We encourage you throughout the process and post adoption to explore as many resources as you can about the challenges and impacts of adoption. This section of our website is curated to provide a diverse range of books, podcasts, shows and resources that we hope will inspire, encourage and challenge you. Many of our adoptive parents and social workers have found the following resources useful and we are always looking for new recommendations. We update this page regularly and if you notice that we’ve missed a great book you’ve read or intriguing podcast you’ve listened to about adoption then please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
CoramBAAF also have a comprehensive list of books and resources for adopters and children. Find out more by visiting their website.
Adoption UK provide a mixed media library containing more than three hundred books covering a range of adoption and fostering issues. All books are lent free of charge (excluding postal charges). The library can lend up to three books/items at one time. To access the library, you will need to sign up for membership and pay the associated fee. Once you are logged in to the website you will be able to browse the items in the library and make a reservation. An orange button titled ‘borrow this item’ will appear next to the item once you have clicked into it. This will then take you to the reservation form: Adoption UK Lending Library
Renowned Child Psychiatrist, Bruce D. Perry and award-winning, Science Journalist, Maia Szalavitz interweave research and stories from Perry's practice with cutting-edge scientific studies and historical examples in their book, Born to Love.
Throughout this accessibly written book, Perry and Szalavitz explain how empathy develops, why it is essential for our development into healthy adults, and how it's often threatened in the modern world. Perry and Szalavitz outline how compassion underlies the qualities that make society work, how difficulties related to empathy are key factors in societal problems and how lack of empathy can impact physical health.
Flying Solo is a first-hand account of adoption from an adoptive mother’s perspective. Throughout the book Julia shares her experiences of the change from being a career focused, single women to becoming an adoptive, solo parent.
She talks about the reality of the highs and lows of adopting, dealing with society’s attitudes towards solo parenting, adopting her son and how adopting changed every aspect of her life. The book is an open, honest and thought provoking read for anyone considering adopting.
Lisa Faulkner, English Actress, Presenter and Winner of 2010 Celebrity Masterchef, has written a book about adoption, Meant to be. Lisa’s story weaves a relatable and honest account of her journey from trying to conceive, to fertility treatment, to considering surrogacy, to starting and completing the adoption process. Throughout the book Lisa speaks candidly about her relationships with her (now ex) husband, friends and family members and the personal journey she took towards considering adopting. Lisa’s daughter is now a teenager and Lisa is able to reflect about her experiences as well as looking towards the future.
Lisa also spoke about her journey on This Morning: Lisa Faulkner This Morning
Lemn Sissay MBE, Author, Poet and Broadcaster has written a memoir reflecting his experiences of the care system in the UK in the 1960’s – 1980’s. He shares his experiences as a child and young person and how these experiences have shaped his outlook and adult life.
It should be noted that significant reform has happened across social services and society since Lemn’s childhood experiences however this book gives intimate insight into the care system at that time and the intrinsic need of all people to understand their identity, to feel part of a family and receive unlimited love, care and stability
How I Met My Son is an easily accessible and honest, personal account of adoption written by Journalist, Rosalind Powell. Throughout the book Rosalind weaves together the story of why and how she and her partner, Harry adopted their son, Gabriel and their ongoing journey; whilst, at the same time, threading in stories of people who she has interviewed who have also adopted or are adopted themselves.
In the book she highlights their experiences as a couple with fertility treatment, the adoption process, matching and settling in and their ongoing life as a family. She talks about the positive outcomes that they have seen alongside the challenges and covers, in detail, their experience of introduction to Gabriel including their ongoing relationship with his foster carers. At the end of the book she also includes Gabriel’s comments about his own adoption bringing the narrative together with a very personal touch.
A Guide for Gay Dads is a great resource, written by Stonewall for male couples and gay single men who are looking into the routes to becoming a dad. The guide covers the range of options available including adoption. It also contains stories from dads about a range of topics and there's advice and guidance covering specific concerns and questions gay males may have.
You can read the guide for free: A Guide for Gay Dads
In this memoir, Florence Sheridan, a single parent through adoption reflects on her experiences of her life before children, the adoption process and being a parent to her son, Freddie who she adopted when he was six years old. Florence provides insight into adopting as a single person and adopting an older, male child whilst reflecting, with humour, on some of her and Freddie’s experiences of being a family. The book covers: transitions, introductions, relationships with family and friends, choosing a school, holidays, activities, contact, life-story, talking about uncomfortable topics with a child, behaviours, triggers, and the complexities of life as a family through adoption.
The Gentle Parenting Book is part of a series of books about parenting created by Antenatal Teacher and Doula, Sarah Ockwell-Smith. This book covers parenting in the developmental years birth to seven years old. Some of the developmental stages covered in this book may have already occurred in an adopted child’s life whilst others might be starting in the near to not-so-distant future, so it's a great read for anyone seeking to understand their child’s early years.
Between is part of a series of books about parenting created by Antenatal Teacher and Doula, Sarah Ockwell-Smith. This book covers parenting in the developmental years eight to thirteen years old. The book blends biology, psychology, and sociology to form practical parenting advice to support parents supporting their child through the transition from childhood to adulthood. The 'tween' years are a time of preparation, change and the start of puberty and these are hugely important years in a child’s development into a young person.
Throughout the book Sarah takes a no-nonsense approach to topics including brain development, friendships, relationships, identity, physical changes, emotional changes, behaviour, body image, puberty, consent, romantic relationships, sexuality, gender, screen-time, schooling, finances and preparing your child for independence.
The Starting School Book is part of a series of books about parenting created by Antenatal Teacher and Doula, Sarah Ockwell-Smith. This book explores topics including choosing schools or home educating, special educational needs, and disabilities, preparing a child for school, settling in and transitions.
A topic which isn’t covered in this book is that care experienced children (including children who have been adopted) are entitled to priority access, further support, trauma informed practice and funding from schools. It’s worth reading around the topics of schooling in depth as a child approaches this milestone and consider contacting our adoption support team.
Exposure to substances in utero is a common thread in many adopted children’s life stories. Frequency of use and level of exposure aren’t the only contributing factors to outcomes. This book explores these topics alongside: physical, emotional, and behavioural responses, brain development, diagnosis, parenting, sensory processing, eating, sleep patterns, support, education and supporting your child in developing friendships and relationships with others.
