The POTATO group

Time out! It’s Mother’s Day

As Mothers Day can cause a lot of upset for families with traumatised adoptees in them we have decided to have a TIME OUT event. The adoptee might be making you upset, grumpy and hopeless. You have been firmly naughty stepped for being called MUM. 
So as the mum’s who are on the naughty step, we encourage you to disobediently have a lovely treat whatever your young persons challenges may be.
This event has to be a time for Mum to do what SHE chooses for at least 30 minutes (ideally an hour). If your adopted person isn’t in contact with your family, please take some extra time out. 

Including the ever popular ideas of drinking, eating and erm, drinking and eating. Here are some other ideas:

Just take a selfie or picture of what activities you’ve chosen for your TIME OUT.

Introducing the 2016 AGM.

img_9109Its lunchtime and before you tuck into your sandwiches, pop an email across to getting your name down for our annual meeting. We will email you with all the details of the day we cannot put here for security reasons.

If you are going to Birmingham for the adoptionuk conference on the 19th of November 2016 maybe book another night in the hotel and come along in the morning to our mini conference.

On Sunday the 20th of November, from 9 until 1, you’ll hear all about what POTATO group do and what sorts of things we want to aim for in the year to come.

If you are a member already you can come along for free and you get to vote. Information about the steering committee volunteer positions can be sent to you on request.  To become a member email us, fill in the membership form and pay the annual £10.

We would like to welcome as many members as possible on the day but if you have a question or idea and cannot attend, please do email us between now and the 18th November 2016.

Our whole group want you to feel as included as possible and that your thoughts, ideas and experiences matter so if you can possibly attend it would be fantastic to see you.



What we are on about when we say “traumatised adoptees”.

There are some mistakes folk make when talking about traumatised kids, really it boils down to not wanting to think too much on the awful stuff that happens to children in this day and age.

To address some of these misconceptions and to inform the public at large, the open nest adoption support charity have made a series of short films.

This one is called “The Lost Children of Trauma”. 

Legal People- fabulous free resource

Legal people! Have a free, comprehensive resource on resolution and family law conference on us!

Links and Resources Page 


Independent Reviewing Officers Conference (NAIRO)

Good morning everyone, its the day of the NAIRO conference today and POTATO group are there, talking with IROs and sharing with them the realities of life with traumatised adopted young people.

It may come as a surprise to some that around 3-5% of young adoptees have found family life too hard and need more than a family can offer. There are many reasons for this but it is true that the numbers of children going into the care of social services from adoptive homes goes up ten fold in teenage years (Selwyn et al “Beyond the Adoption Order” 2014.) Most end up in section 20 looked after care. This is where the parents retain full parental rights (PR) but have asked the local authority to look after their young person.

Because of this, every young person has a review with an IRO present. They also have a right to a social worker and an independent advocate.

For more information about section 20 and retaining PR check out the information provided by Family rights Group

We have written an information document for IROs use, giving out copies at todays conference. Please see our Links and Resources page for more information.

Free NVR sessions

We get sent lots of emails from various adoption support agencies. This one arrived today and it looked really helpful to many of our families.

Non Violent Resistance – NVR

FREE – 9 Week Group Sessions

for Parents and Carers

of Children and Young People
Challenging, Destructive and Violent Behaviour

Thursday mornings 10.15 – 12.45
20 Oct 2016 3, 10, 17, 24 Nov 2016 1, 8, 15 Dec 2016 12 Jan 2017

Venue: ‘Freedom from Torture’, 111 Isledon Road, London N7 7JW (see map on back)

This is a closed group that includes training on NVR.
If you are a two-parent family it is most beneficial if both parents attend where possible.
Please only enrol if you can make it a priority to attend each week.
(We will be running another group from January 2017.)

We wish to use parts of this course in our ‘Training for Trainers Course.’ We therefore need participants’ agreement to video the sessions. Please note the camera will directed at the group facilitators. The material will only be used for future NVR trainers and group facilitators.
Participants will learn to:
· Feedback from 2 parents from the last course

‘There has been no advice as valuable as the ideas and delivery of this course, even if some of it seems alien – hang on in there.’

Exceptionally good, knowledgeable, and experienced course facilitators. Every adoptive family needs these people. Top marks.
Take a firm stance against violence

· Hold back from physical or verbal violence

· Increase positive presence in your child’s life

· De-escalate conflicts

· Break the cycle of shame and silence

· Make changes in relating to your child in the long term

· Reduce distress for parent and child

· Feel more in control

· Recruit and use supporters

· Enjoy the benefits of being part of a group

To register, please use the following link: , open the link to “Workshops for adoptive parents” and complete the online form. Please make sure that you confirm your registration after you submitted the form. You will then receive an email confirmation.

