Parenting a traumatised child – Moira’s* story

Adoption Central England (ACE) is the regional adoption agency for Coventry, Warwickshire, Solihull and Worcestershire local authorities. ACE currently has a wide range of children who need a loving permanent, adoptive home.

Moira* and her partner adopted their daughter as a toddler. Now, with the help of social workers, specialist training and funding for therapy, they are helping her to overcome the challenges of her early life. Moira* says:

“We wouldn’t have our lives any other way. Our gorgeous child is articulate, kind, generous and very loving.

When we go out we are just a normal family having fun, going on day trips to Legoland and National Trust properties, but it hasn’t always been like this.

Our gorgeous child has also been destructive, violent, scared, full of shame and so very angry. She has swung wildly between persecutor and victim so we are not sure where we stand. She has been defiant to requests and support, rendering us helpless to feel what she has felt. She has sought control and to keep herself safe, unable to rely on adults. She has had  terrible tantrums and is certainly not the average child. But then let’s be real, she hasn’t had the start in life of an average child, has she?

We have stood together, united as a couple and supported by our social workers. We’ve had quite a few but they’ve all been lovely. Different personalities and ways of working underpinned by the same approach:

  • Think toddler
  • Keep it low key and take things slowly
  • Reduce anxiety and connect with your child

We worked with our social worker and over time developed our therapeutic parenting style. We’ve been supported with effective training courses such as attachment behaviours and non-violent resistance. We are always trying to understand the challenges our gorgeous child faces and how best to help her.

Our social worker has applied for two rounds of funding from the adoption support fund. The first was for play therapy and the second for sensory reprocessing for secure attachment therapy.

Bit by bit we’ve built it up and worked on our relationship with our gorgeous child. We are now able to stay overnight with friends and go on day trips together without a series of meltdowns. When we recognise the signs, we intervene and help her to regulate herself and prevent the situation from escalating. She trusts and responds well to us.

We used to think we were patient people. When we became parents we realised we weren’t and we’ve had to learn patience by the bucket load! As time has gone by we’ve relaxed into our family and routine. Slowly, together, we’re unlocking this beautiful child so she can shine.”

If you are interested in adoption please visit the ACE website: or call the ACE Hub on 0300 369 0556 for more information. ACE is particularly seeking adopters for sibling groups, babies to 10 year olds, children with a level of disability and those of minority ethnic backgrounds.