The POTATO group

Welcome all Parents of Teens, Adopted in the UK

We are a UK based group of parents who have adopted our children from the looked after system in the past 20+ years. All of our teenagers are incredible survivors who need specialist parenting which can be very hard going. Despite dealing with some heavy subjects, we like to meet socially and have a bit of relaxation with other parents who understand what we are facing. These pages are by way of an introduction to our group, our aims and an overview of what we do. We accept families with adopted children, teens and young people but our focus is supporting parents through the teenage years.  Our group is a not for profit organisation committed to this community. We promote (and try) to follow therapeutic principles (in depth document HERE.)

Here is a brief (not exclusive) list of things POTATO group do.

  1. Demonstrate kindness to fellow adoptive parents of adopted young people in the UK by face to face, email and the private facebook facilities.
  2. Share our considerable expertise in areas such as housing, specialist schools/ colleges, mental health problems, therapy, addictions and other difficulties traumatised young people often bring into our lives.
  3. Several members are active in promoting good practice ideas and presenting to local and national authorities.
  4. Actively encourage “self care” within the membership, encouraging good physical and mental wellbeing in parents.
  5. Train & support volunteers and develop financially so we can cover volunteer expenses.
  6. Offer training to social care, education, social and health groups in life lived with adopted teens with practical strategies.
  7. Provide national events of interest for Parents of traumatised young people.

The Wright Stuff… Janie

On Monday morning The Wright Stuff on Channel 5 ran a phone in about the contraversial topic of whether a 2 year old should be told that her father killed her mother and then took his own life in prison.

Here is the news link.

Here at the POTATO group we understand that many of our members had their children due to reasons of extreme violence, and it is important to give their children a narrative.

This is based on the work in Greg Keck’s 2002 book “Parenting the hurt child” and sits alongside the respected work by Bessell Van De Kolk “The body keeps the score“. The approaches to life story work such as Rose and Philpot “The Childs Own Story” and “Story Re-Visions” by Parry & Doan are related to this therapeutic understanding. Other experts such as Dr Bruce Perry and the respected Dan Hughes and Family Futures  with a multitude of current trauma specialists follow the “full disclosure” school of thought.

“Janie” is one of our founder members and continues to contribute on the committee and our private facebook group. Janie says re disclosure of life story to adoptees: “After all if we cannot give our children the truth, what can we give them?”

We would like local and national government to give full disclosure about their childrens past when they are adopted. This rarely happens and a censored version of events is given to families so they are in effect, parenting blind. We think this needs to change. Here are some quotes from Greg Keck explaining why.

“In therapy, Rita [approx. age 7] was capable of expressing what she thought she might have felt when she was two years old”. — Parenting the Hurt Child (2002), p. 82

“We need to validate their truth, document their truth, and where possible show them the truth. Sometimes in therapy we have used police or hospital photos to show the child exactly what “bad touch” means. These photos do more to affirm the child’s reality than the nice smiling photos taken at a supervised visit.” — Parenting the Hurt Child (2002), p. 249

“I don’t think we should keep any information about a child from that child. And I don’t think we have to wait until he is old enough to understand what happened to him. After all, most atrocities committed by parents are done before their children can truly understand them. We talk to babies”. — Parenting the Hurt Child (2002), p. 250

Greg Keck passed away in 2015 and is missed by the adoption community worldwide. You can access his powerpoint explaining his approach in detail here.


Good Afternoon everyone. Yes its Tuesday, blogday.

This week we bring you the last bit of the adventure and trip home which is not without some eyewatering bits!

Over the next few weeks we will be bringing pieces on when your adopted young person is trying to get a mental health bed, moving out well along with several other pieces written by our members.

Enjoy the final part of BAMBOO….


Whababaluba baba BAMBOO

Are they heading for a Thai jail?

Find out how they get on in BAMBOO part 3.

Would you believe all this stuff was possible with a traumatised young person? Here at POTATO we are amazed at the tenacity, intelligence and ‘sheer bloody minded hanging on in there’ ism in our adoptive parents.

Sometimes just about hanging on with your eyes shut praying, hoping and getting through by the skin of your teeth might be more like the day to day.

Bamboo adventures maybe for another day but sometimes achievement looks like being able to drink a hot cuppa and not be sworn at, or have an hour when you realise you haven’t worried about your adopted teen is really nailing it.

Bamboo 2

Just got in from taking one of our much loved POTATO dogs for a walk in the sunshine. It’s icy and bitterly cold.

But thankfully bright and I feel so much happier and exercised afterwards. You end up day dreaming wondering about summer, the warm sun without icy wind. Holidays sound a good plan… France? Devon? Turkey? Dubai or perhaps… Phuket?

For those who don’t know, holidays for traumatised young people can be really tough. For many it’s the first time they really notice how different kids with ‘normal range’ starts are to traumatised ones. They struggle enormously with change. All their controlling, stress driven behaviours reappear and there’s very little relaxing on the side of parent or child.

Doing a big thing like Thailand is such a huge leap for any family, let alone one with a traumatised young person.

This weeks blog is following our friends are off on their Thailand Adventures and here is part two.

Bloggy McBlogface

Ahoy there! Its TUESDAY and every week we are going to publish a blog piece on our website. So all aboard the Bloggy McBlogface.

Frankly I can’t wait to hear from our members how they have been getting on with their TATs (traumatised adopted teens) and celebrating their steps forward, and commiserating them when things have gone belly up.

This week we are sharing the epic of traveling overseas with a TAT. Part One is here. Our writer has called it “Bamboo Scaffolding“.


