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Welcome to fab parents

A Coherent Framework for Thinking

FAB Parents offers a road map and resources for adoptive and foster parents and the professionals who touch their lives.

Want honest answers to tough questions?

Want realistic solutions?

Deep understanding is the key to successful and rewarding parenting. FAB Parents offers a robust, proven framework which allows you to have a more fulfilling parenting experience and honours the child’s life experiences.

FAB - Foster, Adoptive and Birth Circles

This is what I wished I’d had at every stage of my  25 year parenting journey

Helen Oakwater

Adoptive parent, coach, trainer, speaker, author of Bubble Wrapped Children , Founder FAB Parents

About fab parents

Family Statues in the grass outside

This website, the articles, training, tools, concepts, ideas, philosophy and mentoring are what I (Helen Oakwater) wished I’d had during all the different stages of my adoption journey; from pre-placement assessment through to my kids leaving home.

Even though it is primarily for foster and adoptive parents whose children experienced maltreatment and neglect in infancy: the content will be useful for anyone who touches the life of a traumatised child; including Teachers, Social Workers, Health Visitors, Decision Makers, Medics, Family Members, The Media, Judges and adults who experienced abuse, neglect or maltreatment during their own childhood.

You want and need to know that the material on this website is credible, effective and based on sound theory, research and practice. You should know the qualifications and track record of contributors. These are listed for the individual contributors. (At this stage it is just Helen).

I believe that understanding is the key. By exploring this website you will:

  • learn more about the impact of maltreatment and neglect on children
  • find tools to comprehend, recognise and melt trauma
  • discover ways to manage your own state and thinking
  • re-examine your motivation, expectations and beliefs
  • acquire fresh parenting strategies and tactics
  • realise that even though there is no ‘single answer’; the framework for thinking offered by FAB Parents will leave you feeling empowered, encouraged and help you create a unique route map for parenting your child from where you are now to adulthood and beyond.

Meet Helen Oakwater  Founder of FAB Parents

Helen Oakwater is an international Trainer, Speaker, Coach, author of Bubble Wrapped Children and adoptive parent.

A little about me. I adopted a sibling group (aged 5,4,2) in the early 1990s from the UK Care System. My approach is pragmatic and real. I have lived with children who lie, steal, self-harm and were expelled from schools, amongst many other things.

I have worn many different hats in the adoption and fostering world, including:

  • Running a local (Adoption UK) support group for adopters for a decade
  • Membership of the Government Adoption Task Force
  • Trustee for the charity Adoption UK for 6 years
  • Delivered training on Trauma Triggered Behaviour to thousands of parents and professionals in the UK, Australia and New Zealand
  • Conference speaker and lobbyist
Helen Oakwater  speaking on stage at IFCO Sydney 2015
Helen Oakwater - Author and Founder of FAB Parents, halfway behind a veil

Principles – FAB Parents believes that:

Calm water in swimming pool with tiles on surface

 

 

Normal”

  1. Every child should be born to adults who have the capacity to nurture, support and consciously parent that child from birth until adulthood and all the stages in between.
  2. All parents need support, understanding and education so their skills and knowledge about parenting and child development grows. This allows them to have a positive, fulfilling parenting experience and their child can reach its maximum potential, healthily and happily.
  3. Parenting is possibly the greatest leadership challenge an adult faces; so appropriate skills, tools, manuals and road maps are essential to smooth out that testing journey.
  4. Whilst every child is unique, there are common characteristics and developmental stages which are useful for parents to understand.
  5. Children have a right to be raised in a positive environment which allows them, throughout their childhood, to thrive on every level and mature into secure, confident, happy adults.

“Traumatised”

  1. Sadly, for a variety of reasons, a few adults do not have this capacity and when evidenced, the child should be removed promptly and appropriately
  2. Because children need stability and consistency such children should be placed with Permanent Parents (foster or adoptive) without delay.
  3. Children removed from their birth families, by the courts, will have experienced neglect/maltreatment/trauma and need therapeutic re-parenting to undo the damage and fill in the gaps.
  4. Permanent Parents need a deep understanding of child development, the legacy of childhood neglect and maltreatment plus tools and appropriate parenting skills to heal trauma
  5. Permanent Parents (foster, adoptive, special guardians, etc) will require continuous support, education, training, learning etc from placement until early adulthood and sometimes beyond.
Disturbed water in swimming pool with tiles on surface
Lone flower in pool of still water

“Prevention”

  1. Some women have a succession of birth children removed by the State and subsequently adopted or fostered. Many of these women are in very difficult circumstances with minimal support, often with chaotic lifestyles which frequently include drugs and/or alcohol.
  2. Many of these women had traumatic childhoods themselves and lack the skills or understanding to care for themselves. A child adds to their difficulties.
  3. Women whose children were removed and either adopted or fostered should be robustly supported and helped to get their lives on track. They are grieving and their unresolved pain should be acknowledged.
  4. There are a number of successful initiatives, throughout the UK and beyond, which offer such women support, education, counselling, skills training and job opportunities enabling them to turn their lives around, with the proviso they do not get pregnant and take (reversible) contraception.
  5. Such interventions are cost effective (emotionally and financially) and should be made available more widely.

Trauma Triggered

Behaviour training

Trauma Triggered Behaviour Online Training

About Trauma Triggered Behaviour Training

A holistic methodology for understanding and parenting adopted and fostered children.

new learning + adaptive behaviour = understanding + satisfaction

If you are frustrated or bewildered by your child’s behaviour; these resources will help you by providing new tools and ways of thinking.