In this book Dr Mary Mather speaks as a Community Paediatric Consultant with a special interest in FASD and Julia Brown speaks as joint founder of The FASD Trust and an adoptive mother of two children.
In this book, Cat McGill weaves together her professional experience in developmental physiology with her own family’s experiences of adopting and parenting child who was subjected to abuse in his early years. The book covers: adopting with a birth child, early life experiences, abuse, trauma, brain development, attachment, parenting, disclosures, working with multi agency professionals including police, schools, therapists and social workers and emotional regulation.
Cat also shares her experiences of parenting via her website: Cat McGill, Instagram: @folkycat and Twitter: @folkycat
In her nuanced memoir, Nicole Chung shares her life-story as an Asian American transracial adoptee. The book highlights the importance of cultural and ethnic identity, adoptive identity and reconnecting with birth family. Nicole’s book highlights the life-long tension adopted people face between being part of their adoptive family alongside the loss of their birth family. Nicole’s book is a thought-provoking read for adoptive parents as it challenges the desires and perspective adoptive parents and highlights how their ideas may conflict with an adopted person’s perspective.
The book is important for all adoptive parents to understand the responsibility they have in encouraging and supporting their child to engage with their life-story, encouraging contact with birth family and embracing and promoting a child’s cultural heritage.
Nicole also uses the book to share her experiences of becoming a parent herself and the complexities that she experienced in this as an adopted person.
It should be noted that modern UK adoption differs from modern USA adoption especially in the nature that substantially fewer children are relinquished for adoption by birth parents, less children are adopted internationally and that local authorities in the UK have a responsibility to seek ethnic and cultural match for each child before considering interracial adoption.
In 2021 the School of Psychology at University of Birmingham and Cerebra (a UK charity supporting children with brain conditions) created a parent guide about ‘emotional outbursts or meltdowns’: Emotional Outbursts: A Parents Guide
The Wild Track is a deeply insightful memoir of becoming a mother written by Margaret Reynolds, writer, academic, critic, professor of English and broadcaster. Single, in her mid-forties and having experienced a sudden early menopause Margaret decided to explore adopting a child.
The book not only follows her journey of adoption, but Margaret also draws on her academic knowledge and love of literature to share an exploration of what motherhood / parenthood is. To achieve this, she references many other books and inspirations which added depth to her decision to become a parent.
In the book Margaret shares candidly about a disclosure regarding her sexuality that she reserved during assessment. This non-disclosure ultimately led her first agency to make the decision to end her application. She then shares her subsequent struggle to find a new agency. Margaret also shares her journey from initially only considering international adoption of a baby to eventually adopting a six-year-old child though domestic adoption.
The final chapters are written by Margaret’s daughter. In these chapters she shares her memories of her childhood including the day she went to live with Margaret and the court proceedings that followed.
The book highlights key themes such as the importance of; understanding one’s motivations to become a parent, gaining varied childcare experience before adopting, family and community support and the detailed planning for introductions and transitions.
Truth be Told: Adoption Stories is a heart-warming series, created by the National Adoption Service, which follows the journey of ten adopters from across Wales.
Prior to featuring in the podcast they’d never met before, but straight away it's like listening to old friends talk; they laugh together, they cry together. Throughout the series they share their first-hand experiences of adoption; from their first steps, all the way through to post-adoption support. Truth be told: Adoption stories is the first, pan-Wales adoption podcast from the National Adoption Service, and it is available in both Welsh and English: Truth be Told: Adoption Stories
Giovanna Fletcher of ‘Happy Mum, Happy Baby’ podcast interviews Lisa Faulkner, Actress, Chef, Presenter, Adoptive Mum, and Stepmum. During the episode Giovanna and Lisa discuss professional life, being a pregnancy partner, deciding to try for children, fertility, Clomid, IVF and being a mum through adoption and being a stepmum. This episode also contains discussion around miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy which may be triggering: Lisa Faulkner
In this episode, father of two, Oli Proctor shares his and his wife, Chantelle’s experience of fertility, adoption, and parenting: The Dad Cave Podcast
In this podcast Clare Devanney-Glynn and Jessica Rutherford discuss all aspects of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Spotlight on FASD
The podcast is also available in video podcast format: Spotlight on FASD
Comedy duo and married couple, Rose and Rosie’s use their podcast to share their experience of starting a family. They invite guests to share their own experience as parents, children of parents, influencers, and professionals.
Specific episodes regarding adoption: The Adoption Option! Feat. Isma Almas
In this episode Dawn French shares her experience of desiring to be a parent, miscarriage, fertility treatment, adopting her daughter, Billy and co-parenting with her ex-husband, Lenny Henry: Dawn French
In their Podcast Journalists and friends, Emma Forsyth Haslett and Gabriella Griffiths share their stories of journeying to motherhood. Throughout the seasons they invite guests who are either experts in fertility or people who have navigated a variety of routes to parenthood.
Specific episodes regarding adoption:
Two Good Mum’s is a collaboration between First Mother and Author, Laura and Adoptive Mother, Peggy. Through their digital platforms including blog, social platforms, and podcast, they share their experiences of open contact and about the growth of their friendship alongside their shared experience of being mums to their children. Laura has also shared her own, personal experiences as a first parent whose children were adopted through her book, Baby of Mine: A Birthmothers Journey Through Forced Adoption
The Two Good Mums podcast is available across major podcast platforms: Two Good Mums Podcast
Didi and Priscilla Akutu-Carter and Leon Weham teamed up on Instagram during LGBT+ Adoption and Fostering Week 2022 to provide two episodes of ‘Black Queer Parent Discuss’. These Instagram live episodes combine a wealth of information and a perspective on adoption from three people who identify as British, Black, LGBT+ parents through adoption.
During LGBT+ Adoption & Fostering Week 2022, Homo Sapiens podcast producer, Chris spoke to Instagram dad, Tom Cox @unlikelydad. During the podcast Tom shares the story of him and his husband adopting their son Kai.
Care for the Family’s Christian faith-based podcast, ‘The Dad Cave’ sees dads, Mark and Stephen invite a variety of dad’s the speak about their experiences of being parents.