The facilitators

Michelle Shapiro is an experienced chartered clinical psychologist with 10 years’ experience in a CAMHS service. Michelle was one of the original team trained by Haim Omer, who then began implementing NVR in the Bexley and Greenwich CAMHS service (Oxleas). Since 2013 Michelle has been an independent practitioner, specialising in NVR and trauma work.
Sue Dromey has worked in the field of fostering and adoption for over 35 years as an integrative child psychotherapist, drama therapist, trainer and social worker. She has worked as a therapist and Practice Manager for PAC-UK’s Child and Family Service for 15years. Sue has a special interest in helping families deal with the impact of trauma on their daily lives. She is interested in integrating NVR with therapeutic work which addresses trauma.
Ruth Pimenta: joined PAC-UK’s Child and Family Service in 2013 as child and family therapist. She was a teacher in London for 16 years. She qualified as a therapist in 2000 and has worked in local authority, the voluntary sector and in private practice and is a member of BACP. She has a wealth of experience as a child mental health worker and as a trainer with foster carers, adoptive parents and social workers.
We are joined by 2 graduate NVR parents – who have both ‘been there and got the t-shirt.’
Participants have found it invaluable to have the parent facilitators as part of the team
Tamsin: parent co-facilitator who became a parent through adoption and has been using NVR with her family.
Dawn: parent co-facilitator and adoptive parent who has been using NVR with her family and has facilitated an NVR parenting programme within a school.


Nearest Underground station: Finsbury Park (Piccadilly and Victoria lines).
Bus routes: 4, 29, 90, 153, 253, 254, 259, and 279. This purpose-built treatment centre has wheelchair access and a WC adapted for use by disabled people.
Parking: Sobell Centre Car Park – this centre is a little down the road from ‘Freedom for Torture’, on the other side of the road. There are parking metres in most of the streets nearby. At the back of the 115 Isledon Road, there are some parking facilities and payment by mobile phone.

Mila Coronado
Team Administrator
t. 020 7284 0555
f. 020 7482 2367

Clever poem for your five minutes and cuppa….

A POTATO Member has sent in this clever poem to share, and we hope you enjoy it with a cuppa. 

It really is vitally important to take a break, even 5 minutes to yourself each day. Self care is something we take really seriously in our group as it is the only thing you can often control in the times when things are smooth or rough going.

 That’s good for your mental and physical health (as long as the cuppa isn’t neat gin everyday!) 

So. Here’s the poem with today’s cuppa. Enjoy 

 I have been in many places, but I’ve never been in Cahoots.
Apparently, you can’t go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.
I’ve also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognises you there.
I have, however, been in Sane. They don’t have an airport; you have to be driven there.
I have made several trips there, thanks to my children, friends, family and work.
I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I’m not too much on physical activity anymore.
I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there too often.
I’ve been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.
Sometimes I’m in Capable, and I go there more often as I’m getting older.
One of my favourite places to be is in Suspense!
It really gets the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart! At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!
I may have been in Continent, and I don’t remember what country I was in.
It’s an age thing. They tell me it is very wet and damp there.

AGM 2016

It’s that time of year and again the POTATO steering group are planning for the AGM. This year, it’s going to be a bit different with the emphasis on what the group does to support parents of traumatised young people.

Examples of which will be shared when the group have given talks, shared expertise, met with advisory bodies and held “communication stalls”. Donations can be brought on the day to cover the costs involved in setting up the event, we ask all members to check they have completed their membership forms and paid their annual cost of £10 per year, per family.

We are holding it over the same weekend as the adoptionuk conference so members will have the option of attending both events.

Very importantly we have been busy arranging social meals over the weekend in November to get to meet one another in person, share stories and have a much needed break from day to day family life. Looking forward to laughing with everyone.

For further details, either email or if you are a member, check our Facebook chat group.

Door left ajar

Was it ever right that I tried to be your mummy?
How could you accept that when I wasn’t ‘tummy mummy’?
She made you and she bore you,
And she loved you from the start,
She just didn’t have the wherewithal to keep you in her heart,
I wanted to replace her
And give you all l could,
I wanted you to be secure
And make your life feel good.
We took you in our family
A daughter and a sister,
We loved you and we cherished you
But still you really missed her.
No love nor understanding
Could take away your pain,
No therapy nor counselling
Could make us both feel sane.
We battled and we struggled

And I tried to keep you near,
But it wasn’t really possible
Because of all the fear.
It all went wrong, we asked for help
But no one really cared,
Or maybe they just didn’t see
We both were really scared.
I let you down, I should have had
The strength to battle on.
I never will forgive myself
Now that our chance is gone.
But even now, there is a bond
Of that I feel quite sure
I only hope you feel it too
And leave ajar the door

Used with permission from Poet:  Janet Barraclough

Professionals and Adoptive Parents

word bubbleHi all,

We are so fortunate in our group because there is such experience and expertise in adoption matters. Read an excellent article by Dave Bagshaw and Mair Richards adapted from their presentation at the POTATO conference and AGM 2015.

The full version can be downloaded for free here on the LINKS and RESOURCES page.

With thanks to Dave and Mair for this helpful resource.