Tommy's story

Thanks to Adoption UK’s support this year, adoptive parents Lydia and John feel confident and equipped to help their son, Tommy, begin to enjoy Christmas and are ready to celebrate together.

Like many adopted children who have experienced the trauma of abuse and neglect, Tommy viewed the world, and everyone in it, as dangerous and unsafe.

His emotions would often overwhelm him and social situations would make him anxious. He was frightened and violence was his default coping strategy. Even a suggestion of tidying his room could trigger a violent response of kicking, hitting and biting. He once even threatened his adoptive mum, Lydia, with a knife.

Lydia and her husband John were struggling to cope with Tommy’s behaviour. Not only did they need to keep themselves and Tommy safe, they wanted to help heal the hurt for their desperately-loved son and rebuild their family’s life.

They decided that instead of keeping the violence a secret and feeling ashamed, they would seek support and so attended Adoption UK’s ‘Non Violent Resistance’ conference last year, which provided Lydia and John with practical strategies for managing Tommy’s aggression, meeting his needs and re-building their relationship.

And their lives have improved remarkably since the conference. Lydia said: “Aggressive incidents are now rare in our family. When we think about our son’s future now, it is with hope. We are so grateful for the role Adoption UK has played in helping us get here.”

Although Child-on-Parent Violence (CPV) is under reported and under researched, the shared experiences of a growing number of Adoption UK members helped Adoption UK secure a government grant in 2015 to develop and pilot the innovative Child-on-Parent Violence project which has already transformed the lives of around 100 families and will soon be rolled out across the UK to help even more families in crisis.

Return to the Adoptive Families at Christmas main page