Jillian Lauren is an American Adoptive Mother who tell her adoption story from her perspective as both an Adoptive Mother and an Adopted Person. She reflects on family, identity and love during her TEDxChapmanU talk: An Adoption Story
ReMoved is a short film following the emotional journey of a nine-year old girl, Zoe who has to leave her birth home and is placed in foster care system (USA). In the sequel ‘Remember My Story’ Zoe deals with the court system, foster home life, her birth mom's attempts at getting her life together, the loss of her brother and her future.
Although American fostering and adoption is often very different to the UK system these films highlight some of the emotional upheaval faced by children who have entered the care system. The films explore how these experiences can impact children’s behaviour and understanding of the world around them and why therapeutic parenting and support are so important: ReMoved Series
Instant Family is American comedy film starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne as married couple, Pete and Ellie Wagner who foster and subsequently adopt three children. Director, Sean Anders, is an Adoptive Father himself and wrote the storyline based on some of his own families experiences.
The film highlights the need for foster and adoptive parents internationally. Although the UK adoption process differs from American adoption the film is fantastic for those looking to build an understanding of the positives of fostering and adopting alongside the realities of the struggles of adapting to family life together.
A four part series created by ITV and presented by Nicky Campbell, himself adopted as a baby, ‘Wanted: A Family of My Own’ provides an insight into adoption in the UK. The documentary follows the journeys of a number of adopters from across the UK who have adopted to start a family. The documentary also highlights some of the children whose care plan is adoption: Wanted: A Family of My Own
“In the UK male infertility now accounts for 50% of infertility. As many as two to three million men in the UK could have a fertility problem which typically only becomes apparent when men want to start a family."
From our daily life working with people seeking to have a family, we know that male reproductive health is just as important as that of females and it plays a vital role in fertility. Sadly, in UK culture male fertility is still, often overlooked or viewed as a taboo topic. To combat this Love Island star, Chris Hughes and his brother Ben have teamed up with the BBC to create a documentary highlighting the importance of exploring and understanding male reproductive health and fertility. Their hope is that the documentary will encourage people to speak more openly these topics with others, promote learning about male reproductive health and to encourage men to seek support earlier than they may otherwise have done: Me, My Brother and Our Balls
Angela and her husband, Bryan never intended to create a feature length documentary about Angela’s search for her birth family but from their personal experience and the footage they had, they felt it could be an educational piece for the public. Closure was picked up for digital streaming services Hulu (2014), Netflix (2015-2017) and Amazon Prime (2016-2020).
Angela also has a YouTube channel which she uses to upload short documentaries and podcasts to advocate for and elevate the experiences of herself and other people who are adopted.
Trying is an Apple TV original, comedy series created by Andy Wolton (a director and an adopted person). The series follows the story of Jason and Nikki, a mid-30s couple who have been trying to have a baby through fertility treatment. The series follows their journey from ‘trying’ to exploring adoption.
Some elements of the series are created for viewer entertainment so, there are some inaccuracies, regarding the process however, the programme offers an often light-hearted yet, emotionally aware perspective on fertility, family and adoption: Trying
In this powerful and emotive documentary, ex-Footballer, Ian Wright investigates the effect growing up in a psychologically abusive and violent home has on children.
In 2021, in the UK, 1.6 million women experienced domestic abuse, and in 90% of domestic abuse cases there is a child present. As well as coming to terms with his own experience, Ian sets out to understand the impact that domestic abuse in childhood can have on children growing up and how it can shape the adults they will become.
Ian experienced domestic violence in his own childhood. He now has children of his own. During the documentary he speaks to his brother about their shared experiences growing up, he revisits his childhood home for the first time in fifty years and then travels across the UK to meet other people who have experienced domestic abuse in their childhoods. He also meets with professionals to talk through his own trauma. Ian discovers how things have changed since he grew up in the 70s, and he finds out how children are supported in the UK today by visiting his former primary school and observing local and charity-led initiatives.
In the final part of documentary Ian visits a charity that works with people at risk of committing, or who have already committed, domestic abuse and meets a man who is on a course to help him understand and change his behaviour. Ian discovers how abuse can become a dangerous cycle and emotionally reveals that he is now able to begin to forgive his mother and move on from the past. Upon reflection, he concludes that “abuse creates a vicious cycle - it’s up to all of us to stop it”.
Sadly, many children including care experienced children have witnessed / experienced domestic violence, abuse and neglect and adoptive parents need compassion and awareness of the impact these experiences can have for children and families. This programme may be triggering for people who have witnessed / experienced domestic violence, abuse, and neglect in their own childhood: Clip One: Ian Wright: Home Truths
Clip Two: Ian Wright: Home Truths
"What if I was to tell you that a game of peek-a-boo could change the world?" asks seven-year-old Molly Wright, one of the youngest-ever TED speakers. Breaking down the research-backed ways parents and caregivers can support children's healthy brain development, Wright highlights the benefits of play on lifelong learning, behaviour, and well-being, sharing effective strategies to help all kids thrive by the age of five. She's joined onstage by one-year-old Ari and his dad, Amarjot, who help illustrate her big ideas about brain science. (This TED talk was produced in collaboration with Minderoo Foundation as an educational tool for parents and caregivers around the world and is supported by UNICEF): How every child can thrive by five
This docuseries produced by Channel 4 in 2014 follows social workers, foster carers, birth parents and adopters over two years as decisions are made that will impact the future of the children involved:
PAC-UK have created a short, thought-provoking film 'Adopted for life: Becoming an Adult’ in which young people and adults who are adopted share their experiences of transitioning from childhood to adulthood as an adopted person: Adopted for Life: Becoming an Adult
PAC-UK are a UK based charity. They work with people who are affected by adoption, special guardianship, and other forms of permanent care: PAC-UK
PAC-UK have created a short, thought-provoking film ‘The Forgotten Voices of Birth Families’ in which Birth Parents share candidly about their lives and the circumstances that lead to their child removed and subsequently adopted, grief, how this lose has impacted their lives and contact: The Forgotten Voices of Birth Families
In 2021 PAC-UK, a UK based charity who work with people who are affected by adoption, special guardianship, and other forms of permanent care hosted a conference in 2021, Voices of Birth Parents: Loss, Hope and Change. The conference brought together Birth Parents, Birth Family, Adoptive Parents, Adoptive Family, Support Workers and Social Workers to learn more about the perspective of Birth Parents in the adoption triad.
