private fostering is where a child lives with someone who is not their parent or close relative for 28 days or more. The majority of private fostering arrangements work well and offer the child a safe and secure environment. However, cases of child abuse and child trafficking have been identified in some private fostering arrangements.

You can watch some of the presentations online on BAAF’s livestream and if you’re a fan of twitter, search for the twitter hashtag #pfweek.

Written by adoptresources

March 27, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Bruised before birth

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The Adolescent and Children’s Trust (TACT) are running a series of conferences in the UK for professionals, parents and carers about the complexities faced by a child with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) or Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and strategies and supports that can help.

FASD affects a number of children who are fostered or adopted and it can affect things like speech and language processing, cause and effect thinking and ability to concentrate. Awareness of different strategies and supports will help both children and families to deal with the impact of FASD.

There are still places left for the conference in Edinburgh this week (Thursday 10th March) and there’s another conference in London on 30th March if that’s closer for you.

I’m going to the Edinburgh conference – let me know if you’re going too…

Written by adoptresources

March 7, 2011 at 7:33 am

It’s not about the numbers

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calculator and graphMartin Narey, the outgoing CEO of Barnardos and Tim Loughton, Children’s Minister have called for a reconsideration of current practice in relation to matching ethnicity in adoption to increase the number of adoptions. This is definitely an area that needs to be addressed but the whole matching and approval process would benefit from a bit of TLC. Media attention has focussed on the ‘increasing numbers of adoptions’ message but the real aim should be  better processes for everyone involved, not just trying to increase numbers on any side of the equation.

In an ideal world, there’d be fewer adoptions because children would be cared for in their own family. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. So, in the event that a child is not able to be cared for in their own family, the next aim should be to make their journey to a permanent home as short and untraumatic as possible. It’s not about aiming solely to change the figures and stats around adoption but to:

  • improve the processes for approval of prospective adopters – with less variation in criteria between agencies
  • provide more resources for effective planning and decision making for children taken into care
  • improve the matching process and cut down delays in moving children to permanent placements
  • improve post-placement support through:
  1. better assessment of childrens needs at the time of placement in foster care or with their adoptive family
  2. improved access to support for foster carers and adoptive families
  3. matching support and resources to the child’s needs and not to their legal status (fostered or adopted)

By focussing on the processes and not just numbers you can improve the outcomes for children and families and surely that should be the aim.

Written by adoptresources

January 23, 2011 at 9:59 am

Be my guest…

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laptop on a beachI’ve added a new section to feature guest blogs. Posts can be related to any aspect of adoption, it could be something you’ve already featured on your own blog, it can be anonymous or not. The first guest blog is an amazing story of adoption from Greg. Let me know if you’ve got a story you’d like to share…

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October 25, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Adoption blog carnival…

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I came across the idea of a blog carnival on a few other blogging networks and decided that I’d like to host an Adoption Blog Carnival for National Adoption Week…

And what is a blogging carnival, I hear you ask. Well, it’s just a way of linking together different posts on one topic. You email me details of a post you’ve written in relation to adoption and I write a carnival post and include links to the posts selected for the carnival…

I’m hoping to get posts from all perspectives in adoption – adoptee, adoptive parent, birth parent, prospective adopter, relative through adoption… and from all viewpoints-good/bad/indifferent…

If you’d like to contribute, email details of your post to by October 25th. You don’t have to write a post specifically for the carnival and it doesn’t have to be recent. If you’d like to submit something but don’t want to post it on your usual blog, email me the post and I can include it as a guest blog.

Looking forward to hearing from you…

Written by adoptresources

September 21, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Child protection

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A documentary last night (Panorama, BBC1, 23rd August) discussed a case where a family endured an ordeal as the police, legal and social services tried to establish the cause of an ‘unexplained’ fracture in their son. The case against the parents was eventually dropped but not without causing significant distress to the family. A blog about the show has prompted a debate about the rights and wrongs of the handling of this and similar cases.

The effects of any injustices on families is devastating and there is no disputing or defending that. However, some of the comments on the Panorama blog hinted at a social services system on the lookout for babies to place for adoption, with adoptive parents waiting in the wings, ready to start a new family life.

As an adoptive parent, I do not want there to be any hint of uncertainty about the evidence or need to place any child in care. The issues adopted and fostered children face in coming to terms with the circumstances of being placed into care and the loss of their birth family are huge and would  be unimaginable if there was any dispute over the reasons and the need for their placement.

My happiness at becoming a Mum is always balanced with the fact that behind the scenes there is sadness, trauma and loss for our children and their birth families.

There are lessons for all of the agencies involved in the highlighted case but, from my experience, the motivation to place children in care does not and should not come from a need to meet targets in adoption.

Written by adoptresources

August 24, 2010 at 8:39 pm


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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