Andy and Michaela

Adoptive parents Andy and Michaela applied to the Adoption Support Fund for help with issues faced by their ten-year-old daughter Grace. 

Grace was removed from her birth family at the age of eight months as both her birth parents were drug users and Grace experienced neglect and domestic violence. Her experience was one of chaos and inconsistency. 

Grace had one foster placement but it was a busy household and she did not get the time or one-to-one attention that she ideally needed. 

Grace was placed with her parents at the age of 21 months and is now ten. She was very small for her age and her speech was delayed. Grace needs a lot of attention and can not cope with her mother's attention wandering from her for even a moment. She displays indiscriminate affection and needs to feel in control at all times. Grace finds it hard to regulate her emotions and has angry outbursts every day. 

A local authority assessment identified the need for 24 sessions of creative therapy to develop security and stability in the family and to encourage positive relationships/attachment. The creative therapy aims to increase Grace's positive sense of self and resilience. Grace's mother is present in the therapy sessions as the focus is to explore and share feelings through shared creative activities. Grace has previously received 24 sessions of creative therapy and a review has found that additional sessions are required to continue to address Grace's needs. 

As a result of the therapy she is better able to:

Accept and follow direct instruction

Take turns

Follow her parents' lead

Share affection with her mother

Articulate how she is feeling

Engage in family activity

Is developing a greater ability to regulate her feelings. 

Michaela said: "Grace is starting to try to confide in us and she is beginning to trust us, although this doesn't come naturally and we have to prompt her to ask for help. She is getting better at expressing herself and holds my hand on the way to school, which she never would have done in the past."

A local authority spokesman said: "Grace still struggles to trust adults to care for her and keep her safe but therapy is helping her to explore her feelings and start to trust and confide in her parents. Her parents are starting to feel more hopeful and positive about family life."


* All names have been changed to protect identities.