After Adoption

Birth Ties: Supporting birth parents

After Adoption has 18 years experience of supporting birth parents who have experienced the most traumatic loss – that of their children to adoption. We work with birth parents of all ages and backgrounds, whether they have recently lost, or are in the process of losing their children to adoption through the intervention of social services around issues such as neglect or abuse, or if their children were ‘adopted out’ decades ago because of the stigma of being unmarried parents.

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    Category

  • Community Support & DevelopmentCommunity Support & Development
  • Health/WellbeingHealth/Wellbeing
  • Human Rights/AdvocacyHuman Rights/Advocacy

    Helping

  • Older PeopleOlder People
  • Women & GirlsWomen & Girls
  • OtherOther

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“You helped heal my soul” Current birth parents may be confused and hurt and want to talk to someone who is independent of social services. We advise them about what is happening and explain how the process works, what will happen next and what it will mean for them and their child. Many birth parents who we help come from backgrounds of poverty and exclusion and have substance addictions, mental health problems or have experienced abuse. We aim to help them look at the circumstances that led to the removal of their children, take responsibility for their actions and control of their lives. This work can also be preventative in nature – by dealing with their issues and past behaviour, it reduces the need many birth mothers experience, which is to try to replace their lost child with another. Expert support can therefore reduce the cycle of loss as well as the number of further children being taken into care. Many older birth parents have been grieving for decades over their ‘lost’ children. Such was the taboo of having a child when unmarried that many have kept this secret for decades, living with the enduring pain of their loss, and feelings of guilt and regret. After Adoption offers support to all birth parents through individual counselling sessions, advice and group work. We also offer therapeutic services, searching facilities, sharing records and intermediary work around contact and reunions. Unfortunately the level and amount of funding for this work varies greatly across local authority areas despite the high levels of need, and often birth parents are required to meet the costs themselves, which for some is prohibitive. Birth parents are an often overlooked group in adoption but their need for support can be considerable. They are often also a socially marginalized group, which means that it can be difficult to attract the necessary funding to underpin our work with them. We are seeking a consistent funding stream for this work to ensure its viability into the future, and to ensure that all birth parents from all backgrounds have equal access to the support they so need. Please see our Inside Outside project details for our work with birth mothers in prison and on release.

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