Guy and Carrie

Adoptive parents Guy and Carrie were struggling to deal with the uncontrollable anger of their son, Christian. The help they received thanks to the Adoption Support Fund has given them hope for their family's future.

Christian's birth parents were known to social services at the time of this birth. His birth mother was young and it was stated that she drank alcohol throughout her pregnancy and there was mention of taking drugs. She left Christian at the hospital after his birth, saying she could not look after him. He was placed with foster carers until his birth parents came forward, saying that they wanted to try again. Christian then lived with them for a short time in a supervised family and baby unit. During this time he was admitted to hospital with a rash. Medical professionals diagnosed him with impetigo, which they felt had transpired due to his high levels of stress. Christian was then returned to the foster placement where he remained until his adoption.

Since adopting Christian, Guy and Carrie have conceived two children and there are some issues around the dynamics between Christian and his siblings.

He exhibits uncontrollable anger, often aimed at his brother or mum. These outbursts cause concern, especially for the safety of the younger siblings.

Guy and Carrie's main concerns related to Christian's anger issues and the relationship between him and his brother - the oldest of the two birth children.

Parenting Christian had been extremely challenging for Guy and Carrie at the time of referral. Stress levels were high and impacting all members of the family. Guy and Carrie were understanding and supportive of Christian but had concerns for his safety and that of his siblings.

Carrie’s hope was that Christian would be able to talk through and express his feelings. She wanted him to be happier and not so angry about everything. She also hoped to see an improvement in his relationship with his brother. 

Christian's parents applied to the ASF with the support of Cambridgeshire local authority. As a result, Christian was able to receive 12 sessions of drama therapy to help him explore some of the issues he struggles with such as violent nightmares, negative sense of self, how he understands his own emotional response to situations, his relationship with his adoptive family and particularly how he relates to being adopted and his struggles in school. 

Following the therapy sessions, Christian's relationship with his brother has improved and he is more able to identify his feelings in certain situations. He still expresses anger but there seem to be fewer incidents. Physical aggression tends to take place when anxiety is high and Christian is faced with change.

Guy and Carrie feel more secure as a family and feel it is now less challenging parenting Christian. Stress levels within the family have improved.

Christian has extended his friendship group, gained in confidence at school and seems happier. He is able to recognise overwhelming feelings and the consequent behaviour and has started to learn to process these feelings. With further support it is hoped that Christian will develop coping mechanisms to avoid reaching a point where he feels overwhelmed, resulting in physical/aggressive behaviour.

Guy and Carrie said: “Christian has gained confidence and is more accepting of help from us. He also talks more about how he is feeling.

“We are getting regular feedback from the therapy which is very useful. We would like work to continue to help Christian cope better with change.”