The event was hosted by Angela, a Birth Mother and contained the voices and perspectives of a group of Birth Parents, Support Workers and Social Workers: PAC-UK Conference 2021: Voices of Birth Parents: Loss, Hope and Change
This two-part documentary explores the case of an eleven-week-old child’s death. The programme highlights the impacts of domestic violence and chaotic family life for children and adults, and how crimes of this nature are investigated.
The documentary also highlights the importance of professionals understanding families lived experiences and for concerns to be raised with support services such as the police and social services: 24 Hours in Police Custody: Cold to the Touch
If you decide to watch the documentary, please watch with caution. We believe it is important for the public to understand the impacts of domestic violence however, we are also mindful some viewers might find the subject matter distressing and / or triggering.
If you or someone you know is or may be impacted by domestic violence:
This docuseries follows the lives of several women living on the streets in Brighton and Hove.
Birth Mothers whose children have been removed into care and people who are care-experienced are over-represented in the homeless community. A 2012 publication from St Mungo’s stated that: “Over three quarters of mothers sleeping on the street have had their children taken away”.
The series give insight into the lived experiences of women living on the streets including survival, involvement with services, substance use and their relationships with their children.
In series one, episode two, Birth Mother’s, Paige, Isla, and Maria share details of their experiences with their children and in series three, episode one, Charlotte finds out that she is pregnant while living on the streets: Love and Drugs on the Street: Girls Sleeping Rough
The series contain footage of drug use which some viewers may find distressing and / or be triggered by.
This documentary gives an eye-opening, assumption challenging insight into experiences of Birth Mothers living with their babies in a residential setting for mothers recovering from substance addiction. Residential Parent and Baby Placements are supportive environments usually provided at a staff-led facility or a parent and baby foster placement.
Sadly, many children in the UK placed for adoption have been exposed to substances in utero and / or in their home environment and many of them may have lived, for a period, in a placement like the one shown in this documentary: Addicted: Last Chance Mums
The documentary contains visuals of Methadone use and reference to sexual abuse that some viewers may find distressing and / or triggering.
Ashley John-Baptiste, BBC Reporter and Presenter grew up in foster care. Ashley believed he was an only child until one day, in his mid-20’s, a man reached out to him via social media and shared that he was his brother.
In this documentary Ashley shares his own story and elevates and interweaves the voices of care-experienced children, young people, and adults alongside social workers and foster parents.
The documentary shares an emotive insight into the bonds of sibling relationships and how and why these relationships should be nurtured: Split up in care: life without siblings
On International FASD Awareness Day 2021 Sheffield Children Safeguarding Children Partnership hosted a FASD conference.
The conference took attendees on the FASD journey, prevention, diagnosis, and support for people diagnosed with FASD and their families, with a range of speakers including people who are diagnosed with FASD, parents and carers of people diagnosed with FASD, people from organisations supporting families impacted by FASD, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on FASD, Dr Raja Mukherjee and Dr Cassie Jackson.
This is Us follows the lives of siblings Kevin, Kate, and Randal and their parents. Their parents Jack and Rebecca are initially pregnant with triplets and when one of the triplets is stillborn, they decide to adopt, Randle, a little boy who came into the hospital that day as an abandoned baby.
The story follows themes of identity, transracial adoption, reconnecting birth family, the experience of the adoption triad (child, birth family and adoptive family) and being siblings through adoption: This is Us
The series contains reference to racial discrimination, addiction, baby loss, family loss and illness that some viewers may find distressing and / or triggering
The documentary follows Harvey Price as he embarks on a rite of passage that thousands of young people do every year, going to college. The documentary highlights the experience of both Harvey, his mum, Katie Price and his extended family as he moves three hours away from home to National Star College, a specialist college for people living with additional needs / disabilities: Katie Price: What Harvey Did Next
This heart-filled series follows the lives of three, adult roommates living with Autism as they face the challenges of living independently and exploring and maintaining relationships. Depth is added to the story as the main roles are all played by actors who are on the spectrum themselves and the series challenges perceptions, stereotypes and gives poignant insight into the experiences of adults living with Autism and those supporting them: As We See It
In this documentary, actor, presenter, author and father, Joe Swash highlights the lived experiences of teenagers in care and care experienced adults who are living in England. Joe has a personal connection with the care system as his mother, Kiffy has been a single foster carer for fifteen years. Kiffy initially fostered two children; one who went on to be adopted and one, Daniel, who has lived with her since he was seven years old and who has recently started university: Joe Swash: Teens in Care
This drama follows the life of Sam, an 18-year-old who is on the autism spectrum as he decides it is time to seek more independence. The show highlights not only Sam’s journey but also the journey of his family as they adapt to Sam’s desire the become more independent. Although the story isn’t based on adoption, throughout their childhood, children can be diagnosed with additional needs including Autism. Therefore, it’s important for adopters to prepare themselves by learning more about additional needs.
Despite being a proud North Walian, Gerallt shares that he has always felt different to his peers because he’s dual heritage, born in England and adopted by his white, Welsh, Welsh speaking, mam. Now (2022), nearly fifty years since his adoption, Gerallt starts the search to find his birth parents and the black heritage he’s never known with North Wales Adoption Service. This documentary highlights the importance of belonging, finding identity, and the importance of cultural heritage: Our Lives, Series Six, Searching for My Other Mam
The documentary contains information about the death of a birth parent which viewers may find distressing and / or triggering.
In this documentary Michael Sheen highlights the challenges faced by Welsh, young people in foster care. Many children in the UK care system have a care plan of long-term foster care instead of returning to their birth families or being referred for adoption. Sometimes adopted children may have siblings whose care plan is long-term foster care.
