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.
Over in POTATO group we have a lot of families involved with social workers.
Even when the adoption order is through it’s very clear that families need support from professional people who can access relevant help for our traumatised young people and their families. Sadly, our experiences of services often fall short and at times catastrophically so for our family lives. Our traumatised adopted teens get very badly effected.
There’s a few total diamonds in the service, I’m a committee member of POTATO writing to you today and I can name a few. We would like to see the standards raised to excellent across the board helping post adoptive families.
Every now and again, we come across something that resonates so loudly with our collective experiences that we want to share it.
This is a piece published here with permission of the author (yes, we asked!)
Essential reading for anyone involved in post adoption, especially social workers.
Do you like arts and crafts? Or just to meet fellow adoptive parents and have a well deserved break and recharge your batteries?
Come on up to Sheffield and take part in PAD! We still have a few places left if you are a member of POTATO group and are quick off the mark…
email firstname.lastname@example.org and subject line: PAD 2018.
We are so excited to be having another POTATO arts day! You might be into painting or more a cut and stick or a learn a new technique type of person. Everyone is very friendly and you would be very welcome even if you don’t know any participants closely.
Later this month, April 2018, we are holding our third Potato Art Day which is growing into a self-care weekend. Potato members from across the UK get the chance to meet friends whom they have previously only met online, to accept overnight hospitality from other Potatoes, to share a therapeutic alpaca trek and a meal out as well as a day of art and craft activities. This year will include Raku pottery, wire sculpture, papercraft, crochet, drawing, a wish tree and a raffle.
This weeks piece is all about WHY POTATO group members need a break and what sort of break the PAD provides.
Good evening everybody.
This evenings piece, ready for you is by someone in POTATO who has become quite an expert in mental health services. Not that they set out to do this. Well, few of the the things we set out thinking we would be doing as adoptive parents are actually the things we’ve ended up doing!
Most of the POTATO members have come across CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) at some point. They have had mixed experiences from the hugely supportive but with no resources to offer, to not at all supportive and very vague, to pondering about what could be provided for the level of need presented in children and teens with extensive trauma related mental health needs. Not fit for purpose?
For those who have extensive, complex, epigentic linked and to a degree organic serious mental health needs, an inpatient stay of several months might be required.
These are as rare as hens teeth.
We are encouraged to see all main political parties and campaigning groups have signed up to improving CAMHS and “ending out of area placements” but sometimes its really hard to see action making any difference.
Good Morning everyone.
POTATO has been in demand recently, with the Wright Stuff and this piece on the Victoria Derbyshire programme.
Talking about how adoptive families often face crisis with their traumatised adopted young people and the professionals lack capacity to help.
It emphasises how important POTATO group is to families in terms of support and expert knowledge having had many families having faced similar troubles in the past.
Thankyou to our members who took part, especially the parents who agreed to be interviewed on live TV!
It is really good to know that our group is so well supported. If you would like to offer a media opportunity or arrange an interview with our members please email us: email@example.com
This week we are sharing our members journey with her young adult towards supported independence.
Yes, now you’ve got that 90s classic zipping through your head- have a read of this weeks excellent blog.
It can be ever so challenging for adoptive parents, with vulnerable adoptees, having a variety of executive functioning and other difficulties to start moving towards independence.
Hopefully, this weeks blog will give you some ideas of where to start and a chance to think through the issues faced by families at this point in life.
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….
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.