6 ways to support foster and adoptive families in your church or community  · Foster Care and Adoption · Buckner International

Unfortunately, there are thousands of children every year waiting to be placed in a safe and loving foster home. Finding a caring agency to look after your child and fostering or adopting families can take time but it is important that each individual’s needs are met in order to give them the best chance of early life.

Adoption and fostering support is often referred to as counselling, or therapy which is approved by the adoption support fund. Support is offered to families which have gone through high levels of conflict or trauma. Support for families going through rehoming is provided by highly trained psychologists, such as those at Meadows Psychology Service, which will assess the situation and apply some of the following approaches:

  • Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy
  • Theraplay
  • PACE approaches
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Therapeutic Life Story Work

Why is fostering and adoption support important?

The fostering and adoption process is successful for most children but sometimes there can be difficulties. Children can start to question their identity and think ‘Who am I?’ or ‘Why was i given up?’. When a child feels like this in the early stages of development, it could lead to mental health issues in the future. Another question the child may start asking is ‘Where are my birth parents’. Of course, in some instances, the adoptive parents may be able to answer these questions if they have been informed/given permission, but it can be difficult to know. That is why it is important for children and adoptive parents to receive support during the process so that the child knows that it is not their fault and that they should not be consumed by negative thoughts.

Support is often necessary during the adoption process due to children being put into the care system after traumatic home life. Children and young people who enter the care system have often been involved in family breakdowns, maltreatment, domestic violence or witnessed the impacts of mental illness. Fostering and adoption provide the opportunity for these children to have new healthy family relationships with caregivers and a chance for a trauma-free upbringing. Understanding the impact of early trauma and disrupted attachments is important for supporting each child’s capacity to recover from this.

Wherever possible, adoption psychologists will work with other supportive care professionals who are involved with the family of origin. Sessions often focus on the difficulties which caused the child to be rehomed, this can help solve the miscommunications which may be causing distress. This can also improve the chances of the birth parents and children having healthy relationships in the future with appropriate limits and help the child to communicate in more ordinary ways and build trust.

To summarise

The support given to those in care situations can ensure that children have stability in family relationships. This is fundamental to ensuring positive outcomes for both the adoptive family and the child’s future relationships and life. Children need continuity during the developmental stage of their life so that they can form supportive emotional attachments with their carers and make use of the opportunities they are given.

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