- Family and Parenting
Couples Who Adopt: A Guide to Helping Adoptive Couples aims to assist professionals in identifying the concerns and challenges faced by couples who are in the process of adopting or have adopted children and suggest ways of identifying ways to help and support these families .
The guide draws on 70 years’ worth of experience that Tavistock Relationships has developed in working with couples, combined with the direct knowledge gained from a year-long project providing relationship support to adoptive parents, as part of a programme funded by the Department for Education.
The innovative programme of support moved the emphasis beyond a primary focus on mothers and parenting to encompass the couple’s relationship in order to improve outcomes for adoptive children. Couples were provided with therapeutic support over a period of between 16 and 20 weeks, with a choice of group or couple sessions. The goal of the programme was to strengthen the couple’s bond and co-parenting, allowing them to concentrate on building or growing their family in a happy and harmonious way. Adoptive parents came to the service because of the unique stresses adopting children can place on relationshipsThe results of the programme showed that parents truly appreciated having a safe space to communicate and this resulted in better relationships and improvements in wellbeing both for children and adults. Some adoption placements that were on the brink of breakdown were salvaged. Amongst the overwhelmingly positive comments, one set of parents suggested that the service had been so helpful it should be available for all parents who adopt. The guide outlines some of the learning about adoptive couples and their relationships and how to support them, and will be of interest to social workers, health visitors, Local Authority children’s teams, adoption agencies and anyone working with adoptive parents.