Care experienced teenagers and young adults often don’t receive the same stability, financial, educational, social, emotional support etc that all people need to become prosperous adults. This is also known to create a generational cycle where care-experienced adults may have their own birth children removed because of socioeconomics. This is particularly important for adoptive parents to comprehend as their child may have experienced this cycle which has ultimately led to adoption. This programme highlights the importance for all children of having stability regardless of their placement type and the importance of ongoing contact with siblings and birth family: Michael Sheen: Lifting the Lid on the Care System
Made in Chelsea and British Tik Tok star, Sam Thompson has noticed that he experiences inattention, disorganisation, and hyperactivity. In this documentary Sam goes on an exploration to find out if he has diagnosed ADHD. Many children and young people in the UK wait extended periods of time to be diagnosed and for many adults who were born prior to more detailed understanding of ADHD they may only recently be receiving or exploring a formal diagnosis.
This documentary provides an insight into the lived experiences of people with ADHD and works to breakdown stigma: Sam Thompson: Is this ADHD?
In this documentary Sammy Woodhouse, one of the Rotherham grooming victims goes on a journey to meet other mothers and children born from rape. All over the country, she discovers remarkable people with heart-breaking stories of love and pain that have stayed hidden for decades.
The topics of rape and incest can often trigger a strong emotional response or disassociation within the public however, for parents who have been raped and their children this is their lived reality, and because of the taboo they end up living with stigmatisation, shame, and a fear of speaking out.
Whilst many children impacted by these circumstances remain in the care of their birth parent or extended family, for some the circumstances may be a contributing factor to them becoming care experienced: Out of the Shadows: Born from Rape
This documentary explores the lives of young people in the care of Coventry Children's Services, their families and the social workers involved in their lives.
Care experienced people and their families have usually experienced a combination of factors that have led to ultimately being involved with social services and/or the police. This documentary highlights the complexities of their life experiences, builds empathy for all involved and highlights the importance of life-story, identity, safe and stable relationships and belonging: Kids
A poignant and heart-breaking documentary where British former Paralympian Swimmer and adopted person, Ellie Simmonds candidly explores her birth records, her diagnosis of Achondroplasia and her adoption with the support of her family, Penny, Glesni, and Essex Social Services (AdoptEast).
During the documentary Ellie reconnects with her foster and birth families and also meets a family parenting a child with medical needs and Jono Lancaster who was placed for adoption after being left in hospital post birth; likely related to his medical diagnosis. The documentary speaks frankly about the challenges adoption services faced and continue to face finding parents for children living with disabilities and/or additional needs: Ellie Simmonds: Finding My Secret Family
This documentary may be triggering for those exploring their birth records and/or living with a disability and/or additional needs and their families.
Tom is Adoptive Dad to Kai. With beautiful photography, lots of posts about adoption, day to day life being a dad and some collab posts: The Unlikely Dad.
Leon Wenham is a single, black, gay adoptive father and adoption advocate. He has set up an online group for single, black, gay dads and in 2020 he wrote his debut children’s book, ‘Lots and Lots of Love’. He has also recorded a podcast episode with Black Boy Joy where he shares in more detail his experiences of adopting and being a parent.
Mumaduke Designs was created by an adoptive mum around a year after she adopted her son. At the time she was trying to find a suitable card for letterbox contact and she eventually decided to go home and make her own. Since then she has created a shop specialising in items that celebrate adoption and a blog and social media presence where she talks about her experiences of being a parent through adoption.
Author and adoptive mum, Rosemary Lucas uses her blog and social media presence to talk about her experiences of being a parent through adoption.
Rosemary’s debut, rhyming children’s book, The Family Fairies explains the adoption process in a fun and accessible way with colourful illustrations and really makes the story of adopting come to life. The book is based on Rosemary’s own adoption journey and tells the story of a mummy and a daddy who want to have a family and ask for the help of two ‘Family Fairies’ aka two social workers. Rosemary hopes this book will be the start of a series of books which will help children and adults alike understand adoption in a clearer and more vivid way and spark wider interest in adopting as a pathway to starting or extending a family.
Haitian-American mom, Jenna Wilder documents her and her husband, Drue’s experiences as parents to both adopted and birth children. She highlights their family’s experiences of interracial marriage, transracial adoption, home-schooling, parenting, the role her faith in her life and motherhood.
American, Transracial Adoptee, Angela Tucker is a public speaker, educator, mentor and consultant. She uses her voice, social media presence, YouTube channel (containing short documentaries and podcasts) and website to advocate for and elevate the experiences of herself and other people who are adopted.
Didi and Priscilla Akutu-Carter, Mummy and Mama to adoptive daughter, Ava share their experiences of parenting via Instagram and their connections as adoption advocates.
Laura has also shared her own, personal experiences as a first parent whose children were adopted through her book, Baby of Mine: A Birthmothers Journey Through Forced Adoption
Writer, journalist Damien and his partner, Andrew share their experiences and raise awareness of adoption as gay, adoptive dads living in Wales.
Adoptive parent, Claire uses her Instagram page to raise awareness of home education, Autism, ADHD, Adoption and Trauma. Claire and her wife now have two children through adoption: @educatingella
Welsh, solo adoptive parent of two, Sarah uses her Instagram page to raise awareness of solo adoptive parenting siblings: @2starfishsolo
Adoptive parents, Gwawr and Catrin use their Instagram page to raise awareness of adopting twins as a Welsh speaking, female couple. The content is Welsh first, bilingual: @teulu_bach_ni
Birth mother, Nina uses her Instagram page to raise awareness of the complexities of being a birth parent whose first children were removed and placed for adoption but whose subsequent birth child has continued to live with her. Nina speaks candidly about navigating emotions relating to her circumstances and ongoing contact with the children not living with her: @birthmumbythesea
An Instagram page hosted by adoptees to raise awareness of adoptees experiences of being adopted: Adoption Chatter
The National Adoption Service for Wales (NAS Cymru) is the Welsh Government umbrella for all local authority and voluntary agency adoption services across Wales: Adopt Cymru
National organisation providing information and training: Corambaaf
Adoption UK is a charity that provides support, community and advocacy for all those parenting or supporting children who cannot live with their birth parents. They also run a hotline which can be accessed by prospective adopters which is available Monday – Friday, 10am - 2.30pm and have information that they can send out via email request.
New Family Social is the only LGBT+ adoption and fostering charity in the UK. They support LGBT+ adoptive and fostering families by offering resources and advice.
