One of the particular groups of people I follow on twitter has been the adoption community. Early on in my exploration of children’s violence to parents, and more especially after publication of the report Beyond the Adoption Order, I become aware that families living with children they had adopted were facing sometimes extreme levels of violence and that it often felt different to other forms of CPV. Often times it involved children as young as three or four, and could clearly be linked back to experiences of trauma: neglect, violence, abandonment, multiple placements, and the cutting of familial ties. These were children demonstrating anger, grief, frustration and most of all fear, and – as with all CPV – there was very little being offered in the way of support. A few tentative steps are now being taken in developing therapies and support packages for families, but one of the key things that has enabled people to keep caring, to keep going at all, has been the friendships, advice and care forged online.
The Adoption Social is one such example, started by “Two adoptive mums, Vicki and Sarah, who met through twitter and the world of blogging. Found support and understanding through social media and now reaching out to others in adoption to help them find the same“. The website offers tips and advice, reviews, a blog and the Weekly Adoption Shout Out (WASO) but through all of these is the opportunity to speak candidly without fear of shame, retribution or of causing anxiety in others; and to receive care from those who truly understand.
For the whole of the last week, Vicki and Sarah have coordinated the first of a series of what they have called “Sore Points”, focussing this time on child to parent violence. There have been guest blogs, a live twitter chat and, of course, a themed WASO. I was privileged to be asked to contribute, but I cannot compete with the lived experience of the other bloggers. Please do take a look at the site. There is much for all of us to learn. But tread lightly, remembering how the website is used.
The week has attracted significant attention and honest outpourings of emotion. It is important now that families are not simply left hanging on, but are able to receive help with their needs soon.