I’m an adoptive parent to two boys, aged nine and six, who have both had a difficult start in life.
We’re managing with the day-to-day struggles that our children experience but I’m deeply concerned about the current lack of provision of post adoption support in Scotland and how this will impact upon our family into the future.
Incredibly, if we lived just a couple of miles south, the other side of the Anglo-Scottish border, we’d be eligible for the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) - a huge pot of money (£21 million this year) set aside to support adoptive families in England. In addition, all adopted children in England receive pupil premium plus (£1,900 per child, per year) which their school can use to help them.
But because we’re in Scotland there’s no big pot of money and post adoption support is sporadic, at best.
We’re not at the edge of the cliff but we know plenty of adoptive families in Scotland who are. If there’s a crisis there must be somewhere for these families to go for help. That’s why I’m pleading with the Scottish Government not to make them victims of geography.
My eldest son experienced trauma with his birth parents while our younger son has foetal alcohol syndrome. When our children have meltdowns they revert back to three year-olds. These are prolonged tantrums which makes day-to-day life tough and tiring. This is why we need access to therapeutic services, support groups and help for our children at school.
Our children look ‘normal’ but they have a hidden disability. My youngest can be really over-stimulated in a shopping environment. It’s difficult for him to process all of the noises. I constantly have to tell him to put things down as he struggles to control his impulses. He also has real issues with stranger-danger. There was an incident in a restaurant where we had to apologise to a waitress who he was over-familiar with...
Both of our sons really struggle with transition – getting them downstairs and dressed is a constant struggle. We’re regularly late as it’s just not worth the additional trauma – they’ll sometimes travel to school in their pyjamas.
Would life be easier if I lived the other side of the border? Yes, I expect so.
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