Nurturing new families at adoption charity PACT

WOODEN Spoon Chilterns’ historic donation to an adoption charity specialising in recruiting, training and supporting those willing to adopt “hard-to-place” children, has been instrumental in helping hundreds of young people to embrace their future with a new family.

The children’s charity of rugby pledged £10,000 to fund the creation of a family therapy room for PACT [Parents and Children Together] in April 2013, and the Reading facility has since hosted more than 1,000 sessions – often at times of crisis – to help adoptive families build attachment and trust.

Such a resource is vital given the challenging start in life experienced by many of the children who walk through its doors.

All have been at risk and removed from their birth families following neglect or physical, emotional or sexual abuse, and they are likely to have been separated from multiple short-term foster families. Consequently, it is common for them to suffer from chronic childhood trauma and attachment disorders. They can be left feeling confused, broken-hearted, angry and depressed, which makes it hard for them to trust and bond with other adults including new parents or carers.

Their developmental trauma can also affect their ability to reach their academic potential and to form healthy relationships with peers.

The family therapy room, which is fully soundproofed and equipped with specialist therapeutic and sensory toys, games and books, allows many of these issues to be addressed in a calming, non-threatening environment through structured sessions, thera-play and dyadic developmental psychotherapy.

Case study

The Wilkinsons, who adopted Sam in 2008 when he was six-years-old, are among those to have benefited from the use of the facility.

The family approached PACT for help when they realised their son was struggling with his history after experiencing severe neglect from his birth family.

He couldn’t make sense of his past and wasn’t able to talk about it. PACT’s psychologist arranged for several family sessions in the therapy room, which provided Sam with a safe space and enabled a special relationship to be formed that eventually helped him open up about his past, feelings and emotions.

It helped him to make sense of his memories and to understand what had happened was not his fault.

This story features on page 11 in the latest edition of Spoonews, if you would like to read the full magazine please click here.