Adoption UK - 50th Anniversary

Adoption UK 50 Years logoAdoption UK is 50! 

50 is a big milestone, and an opportunity to pause, reflect and plan for the futureFor 50 years we have supported, advocated, championed and been there for adoptive families around the UK.

Today our cause is as clear and compelling as ever; to secure the right support at the right time for the children at the heart of every adoptive and kinship care family.  

For Adoption UK, this all began in 1971, when Elvis Presley and The Jackson 5 were in the charts, a gallon of petrol was 33p and two adopters starting running a voluntary organisation from their homes, for adopted children with special needsAdoption has changed a lot since then, and so have we. 

Contact us at [email protected]

Caroline Archer picOur adoptive family journey began in 1975, and I became a PPIAS (forerunner of Adoption UK) co-ordinator in 1979.

By 1984 we had four adopted children with a bundle of sensori-motor, emotional, social, developmental and learning challenges, at a time when these issues were largely unacknowledged. One paediatrician told me ‘ADHD is a problem of parenting’; when challenged, his response was: ‘you’ve proved my point. You’re exactly the sort of parent I mean’.

Together with our children we struggled with the results of undisclosed foetal alcohol exposure and birth trauma, rejection, neglect, multiple moves, chronic medical issues and social struggles. We grappled with dyspraxia, dyslexia and dyscalculia, self-harm, aggression, destructive contact with birth family, teenage pregnancy and long prison sentences (I wrote every day). Through all of this we faced repeated criticism of our parenting, lack of information and self-doubt.

By the early 1980s it was becoming clearer within the PPIAS community that adoptive families needed more information and support, particularly around attachment. In 1993, re-mortgaging the house, I visited America seeking attachment therapy for our teenage son. This soon led to PPIAS inviting therapists like Greg Keck and Dan Hughes to the UK, to educate parents and adoption practitioners on attachment and developmental trauma.

PPIAS began to produce its own literature, including my two books on ‘parenting the child who hurts’. and collaborating with Family Futures in their attachment programme. Later, I established a therapeutic parent mentoring service in Wales and over the following 15 years continued to explore and write on the psycho-neurobiology of developmental trauma and therapeutic re-parenting, whilst continuing to ‘hang in there’ for our adult children.

My journey with Adoption UK has come full circle; I am now part of a Welsh Grandparents Group, sharing coffee, mutual support and vital information on the multi-generational consequences of attachment trauma.

Through almost 50 years of adoptive parenting, stubbornness, a desperate search for understanding and determination to hang onto our children, despite their best efforts, have been our secret weapons. Our personal family search for ways forward continues. I am intensely proud of my children for all they have gone through and for all I believe they will continue to achieve, against the odds.

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