As a member agency of New Family Social our adopters are not only supported by our team but can also access the resources and expertise of New Family Social
UK Government have a section of their website dedicated to adoption. It covers topics such as domestic and overseas adoption, step parent adoption and information about the legalities and assessment process.
Each local authority in Wales has a Family Information Service (FIS). FIS provide free, impartial help, support, advice and information for families and carers about local services and a range of family topics.
They can provide information and support such as:
FIS also arrange and run free events and sessions with parents in schools and the community and have holiday activity programmes.
The contact details for your local authority’s FIS can be accessed by selecting the area of Wales where you live on their website: Family Information Service
Our local Family Information Services are:
Welsh Government have a section of their website dedicated to parenting advice: Parenting. Give it time. The site provides resources, media and case-studies to support parents to ‘encourage positive behaviour, boost your child’s confidence and support their development’.
SNAP Cymru provides information, advice, training, and support for parents, children and young people who have, or may have, special educational needs or disabilities: SNAP Cymru
The National Organisation for FASD provides support to people affected by Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), their families and communities; campaigns to raise public awareness; and promotes relevant policies and practices: National FASD
FASD Awareness is a charitable organisation with a clear vision: “Where all people are aware of the dangers of alcohol use during pregnancy and mothers are supported to stay healthy and strong during pregnancy, and individuals living with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) are identified, recognised, valued and supported”: FASD Awareness
The British Medical Association supports, lobbies and campaigns on the issues impacting the medical profession.
In February 2016 the British Medical published an updated report on Alcohol and Pregnancy: Preventing and Managing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders June 2007 (Updated 2016): BMA Report:
Foster Wales is the Welsh Government umbrella for all local authority fostering services across Wales: Foster Wales
Best Beginnings is a UK charity that works to support all parents and caregivers until a child's first birthday. The charity embraces co-creation, evidence, digital and film to inform and empower parents and caregivers of all backgrounds to look after their mental and physical health and to maximise their children's long-term physical, mental and emotional development.
Best Beginnings is best known for its multi-award-winning Baby Buddy app which is endorsed by the NHS and many Royal Colleges. Baby Buddy provides evidence-based written and film content and self-care tools to help parents build their knowledge and confidence. Baby Buddy is free to use and ad-free. Information is delivered as accessible and personalised bite-sized daily updates: Baby Buddy
We have experience assessing couples who are blind and partially sighted and can offer advice and support on the phone or via email. Some of our adopters and prospective adopters have recommended the following information and links for people who are interested in finding out more about parenting as someone who is blind or partially sighted or caring for a child who is blind or partially sighted.
If you find any further information around this topic that you think could be useful to our parents please forward it to us. We are always looking to expand our resources and love a good recommendation: email@example.com
Blind Parents UK is a group set up by visually impaired mums and dads from all over the UK. To find out more you can visit: Blind Parents UK
Blind Parents UK have collaborated with RNIB to create a video: What is being a blind mum really like?
Faith, cultural observances, religion, heritage, identity, race and culture are component parts of a person’s life and identity and we encourage people to share these with us as they partake in the adoption process.
Home for Good is a UK, faith sensitive charity that campaigns to build awareness of adoption and fostering within the Christian community. Home for Good work within the broad sphere of adoption and fostering and within the Christian community to highlight UK fostering and adoption from a Christian perspective. They also take part in the National Adoption Steering Group (England).
Home for Good coordinates a network of area workers, adopters, foster carers and professionals to provide a network to support for parents, families, foster carers, professionals and those exploring adoption and fostering. They work with local churches and organisations to raise awareness of adoption and fostering within the wider Christian community. Home for Good is encourage churches and organisations to host ‘Adoption Sundays’ to raise awareness and they also host a centrally located, conference once a year for adopters, foster cares
Krish Kandiah, Chair of the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board (England) and the previous founder and CEO of Home for Good is the also the author of ‘Home for Good’ a book which talks about adoption from his own personal experience.
Care for the Family is a UK wide, Christian faith-based charity who provide family and parenting advice and support to families of all faiths or none: Care for the Family
My Adoption Family / My Foster Family is an independent, faith sensitive organisation who work within the broad sphere of adoption and fostering and within the Muslim community to highlight UK fostering and adoption from an Islamic perspective.
Shadim Hussain headed up the Muslim Fostering Project on behalf of Mercy Mission in 2017. The success of this project led Shadim to become the CEO of My Adoption Family / My Foster Family. Shadim is also part of the National Adoption Steering Group (England) and an advisor at the Bradford Foundation Trust.
The organisation provides support and cultural competency for all adopters, foster carers and professionals who are involved in the care of Muslim children and children of Muslim heritage in the UK. They provide training, resources, workshops, webinars and recruitment in both sectors and they have developed an advisory group of Shaikh’s, professionals, foster carers and adopters who form a network to provide tailored support and advice.
They also extend opportunities for the wider Muslim community to engage with fostering and adoption including initiatives such as: ‘Foster Friday’ (in partnership with around two hundred Mosques) and ‘Ramadan Boxes’ which are provided for Muslim and Muslim heritage children living in care across the UK.
Shadim Hussain was involved in a broadcast with Sheikh Dr Sajid Umar and an adopter, Sagheer to discuss UK fostering and adoption from an Islamic perspective: Fostering - A Forgotten Sunnah
Penny Appeal have created a guide for prospective Muslim adopters and foster carers which looks at a number of different topics associated with adoption and fostering from an Islamic perspective: Penny Appeal Guide to Adoption and Fostering – Shaykh Zuber Karim
Penny Appeal have also teamed up with Coventry University and Coram BAAF to produce some research around the topics of adoption and fostering from an Islamic perspective: Coventry University Research Report: Among the last ones to leave? Understanding the journeys of Muslim children in the care system in England – Penny Appeal, Coram BAAF and Coventry University
A six-part series created by Islam Channel, ‘Please can I have a mummy and daddy?’ aims to promote adoption within the Muslim community. The series highlights teaching about adoption being permissible in Islam. The series explores Islamic requirements surrounding adoption including teaching about changing names, inheritance and raḍāʿ / mahram.
