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Catherine and Nick

Adoptive parents Catherine and Nick applied to the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) for support for their daughter Mary.

Mary has a history of emotional neglect and physical abuse. She was born eight weeks premature and experienced being abandoned in the hospital following her birth. She subsequently had multiple care givers and witnessed domestic violence. Her early environment was probably a very scary one for her with poor stimulation and with birth parents who 'couldn't cope'; often leaving Mary and her sister alone in the house.

Mary, now 13 years, still finds it difficult to trust, to sustain relationships and to manage change. Her adoptive parents, Catherine, and Nick, have provided a family environment that is consistent, predictable and their loving parenting style has allowed Mary to become appropriately dependent upon them. However, she still struggles to trust and so regularly questions Catherine and Nick’s authority and the decisions they make on her behalf.

Mary struggles to believe that she is loved or in any way loveable. Her self-esteem is very low, at times of high stress and anxiety she expresses feelings of wishing she was dead, she has also been showing early signs of self harm and in the past, has been violent towards other children.

She struggles to accept love and misinterprets setting boundaries as a lack of love. When feeling stressed or anxious, Mary’s default position can still be to try and take charge and be in control of the situation. This means it is very difficult for her to manage in school without her parents' regulating presence. This has led to her twice being excluded in her first year of high school. She has always struggled with impulse control and this has led to her threatening her mother with a knife and being removed from the family home by the police.

Thanks to the Adoption Support Fund (ASF), Mary and her parents are able to take part in weekly therapeutic sessions. A Trauma and Attachment Assessent Package was funded by the ASF to provide a more accurate understanding of the family's needs. Following this assessment, Dyadic Trauma and Attachment Therapy has been identified as an appropriate therapeutic intervention that may address Mary's difficulties and enable the family to stay together.

The therapeutic intervention shall run for a series of 12 weeks with weekly 2 hour sessions. Each session shall involve an initial hour of Therapeutic Re-Parenting work, when therapists work with Catherine and Nick alone. In the second hour of the session, the therapist will work with Mary, Catherine and Nick together using Theraplay, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR).

Due to a high risk of adoption breakdown without such therapeutic support, the family's local authority has agreed to match fund this application for therapeutic intervention.

Also, there is currently a high risk that Mary could be excluded from school, placing an unmanageable burden on her parents to supervise and support her. So alongside therapeutic treatments, training and guidance have been provided for Mary's school in order to meet her needs in an educational setting. The pupil premium is being utilised to provide specialist provisions for Mary. This additional support is essential to preventing an adoption breakdown.