I shared this image on the POTATO group – a group for adopters who struggle with parenting traumatised adopted teenagers. Many of us have had had terrible experiences with services and ended up in court where we are persecuted in adversarial court proceedings and blamed for our children’s difficulties. Parents said:
- If you cry you are being overly emotional – but if you don’t cry you are cold and unfeeling – basically any emotional response is wrong.
- If you break down a traumatised child or young person may start to feel unsafe. Our illness can often be a trigger for our children. Basically you cannot be a safe parent without the right support – and there is no respite unless you put your child back into care, which will destabilise them and further traumatise. So its a double edged sword.
- If you seek help you risk being blamed for causing the difficulties you seek help with. The child’s past, and the impact of this may even be ignored entirely.
- If you speak out you are ignored, belittled, disregarded – in worst case scenairios fact becomes fiction and vice versa – any complaints are ignored.
- If you try and take time for yourself – you are putting your needs before the children’s.
- If you struggle – the complexitities of attachment and early trauma behaviours are not taken into account.
We are expected to make a commitment to a child that is lifelong – and we urgently need more commitment from our government to support us – a system that works for us – not against. Please remember the £12 million additional funding for the Adoption Support Fund does not help adopted children and families who cannot live together because it is not safe and the children are hard to care for. In these families the adopters and special guardians are often victimised with blame and achieving the help their children need to recover from trauma becomes even harder.