Imam Omar Suleiman, Founder and President of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and an Adjunct Professor of Islamic Studies in the Graduate Liberal Studies Program at SMU (Southern Methodist University) discusses fostering and adoption from an Islamic perspective including the virtues, naming, inheritance and raḍāʿ / mahram.
Yaqeen Institute YouTube: Virtues of Adoption and Fostering with Sh Omar Suleiman
Yaqeen Institute YouTube: Fiqh of Adoption and Fostering with Sheikh Omar Suleiman
Yaqeen Institute: www.yaqeeninstitute.org/watch
The National Adoption Recruitment Steering Group (NARSG) created this toolkit (aimed towards the general Muslim community and wider population) to give Islamic perspectives on adoption and practical guidance on adoption from a faith-based perspective: Adoption and Muslims in England Community Toolkit.
British Red Cross have created a free, baby and child first aid app to support people in keeping their little ones safe. The app is designed to support parents, grand-parents, and caregivers to learn first aid skills to prepare for and help in a first aid emergency. The app includes tips on how to prepare for emergencies both at home or while out and about using: simple step-by-step skill guides, videos, animations, interactive quizzes, a toolkit feature to record children's medical needs and signposting to further information.
The app can be downloaded on Android and IOS from a variety of app stores: British Red Cross Baby and Child First Aid App
Sands, the UK’s leading stillbirth and neonatal death charity has created a free, bereavement support app which aims to support bereaved parents and families and professionals working with parents and families find correct and informative information when they need it. The app contains support around: making difficult decisions, giving birth, saying goodbye, and remembering your baby, post-mortems, sexual relationships after loss, future pregnancies, returning to work and how to support children.
The app can be downloaded on Android and IOS from a variety of app stores: Sands Bereavement Support App
We would encourage adults to read these stories before sharing them with their children due to the sensitive nature of the topics discussed. The content may not be suitable for every child and therefore each book should be considered based on the individual child’s emotional capacity, life-experiences and understanding / ability to cope with the sensitive topics continued. Careful planning is often required for adoptive children.
The Story of Tracey Beaker series by children’s author Jacqueline Wilson explores the life of Tracy and a group of children waiting for forever families and foster families. The majority of children now enter foster care instead of residential homes however, the books explore the realities of children’s experiences coming to an understanding of their early life experiences and navigating life in care. The series often explains the complex emotions and resulting behaviours felt by children in care and their desire for connection and family.
The Story of Tracy Beaker is part of a five-part series of books:
We would encourage adults to read / watch the stories before considering sharing with their children due to the sensitive nature of the topics discussed. The content may not be suitable for every child and careful planning may be required. The book is aimed at readers 10+ but, like many other Jacqueline Wilson books the age should always be dependent on a child’s emotional capacity and understanding of the sensitive topics involved.
The book encourages children and their caregivers to embrace the concept of ‘collecting the diamonds’. These ‘diamonds’ are special moments that they have shared together as a family, which they can recall to encourage themselves through any new challenges they may face.
There is an animated version of the book available on YouTube: Collecting the Diamonds
This rhyming story follows the lives of a family as they continue to grow after their first adoption. The story covers being adopted, gaining a sibling through adoption, adopting pets and moving to a new house.
Eurgain, an adoptive mother herself, was inspired to create the story after her son came home from nursery school with a picture of a kangaroo who looked sad. She asked him why he thought the kangaroo looked downcast. He replied “because her pouch was empty”. Eurgain told him that they would find a way to put a smile on the kangaroo’s face and together we came up with the story.
Y Boced Wag (The Empty Pouch) follows the story of Cadi the kangaroo as she goes in search of happiness, and to fill her empty pouch. Cadi sets off on a big adventure and meets lots of other animals along the way who want to help. She falls asleep under a tree, only to awaken the following morning to discover that a baby kangaroo has climbed into her pouch for shelter and warmth, and her wish has been granted.
Eurgain uses the story to explain to her son what being adopted means, to explain to him the gap that he had filled in their family and the happiness that he has brought them. She hopes that by publishing the story it can be used to explain adoptive identify in a simple way to all children.
The book poses questions after each chapter so that children can reflect and explore their thoughts, feelings, and emotions in greater detail, with or without a parent. There is a further section at the end of the book for the child to write about their own story and explore some of the positives and challenges they may face when becoming an older sibling through adoption.
Dustbin Baby written by children’s author Jacqueline Wilson follows the story of April, a fourteen-year-old girl who was abandoned by her mother at birth. The story centres around April’s fourteenth birthday. After an argument with her foster mother, Marion April makes a spur of the moment decision to explore her life-story by revisiting the places and people who have been significant in her life. She starts by visiting her foster carer, which leads her to remembering her adoptive placement (which had a tragic ending) and her subsequent years living in care; including living with multiple foster carers and in residential homes / schools. The final place April explores is the place of her birth, a back alley behind a Pizzeria and this leads her to meet the man who discovered her in the Dustbin fourteen years previously. A dual narrative unfolds throughout the storyline as Marion also explores her own experiences and feelings as a foster parent throughout the day while she tries to find April.
The story is highly poignant for children and adults alike as it unpacks experiences of care, exploring life-story and the challenges and joys of relationships along the way.
We would encourage adults to read / watch the story before considering sharing with their children due to the sensitive nature of the topics discussed. The content may not be suitable for every child and careful planning may be required. The book is aimed at readers 10+ but, like many other Jacqueline Wilson books the age should always be dependent on a child’s emotional capacity and understanding of the sensitive topics involved.
Dustbin Baby is available as a book and the BBC made a film adaptation of the book in 2008 which can be found on BBC iPlayer.
This collection of inspiring biographies highlights the lives of adopted people; it contains a mixture of known, adult personalities and young people from across the UK. The book is a great resource to encourage a child that they can thrive, achieve and ultimately that they are not alone in their experience of being an adopted person.
If you are an Adoption UK member, you can use the promo code they issued you with when signing up to receive a member only discount.
In his debut children’s fiction novel, The Last Firefox, Welsh, adoptive father, Lee tells the story of Charlie, a young boy who is swept up into an unexpected adventure where he discovers his bravery to save the last Firefox.