This is what I wished I’d had 25 years ago before my (adopted) children arrived from the Care System

Are you struggling to understand an adopted or foster child’s actions?

Do you feel stressed, isolated and a rubbish parent who has lost control?

Do you despair when well meaning people say “all children do that”?

Do you fear for their (and your) future?

Have you tried other parenting courses? Stickers? Negotiation? Threats? Bribes? All to no avail?

Are you a professional working with families whose parent hurt and/or maltreated children?

The Challenge

The problem is that adopted and foster children have a traumatic start to life which affects their ability to bond and trust. They take a double hit. Firstly their developmental needs were not met and secondly they repeatedly had overwhelming and distressing experiences which lodged in their psyche.

They need therapeutic reparenting to undo the damage and fill in the gaps. This presents a unique leadership and parenting challenge for you, especially if no one around you understands.

The Solution

The Trauma Triggered Behaviour Online Course offers you hope. Grounded in reality, based on sound research, proven behavioural science and leadership skills: this course offers understanding, a robust framework and fresh techniques to manage kids and yourself.  Created and delivered by Helen Oakwater, an experienced adopter, coach and author who for decades lived with children who hurt. The live workshop has received high praise throughout the UK, Australia and New Zealand from parents and professionals.

The Benefits of Trauma Triggered Behaviour Online Course

Get a clear picture of how childhood maltreatment and neglect impacts brain functioning and is outside our conscious control. This knowledge makes sense of apparently “nonsensical” behaviour.

Tools for transformation.

Several new, simple step-by-step strategies to control your own reactions and calmly manage children’s highly challenging, emotionally charged behaviour.

Empower you and the child to understand how their traumatic past links to their present behaviour and influences their future life.

A fresh perspective on contact and social media intrusions.

A graphic model of child development and the impact of gaps.

Watching the videos many times embeds the learning

This is not a one size fits all approach. It’s a coherent framework for thinking ensuring you design a unique route map for your family, based on robust principles.

Sample the Introductory Video

Taster of online course. 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.

 

Bubble Wrapped Children

Written by Helen Oakwater

Facebook threat to adopted children” was the front headline in The Times,  five days after Bubble Wrapped Children was published in January 2012 and featured significantly in the article written by social affairs correspondent, Rosie Bennett. The story was picked up by other media outlets in the UK and Australia. Helen was interviewed by the national TV and radio including BBC, ITV, Sky, newspapers and Australian ABC News.

Numerous reasons cause adopted teens to reconnect with their birth family via Facebook, creating new challenges for adoption today and tomorrow.

Written in an accessible conversational style incorporating theory, anecdotes, diagrams, models, neuroscience and case studies, Helen maps out the connection between trauma, child development, empathy, grief, contact, trust, truth-telling and parenting styles.

NEW BOOK – WANT TO ADOPT

Available to buy from Thursday 14th March

We are delighted to announce that … (Fanfare) …“Want to Adopt: how to prepare yourself to parent a child from the care system” is available to purchase now!!

Why buy Want to Adopt?

  • You will save lots of money
  • If sales are high on launch day, Amazon notices (maybe Jeff Bezos watches in person) and then promotes the book to people it thinks will be interested (yeah ok,  its all about the algorithms)
  • This benefits the entire community through increased knowledge
  • …. and yes of course its useful for me ….. its my reward for months ( actually years) of research, lonely writing, countless mind maps, rewrites, editing, tedious redrawing of cartoons and diagrams and buckets of self doubt. Is my baby ugly? (I’m told it’s not).

Who is it for?

  • existing adopters, foster carers and SGO’s
  • prospective adopters, foster carers and SGO’s
  • social workers
  • decision makers including local and national politicians
  • family and friends of the above.
  • yes it sounds like ‘everyone’ … and I reckon ‘everyone’ would benefit from reading it.

Why read it?

  • You will learn new models, skills and ways of thinking.
  • It has a coaching/mentoring feel, tools for self-exploration and fresh ways of thinking.
  • It sits alongside Bubble Wrapped Children. There is no duplication of material.
  • There is an entire chapter on self-regulation and applying the polyvagal theory to living with traumatised children. It’s pioneering stuff.
  • It’s what I wished I’d known before and during my 25 years of adoptive parenting

If you are feeling jaded, this book will help you reconnect to your original motivation and give you some new skills and a few laughs.

Get ‘WANT TO ADOPT’ by clicking the buttons below.

Don’t Miss Out !!

Adoption is a life-changing and transformational decision. The problem is, where do you start? How do you prepare yourself for this epic journey? What can you do, to become the best possible parent?

In this practical guide, adoptive parent Helen Oakwater helps you to understand the ins and outs of adoption. Using Helen’s insights and tips, you will become better at understanding what makes you tick, and learn how to become calmer, kinder to yourself, and identify what helps or hinders. Only when you have learned how to look after yourself, can you nurture a hurt child.

Want To Adopt? takes an in-depth look at parenting a child from the care system and explores:

-The types of children awaiting a new home.
-What to expect (or not) from an adopted or foster child.
-Why all children are different.
-How to understand your child’s wants and needs.
-How to increase empathy and understanding.
-How to make a robust decision you will not regret.

“This beautifully written informative book is packed with Helen’s in-depth knowledge, training and personal experiences; an excellent and honest guide for any parents in waiting.” 

Daniela Shanly, adoptive parent. Founder Beech Lodge School

Get in touch with fab parents today

Let us help you on your parenting journey!

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