In our experience many of our adoptive families stay in touch with the agency and avail themselves of the adoption support services at different stages in their family life. This ranges from advice and guidance to more intensive adoption support. We strongly encourage our families to seek support as needed and to maintain links with the agency and other adoptive families.
All of our team are trained in using Theraplay© informed practice, which plays a significant part in supporting new parents therapeutically build and nurture a positive, secure and loving bond with their child/ren, and help the child to heal from the poor early life experiences/trauma they have experienced in their young lives.
We were the first agency to partner with the Theraplay Institute© and to host Theraplay training for professionals. We are very proud of the strong established relationship we have with the Institute over the past years.
Theraplay is a child and family play therapy that focuses on building and enhancing attachment, promoting confidence and self-esteem, and trust in others. It is based on the natural patterns of playful healthy interaction between parent and child. It is personal, physical and fun. Theraplay is based on four essential qualities found in parent-child relationships, Structure, Nurture, Engagement and Challenge. Sessions create an active, emotional connection between parent and child, resulting in a changed view of the self as worthy and loveable, and of relationships as positive and rewarding (from the Theraplay Manual).
Feedback from the parents who have used this approach (with the guidance and support of their social worker) has been extremely positive and rewarding in terms of the desired close relationship being strengthened, as well as filling in the gaps of the child’s early unmet needs.
Families sometimes require additional adoption support and guidance at different points in the life of their child. This need often arises at points of transition, such as the move from nursery to school or from primary to secondary school, significant changes in the family circumstances or a house move.
Adopted children can display a range of challenging behaviours, such as functioning at a much younger emotional age and stage to their chronological years, behaviours stemming from heightened anxiety and attachment difficulties, related to their early life experiences. We aim to provide our families with further advice on such behaviour, so they can manage and better understand their child. We also do direct work with children and families using the Theraplay© dimensions and DDP (Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy) principles.
Sometimes these behaviours create challenges at school and we are available to provide support to the family and school in these situations. This can help to facilitate a better working relationship between home and school. We attend school meetings as required, and offer the delivery of SafeBase for Schools, which is complementary to the SafeBase Parenting Programme.
In addition to the direct work that we undertake we are also able to signpost families to other relevant services, such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and other therapies.
In some circumstances we advocate for families who need Disability Living Allowance, or adoption allowances applied retrospectively, depending on the presenting/evolving needs of the child.
This is an area of work we are often involved in and needs to be revisited at different times during the adopted child’s life as they grow in their understanding of their adoption and identity. This consists of either direct work with the child or young person on their life story, or supporting parents to do this work with their child themselves (usually when the child is much younger – social work support is often sought when the child is approximately 9 +years and the family finds it harder to explain some of the complexities to them).
In doing this work we use the models developed by Joy Rees and Richard Rose.
Help with managing contact can include facilitating letterbox contact with the birth family. It may also include facilitating direct face-to-face contact with birth family members, such as birth parents, grandparents and siblings. Where direct contact is taking place this would involve counselling with all parties to ensure this is safe and appropriate for all concerned, especially the adoptee.
We offer counselling to all people affected by adoption through St Andrew’s Children’s Society.
For the adoptee this includes preparing a profile of his/her early life and background to their adoption. We also offer a search and intermediary service for those wishing to trace birth relatives separated by adoption.
As an agency we are committed to providing relevant training on a wide range of topics. This may vary according to the needs expressed by our families.
Topics have included:
We ensure that our families are invited to training provided by St Andrew’s Children’s Society, as well as keeping families informed of other relevant training opportunities provided by other organisations.
We are continuing to develop and adapt the groups we offer in response to the needs expressed by our families.
Here is an example of some of the groups we have run over the years at St Andrew’s Children’s Society:
As of last year, we began to provide a Parent Pamper morning for our parents. This was very well received – many of the parents found the opportunity to have a half hour of head massage/reflexology/hand massage a chance to have their batteries renewed and more centred in being able to parent their child.
We welcome suggestions from our adopters and foster carers as to what training opportunities and types of groups they feel would best benefit them and their children.
Maureen and her husband Jim adopted 5 children through St Andrew’s Children’s Society. Find out what adopting meant to them.
This is an experiential programme. Prior to attending, families take part in a filmed family session based on the four dimensions of Theraplay©. A further session is arranged to provide the parents with feedback recognising the positive interactions observed, as well as identifying some areas that may need strengthened. The aims of the course include:
This programme evolved from the SafeBase Parenting Programme. It is a one day training programme delivered to teachers, learning assistants, nursery staff and any other adult involved in the life of children at school. Its aims are to:
One of our social workers will then contact you.
Alternatively, please call us on 0131 454 3370 (if you live within 60 miles of Edinburgh) or 01224 878 158 (if you live within 60 miles of Aberdeen or Elgin) or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you an enquiry form to complete and return.
If you have any questions or are unsure if you can adopt or foster through us, please contact us anyway using the details above to speak with one of our social workers.
My dream came true and there was lots of hard work from myself, but I could not have done it without the hard work, determination and faith from St Andrew’s Children’s Society.