Lee mixes humour and heartfelt emotion to weave together to create an enchanting story where incidentally the main character is an adopted person living with his dads. The book includes themes of loyalty, love, self-confidence and finding your inner courage.
Recommended reading age: 8+. Please be aware that in the story Charlie and his friends take a life-threatening risk on a railway line - parents/teachers may wish to discuss this with readers.
In this rhyming story, Ben and Belle explore how some families come together with the help of the family fairies (social workers); characters found in Rosemary’s debut book, The Family Fairies.The book includes inclusive illustrations of family life and the assessment, adoption support and legal process’ of adoption.
The Family Puzzle is self-published and available online.
Rosemary has a digital presence on Facebook, Instagram and her website: Rosemary Lucas
We would encourage adults to watch these films and series before sharing them with their children due to the sensitive nature of the topics discussed. The content may not be suitable for every child and therefore each book should be considered based on the individual child’s emotional capacity, life-experiences and understanding / ability to cope with the sensitive topics continued. Careful planning is often required for adoptive children.
Based on the 1981 award winning book by Michelle Magorian and set during the Second World War, ‘Goodnight Mr Tom’ is the story of Willie Beech and Tom Oakley’s adjustment to living together. Willie is evacuated from London during the Blitz. The story highlights the adjustment for adults and children to leaving together and the bonds that can be formed. During the film Willie remembers his time with his mother and the film explores his childhood experiences including separation and neglect along with Tom’s experience of having a new child in his life.
The film can be used to open up discussion around adoption, birth families, trauma, neglect, separation, identity, early life experiences and for conversation about family life together.
When Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moves to San Francisco because of her dads new job Riley’s emotions; Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness are thrown into confusion. Riley’s emotions live in ‘Headquarters’ (inside Riley's mind). Although Joy, Riley's primary emotion, tries to keep things positive, the other emotions conflict on how best to navigate her new environment. The film also explores that the adults around her also have emotions that drive their behaviours and actions. This is a great film for creating discussion around emotions and change.
Mathilda is the story of a girl who suffers emotional and physical neglect and verbal abuse from her birth family. Mathilda meets characters through the story who shape her understanding of the world around her. The story also talks about Miss Honey, Mathilda’s teacher’s relationship with her aunt after the loss of her father. This film can open up discussions around some of the reasons children are placed for adoption, their negative early life experiences and how your past doesn’t have to define your future.
The full series of ‘The Story of Tracy Beaker’ is now available to stream on BBC iPlayer. The series explore the life of a group of children waiting for forever families and foster families. The follow up series ‘Tracy Beaker Returns’ is also available. In this series Tracy becoming an assistant care worker at the home that she grew up in.
The majority of children now enter foster care instead of residential homes however, the program explores the realities of children’s experiences coming to an understanding of their early life experiences and navigating life in care. The series often explains the complex emotions and resulting behaviours felt by children in care and their desire for connection and family.
Dustbin Baby is available as a book and the BBC made a film adaptation of the book in 2008 which can be found on BBC iPlayer.
It’s important that children to have bodily awareness, autonomy, and integrity as they grow and develop as this forms a significant part of their identity and helps to keep them safe.
We appreciate parents will have varying levels of exposure, knowledge, understanding and personal experience of these topics which is why we have added this section to make sure everyone feels ready and prepared for topics that shouldn’t feel taboo.
It’s important that you explore these topics before and during the ongoing process of their development.
We would encourage adults to explore the content of the suggested resources before sharing them with their children due to the sensitive nature of the topics discussed. The content may not be suitable for every child and therefore each book should be considered based on the individual child’s emotional capacity, life-experiences, and understanding / ability to cope with the sensitive topics continued. Careful planning is often required for adoptive children.
Menstruation (periods) is a defining moment in a female or menstruating person’s life.
Menstruation signifies a transition from childhood / teen years into puberty and it’s important that children are aware of these changes and how to navigate them. Menstruation can start from any age but generally it happens between the ages of 8-16 years old
Understanding menstruation and possessing body bodily awareness, autonomy and integrity from childhood will prepare a child for when the time comes for themselves to experience this development or to understand the experience of another person.
The book offers a clear, detailed, visual guide to anatomy, bodily development, and menstruation. The book is written primarily in easy read version / social stories to support a person’s understanding what menstruation looks and feels like and what will happen including how to use a variety of sanitary products.
Author, Robyn Steward is herself an autistic person and Honorary Research Associate at UCL. She was inspired to write the book to create the book to remove stigma, taboo and make discussions about menstruation part of ‘growing up’. The book was peer reviewed by medical professionals prior to publication and received accolade from the medical community.
Children are naturally curious and being curious about our bodies is important especially as we’re constantly growing and developing.
However, for parents and carers (especially those who may have received less education about this topic in their own childhoods) navigating their child’s curiosity can feel daunting. Ultimately, it’s important that as a parent you feel equipped to answer these questions truthfully, in a shame free and developmentally sensitive manner.
This book is aimed at children who are becoming sexually aware but aren’t ready to learn about sexual intercourse and gives parents a comfortable platform for further discussion.
The book names and explains male and female reproductive organs through child sensitive illustration and text. It also provides a basic template for understanding the process of a male and female conceiving and birthing a baby.
Dr. Gail Saltz is an associate professor of Psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital and a practising Psychiatrist. She has added an author’s note at the back of the book which explains your child’s curiosity, how to use the resource and encouragement on how to engage and explore this topic with them.
In this illustrated, inclusive guide can be used to support children learn about their bodies, how babies are created, how babies develop, how birth happens and family diversity. The book includes conversation surrounding sex, fertility treatment, surrogacy, and adoption. There is also a glossary at the end which gives further explanation of terms used in the book.
This illustrated, rhyming book can be used as an introduction to the topic of menstruation (periods). In the book June mum explains what periods are and the process and the purpose of them. The book also encourages children to explore how cultures celebrate and inspires them to think about how they would like to celebrate this milestone for themselves.
This guide has been created to support children prepare for and understand female puberty. The book supports children to explores female experiences of puberty including hormones, breasts and bras, growth, hygiene, body hair, sex organs, menstruation (periods), sex, how babies are created, wellbeing, self-esteem, body image and privacy and consent. The book also briefly explores some male experiences of puberty.
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