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Passionate Adopters Targeting Change with Hope (PATCH)

The creation of PATCH stemmed from personal frustrations experienced by Social Worker, Fiona Wells, overwhelmed by the difficulties adoptive families face. Fiona is both an adoptee and adopter herself.

Fiona and her colleagues have set up PATCH with the aims of:

  1. Giving a voice to adopters in crisis.
  2. Changing the treatment of adopters in crisis and treating trauma as an equal issue
  3. Recognising the importance of trauma for children who are adopted.
  4. Ensuring that a child’s traumatic experiences are considered in any professional support, to avoid misunderstandings.
  5. Providing support and intervention that meets the family’s needs and takes into account their traumatic experiences.
  6. Ensuring that professionals helping adopters in crisis are experts in trauma, not just trained in it.
  7. Considering all aspects of the child’s life and experiences.

Other adopters have teamed up with Fiona and PATCH to discuss their personal experiences and PATCH has some interesting stories. PATCH is a valuable resource for adopters generally and a hub and community for other adopters to share their experiences.

Below we have highlighted some key issues from PATCH and what the website and Fiona seek to achieve :

Families in Crisis: Many families reach a point of crisis, feeling traumatised, unsupported, and often receive inadequate and ill-informed support. Professionals sometimes blame parents, worsening the situation.

Trauma in Adopted Children: Adopted children often have traumatic backgrounds which affect their development in various ways. Healing requires more than just love and positive care; the adoption system needs to adapt to these challenges.

Need for Trauma-Informed Services: Services should be proactive, with practitioners experienced in trauma, to understand and support these children effectively. Compassion and empathy are crucial in handling secondary trauma experienced by families.

Misguided Expectations and Treatment: Adopted children, already having faced abuse and mistreatment, are expected to thrive in new families without adequate support. In crisis, families often face judgment and control instead of empathy and therapeutic intervention.

Complexities for Modern Adoptees: Modern adoptees face immense adversity, trauma, and loss, making navigation through life extremely challenging.

Multifaceted Nature of ‘Tricky’: The term ‘tricky’ encompasses cognitive, emotional, behavioural, neurological, and physical challenges faced by adoptees and their families.

Challenges for Adoptive Parents: Parents deal with rejection, attachment issues, and often care for children who struggle to feel worthy of love, alongside managing health and developmental issues.

Social Worker Perspective: Fiona, as a social worker, has strived to support families and ensure child safety, facing challenges in working with complex cases including substance abuse and mental health issues.

Networking and Community Building: Upon facing personal challenges and relationship issues, Fiona connected with other adoptive parents, sharing stories of similar struggles and frustrations with the system.

Learning and Personal Challenges: Despite educational struggles and personal trauma, Fiona emphasises the importance of continuous learning and insight.

Trauma’s Profound Impact on Children: Any trauma, especially in childhood, can have severe and long-lasting effects on a person’s emotional and cognitive functioning.

Attachment and Relationship Challenges: Trauma can hinder a child’s ability to form secure relationships, impacting their sense of safety and trust.

Crisis Escalation and Mismanagement: Misunderstandings and a lack of support lead to crises in adoptive families, often exacerbated by inadequate child protection interventions that fail to consider the child’s trauma history.

Fiona Wells and PATCH are presently campaigning for the government to provide funding for psychology experts in Children Services. They would help guide how to handle difficult behaviour in children, especially when it stems from past trauma which in turn would ensure that help is given properly, without placing blame or shame.

Laker Legal support Fiona`s great cause and we would encourage other adopters who are interested in this topic to visit PATCH and take a look at her Petition.

You can support the Government Petition here.

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