This content is very useful for foster carers, adopters and professionals as the themes relate to parenting and living with children who experienced – maltreatment and/or neglect and/or frequent changes of carers. There are many metaphors, examples and diagrams which can be used to understand trauma and explain its impact
Most articles below appeared in Adoption Today, the bi-monthly magazine of Adoption UK, a charity which supports adopters before, during and after adoption
The articles are roughly grouped by content. Some have audios to download.
Social media (including Facebook) threat to adopted children
grows in the UK
Adoption and NLP expert Helen Oakwater’s new book, Bubble Wrapped Children, released this week, has generated a worldwide storm lifting the lid on a major crisis within adoption.
Reuters, The Times (in a front page article), The Sun, The Australian, The Daily Mail are among dozens of major media outlets that carried features on Thursday and Friday.
Below is an extract the article from Reuters.
“British youngsters adopted after abusive childhoods are at risk of fresh emotional turmoil as some birth parents turn to Facebook and other social networking sites to track them down, adoption agencies said on Thursday. The ease with which birth parents can use technology to get in touch with their children without warning and without following established safeguards has alarmed adoption agencies.
Families who have been contacted have described the experience as like being in a “slow-motion car crash” leaving them “battered and bruised.” Some families have been torn apart. “Social networking sites have blown things open — you can’t keep things secret,” said Julia Feast, a consultant at the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF), which campaigns for children in care.
Want to Adopt? Review of new book by Helen Oakwater.
In March 2012 I reviewed Helen’s first book: ‘Bubble Wrapped Children – how social networking is changing the face of 21st century adoption’ . I commented then that I thought it did the book a disservice by apparently focusing on only one element of what was making closed adoption a trickier concept as electronic communications networks grow at exponential rate. In 2012 I said this: – Sarah Phillimore
The Cost of Trauma
Early intervention is cost-effective and morally right. First published in April 2008, this article demonstrates the cost-benefit of early intervention. Although the actual costs have changed the principles are equally valid today. A decade later the child in this case study did not have a good outcome.
Trauma comes in different sizes and intensities. This article offers both a metaphor and
Child abuse victims need more than just our shock and horror.
Facebook: direct contact with no safeguards (Part 1)
First of two articles published in 2010 exploring the threat of Facebook, what’s happening plus the link to identity, teenage angst and loss of control when birth family enter adopters homes via the internet.
Facebook: The Shame and the Shadow (Part 2)
Adopted children need an enduring safe place to grow, create a solid sense of self and to melt the pervasive shame their early maltreatment created. The need for therapeutic reparenting and
Toxic PARENTING & tOXIC Shame
The impact of toxic parenting.
Based on Susan Foreward’s 6 categories of toxic parents (inadequate, controlling, alcoholic, physical, sexual & verbal abusers,) this article steps into the childs shoes and highlights the distortions it creates plus tools for healing.
Toxic Shame: how trauma contaminates the ‘wonderful’ inner child.
John Bradshaws model explains how the “wonder” child can be contaminated by trauma and toxic parenting. The different developmental stages of children (based on Erik Erikson’s model) is explained with impact of deficiencies.
Where Hindsight meets Forethought
Edinburgh Festival for a week?
Helen reflects on the different interactions between “normal” and “traumatised” children with their families at a festival. Trust, responsibility, therapeutic reparenting and prioritising the need
Nothing but the truth.
Neglect as a traumatic experience. Sensory triggers, metaphorical shrapnel, trauma triggered behaviour, bubble wrap and need for coherent narrative.
What do you and they really need for Christmas?
Christmas brings heightened expectations, so focus on
Jigsaw of truth: why, what and how?
Children need to know their history, it shapes how they see themselves, hence key to their identity. Life story ‘work’ must honour the child’s somatic (body) experiences and memory.
Fresh Perspectives, Tools, Flows, Values
Valuing our needs.
Our needs and values affect our motivation and behaviour. Children whose early developmental needs were not met have an emptiness inside. Often their ‘nonsensical’ behaviour is a window into their inner turmoil and deficits, if we can read the cues. Maslow and Barrets models illustrate the concepts.
Are you a boiled frog?
Maintaining one’s identity is vital to keep self-concept strong. Boredom stems from the repetition of events, even being stolen from. With sufficient skill; flow is possible. (Part 2 of flow articles).
Robust matching for permanence.
Criteria for matching a child to a new set of parents is often vague and subjective. We need robust measurement and techniques that will enable placements to last.
Why are these children any different?
Written primarily for teachers this article explains why and how children who have experienced maltreatment and neglect have a legacy of trauma which impacts their ongoing life
What the **** was that
ONE of the many challenges adopters face is not understanding the reason their child suddenly ‘goes off on one’, i.e. flips for no apparent reason.
AS adopters we hear enlightened therapists say “Their behaviour is not the problem – it’s the answer to the problem”.
Is this what I expected?
During the drafting of this
Expectation, reality and time travel…
When my children were placed in the early 1990s I had a view of how my life would be as a
mother. I anticipated some things; however
The legacy of childhood trauma is huge and complex. The more you understand, the more you can do in your field to either prevent or heal childhood trauma.These links and resources will aid your learning.
(Heads up, she does not mention being the parent of a traumatised child, but that hat fits).
Dr Vicky Kelly (This actually explores Developmental Trauma i.e. trauma in childhood)
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