Becoming a parent for the first time can be both exhilarating yet emotionally daunting. No one has all the answers and nothing can really truly prepare you for the journey that you are about to embark upon. You will seek and receive advice from all areas, friends, family, schools, GP’s and nowadays it seems Google has the answer to everything! Why is my child behaving like this? What have I done wrong? What can I do to help them? Adoptive parents may inevitably have more questions running through their minds and ultimately battling with the predominant question ‘is this nature or nurture?’
When it comes to children and growing up, it is impossible to have all the answers. All will face hurdles in growth and development at some point in their lives, however, for adopted children the issues they face will differ and will, at times, escalate and often require professional intervention.
A multitude of issues may arise when a child becomes aware that they have been adopted, children may feel grief or loss. They may also struggle with self-esteem and identity development issues which can be triggered at any time throughout their life. Adopted children have often experienced a great deal of change and transition in their lives. Some may have even experienced serious hardships such as abuse or neglect and a small percentage can go on to develop Attachment Disorders.
Some needs may not become apparent until later, perhaps during adolescence, so it’s important that you know firstly, there is support available, where to go should you need support at any time and what kind of adoption support services are available.
Adoptive families have a legal right, as and when they request it, to a Statutory Assessment of Support Needs from the local authority responsible for their post-adoption support. The assessment covers a range of needs, from mental health and the need for therapeutic services to additional support during a child’s education.
The Adoption Support Fund (ASF) has been set up by the Government due to many families needing some kind of therapeutic support following adoption. This includes services such as therapeutic parenting programmes, creative therapies, family support and Therapeutic Life story work.
To access the Fund, families will need to ask their local authority to do an assessment of adoption support needs. If the assessment shows that therapeutic services would be beneficial, the local authority can make an application to the Fund and then contact providers to delivery personalised therapeutic plans to meet the needs of every individual adopted child.
As a provider of Therapeutic Adoption Support, working alongside the Local Authority, Adopters for Adoption aim to provide a safe and quality service to adoptive families nationwide. Our in-house therapy service offers a wide range of specialist support programmes to help increase and develop attachments and to support families in meeting the therapeutic and development needs of children.
Adoption Support is a critical part of the adoption process, families shouldn’t feel alone and without support.