The story of an adopted child’s placement in care, told by an adoptive parent who is also an Adoption UK trustee, has been widely discussed in the broadcast and social media in recent days. Since its publication, AUK has been contacted by many adopters, adopted people and adoption professionals, all of whom recognise the heartbreak this experience has meant for the whole family. While many people are thankful that the consequences of a lack of adoption support are being exposed, many also have deep misgivings about it being discussed in public, and specifically the way it has been discussed.

We take these concerns extremely seriously. Every instance of a child leaving the adoptive home prematurely is a tragedy for everyone concerned. At the heart of every one of these families is a child whose needs have not been met. That almost always means that the adoptive parent has not received the specialist and ongoing support they need in order to help the child grow up with the consequences of their early childhood trauma. No child, or parent, is ever to blame for being unable to overcome the devastating legacy of child neglect and trauma without help.

Due to the pressure on the trustee and her family following the media coverage, she has decided to step down from the Board of Adoption UK. We would like to thank her very much for her 8 years of service to Adoption UK. We continue to offer our support to the whole family.

The adopted child, and those who love and support them, sit at the heart of our mission. It is central to our founding belief and sits at the very core of everything that we do as a charity, as parents and as adoptees. If that wasn’t clear in the way we supported this family’s story, we sincerely apologise.

The concern surrounding the discussion of this story centres around the need to protect the child’s wellbeing. These are valid concerns. In sharing this story, first published in The Press & Journal, Adoption UK appeared to weight the adopter’s perspective over the child’s, and for that we are sorry. We have rightly been criticised for this.

We acknowledge the power imbalance that exists in adoption. The response to this story has strengthened our commitment to making adopted people more central to our work.

Adopted children being placed in care is one of the hardest subjects to discuss. In shining a spotlight on her family’s story, the adopter aimed to focus attention on the need to ensure adopted children are properly supported so that families do not reach crisis point. This is a message Adoption UK stands firmly behind.

We can’t control the way the media portray this story, but we are responsible for the way we discuss adoption issues, and we do not take this lightly. We are committed to learning from this experience and the views expressed on all sides.