A blog by Joanne Alper, Editor of new book – Supporting Birth Parents Whose Children Have Been Adopted.
Sometimes when social problems are complex there can be a tendency to develop a silo approach. However people’s lives don’t fit into silos, as there are many interconnected and interrelated factors that create difficulties and these same factors also offer the solutions. It takes more thinking, more understanding and more time initially, but a longer term systemic approach to some of our current social issues is essential if we wish to make effective and lasting improvements to people’s lives.
Adoption is one of these areas that can absolutely benefit from this more long term, whole systems approach. Adoption today is about parenting children who have experienced abuse and trauma. There is much focus on the children and the adoptive parents, and rightly so. However there is one significant group missing from this picture and that is the birth parents of those same children. For decades the needs of this much neglected group have been ignored for a variety of reasons. However by doing so, we create more problems and cause more harm.
With the publication of this book we are seeking to start a national debate about the needs of birth parents, and the best and most effective ways to offer support. We want to highlight that by better supporting birth parents, we can not only help their adopted children, but can also benefit potential future children they may have.
Ultimately as a society surely we want to ensure that we minimise the number of children who suffer abuse and harm, and for those who have, would want to promote the development of their emotional health. Supporting birth parents can help contribute to this.
This book is a collection of chapters that shares information about research, birth parent services and therapeutic approaches that can be helpful. The messages from the book suggest that emphasis should be on the provision of relationship based, flexible, non-shaming, proactive, longer term therapeutic services.
John Simmonds OBE, Director of Policy, Research and Development CoramBAAF, describes the book as “sensitive, empathetic, realistic, hopeful and robust”.
We really want this book to be the start of conversations and debate about the development of improved and connected therapeutic support services for birth parents. When we understand their needs and how they interlink, we will be better placed to identify effective solutions. Additionally, if birth parents are willing to accept support and want to change how they feel and the direction their life is taking, we would argue that we have responsibility to do what we can to assist them. Benefiting them, their children and ultimately, their children’s children.
If you would like to read more articles like this and get the latest news and offers on our social care books, why not join our mailing list? We can send information by email or post as you prefer. You may also be interested in liking our Adoption, Fostering and Parenting Facebook page.