Reflecting on Christmas

Its a chilly grey afternoon in early January and we have finished off the Quality Street and the last piece of shortbread. The relatives have gone home, you are back at work, kids back at school and college and everyones on a healthy living kick! But before we move on from the festive memories of 2017 completely, here are some reflections of POTATO in the last few weeks.

Many families are missing having their adoptee at home, and over Christmas the sense that we have to be together and having a great idealic family time is all around you. Tough for many. Those with their adoptees at home it is a time of managing expectations around presents, relatives and appropriate thank yous.

Several adoptive parents who have their adoptee in prison, in “supported living” (which often leaves a frightening chasm of need that we try to fill from a distance), section 20 voluntary care provision and families that simply cannot manage to be together as the pressure of Christmas is too much.

Hm. Well its not all miserable!

One great big lovely cyber hug doesnt always deliver the support required and so a few years ago we began a SECRET SANTA. This year, we have enjoyed the most successful time with over 60 members taking part from all over the UK. The committee and members are hugely grateful for the hard work of our Kindness Gifts organiser and to all who joined in.

“I was overwhelmed to receive my secret santa present, it is the only gift I get for me each year. Thank you for organising it.”

“It was happiness in a box and I grinned from ear to ear thinking of the soak I would enjoy with smellies just for me.”

“An amazing set of little things for me to enjoy, thank you secret santa.”

In addition to sending gifts to eachother, several members sent cards, letters, magazines and small gifts to TATs (traumatised adopted teens) in prison over Christmas. POTATO really does have some exceptionally kind and practically caring members.

Are you a parent to a traumatised adopted young person and want to join in with POTATO group? We have a secret Facebook group where the majority of our support happens and we do have various meet ups through the UK at different times. It will cost you £10 a year and a simple registration form plus a check that you are known to a member or can be checked out as we only allow genuine adoptive parents. Just email and our administration team will help you through.



AGM and Conference 2017

Oh yes our dear friends, it is nearly time for our annual weekend of socialising, fun, meeting and learning. This year we are heading to Birmingham on the weekend beginning Friday 10th November 2017 until Sunday 12th November 2017.

There are plans in place for meeting up socially, an AGM and conference with space for you to attend the AdoptionUK conference if you wish, or going shopping, having some R&R in between.

Our AGM and conference is from 10am-1pm on Sunday the 12th.

We have nominations for the committee (including new roles) forms to complete by noon on Saturday 11th November, together with details of roles and responsibilities and the current holders of these positions within the committee.

If you would like to come to any of our social events and/or AGM & conference and you are a Member of our group you would be most welcome.

Please email: to request further details or clarification.

Cancelled LAC review.

Ever wondered how it feels to be on the receiving end of Social Care’s cancellations?

Our group is made up of functional families to traumatised and therefore dysfunctional young people. Several of these young people can’t manage family life so go into the LAC system often under section 20 where the parents hold full parental rights. Sadly, many social workers forget this part and don’t ask parental consent or share information adequately let alone having a genuine planning discussion with families. This drives a further wedge between parents and young person and harms all parties.

One member of POTATO group explains how tough it is, how unfair and what damage it causes to have a tick box approach.

Dear Children’s Services,
When you cancel a LAC review, to you it is just a cancelled meeting.
To us it is watching our hope of resolving current issues for our family disappear out of the door, again.
To you it is an unexpected bonus of a free diary slot.
For us it means a day’s pay lost for no good reason.
For you it might mean more time to gather papers and read reports.
For us it means longer to worry about and live with situations without resolutions or plans and a longer period of sleepless nights.
When our IRO (independent reviewing officer) changes, again, to you it is a tick in a box that we have an IRO.
For us it means going back to the beginning of our story, again.
We know that you have your challenges too but please take time to think about our side of the story, after all it is supposed to be a family centred service, with families at its centre.

LBC Interview, POTATO members

We have had a very busy week here in POTATO land, with interviews, pieces on TV, radio  and social media.

This interview was with two members of our group (using alias to protect their family identities.) Generally talking about some of the challenges many adoptive families face and the desperate need for relevant, robust support.

The lack of full disclosure from the local authority also features as does the love, warmth and sheer bloody minded fight to get what our traumatised adoptees need.

Please take the 25 minutes or so and listen.



Today is TV & Media day!

Founder member and chair of POTATO is to appear on the Victoria Derbyshire BBC2 programme.

Together with fellow experienced adoptive parents we explain that;

  1. We love our traumatised adoptees but sometimes it is too hard for them to manage in a family. Love isn’t enough on it’s own.
  2. Our families and adopted young people need specialist ongoing support.
  3. Adoptive parents need to be treated kindly by the services. In POTATO group we are kind.

Also, radio 5 are revisiting their file on 4 survey with one of our members speaking as a guest.

If you are an adoptive parents and would like to join our group:

  1. email our friendly administration support team
  2. please complete the membership form
  3. do pay the annual donation (currently £10) via paypal or BACS. Or £1 a month. Or donate a supplementary amount to support the work of POTATO group.
  4. Ask for a visit if you are unknown to group members.
  5. Enjoy a friendly visit and if desired join our hidden Facebook support group.
  6. further visits and socials, AGM and annual conference.

You can donate using PayPal

(We comply fully with Data Protection and any information will remain confidential unless there is a serious risk of harm)

Or it is easier and cheaper to donate directly to the POTATO account.

Here’s a message from our treasurer;

I would like to take the opportunity to remind there is an annual membership donation of £10 which could now be sorted by standing order or if you wish to be generous by a £1 a month direct debit.

The account details are :-


Sort code 09-01-28

Account number 90254012

Account name: The Potato Group