The Log Blog

After 6 months of covid restrictions Mel looks at how she can repair the damage caused by lack of face to face groups.

How do we reverse the impact lockdown has had on vulnerable teenagers?

How do you rebuild 6 months of lost confidence?

How do we get back to face-to-face group work, if face-to-face groups have become a risk assessment code red?

For those of you who are working or living with teenagers who are currently struggling with the social impact of covid, the signs and symptoms will be evident. But for everyone else, it can be hard to imagine what teenagers have to worry about. I mean, we got them back to school right?

Unfortunately for some families, therein lies the problem.  For children who found school, education and friendships hard, or for those who thrived being at home full-time, returning to the (new) normal is the real tough bit.

So, what’s the answer to safely practicing group work and at the same time, restoring our young people’s sense of confidence and connection with others? The answer for the Scottish Adoption Teen Group turned out to be right on our door step.

Thanks to Justus, Jamie and their team at the Leith Croft Carbon College, this autumn term our Young Teen Group will be led through their Mine Croft program. Here, we hope to use fresh air and space as our weapon against covid and use therapeutic outdoor group work to re-sow some of the resilience the pandemic took away.

Positivity aside, first sessions with any newly formed group of teens are daunting.  Nerves and anxiety can play out in all kinds of ways, but mostly this looks a bit like reluctance and non-engagement.  Luckily, the Croft team had the kind of relationship building skills that made it impossible for the teens not to get involved. For example, knowing each of our young people’s names from the moment they arrived, to  projecting a welcoming, calm, but importantly fun vibe. In terms of the activities, show me a teenager who isn’t into axes, hatchets and fire…

Fun”,  “good”, “great” and  “freezing” were some of the words used by our teens at the end checkout to describe their first session. Although it may have been cold, the temperature of the group dynamics was uncharacteristically warm, so a win as far as I’m concerned.

After the group, I (a naturally reluctant reflector) thought about how the Croft might have changed some things for me too. As I watched one of our teens balancing on a log, flailing around and shouting, I found myself encouraging them to keep on going and praising their skill. In that moment, I realised, had this taken place in the old world, with the group in the office, the balancing would have been on a chair, or on my desk. I would not have cheered them on, or boosted their confidence. I would not have laughed. My face would have twitched and I would have promptly told them to GET DOWN. The natural space makes you view behaviour differently. What inside is difficult to manage, outside can become positive risk based play.

So the Croft might just be the answers to a lot of our new world problems. Restoring connections, enhancing confidence, building resilience, beating Covid and… my twitchy face!

The answer: #getgroupsoutdoors 

Becoming Us

Does online group work really work?

During deep lockdown, I asked myself this question every single time I logged onto zoom to hold an adoption teen group.

Today, looking at our group, reunited for the first time in person since February, I’m thinking, yes it does!

This evening, we’re celebrating the end of last years group with a trip to Foxlake. Coming together one last time before we welcome our new recruits and saying goodbye to Sarah (appointed 2nd most embarrassing group facilitator) as she moves onto pastures new.

The last time these young people came together in person, in February, the group did not quite feel like a group. It still feels like 6 individual young people, only half aware of their common connection (an adoption experience) and group identity.

But this time it felt different, because today I saw…

  • Good Communication – relaxed chatting and genuine interest in one another.
  • Empathy – helping and supporting each other physically and emotionally get through the challenges of the rope course.
  • Connection – eye contact, nudging, pairing up and shared jokes.
  • Group identity – remembering “old times” together and acknowledging that “our group” will change soon and that there will be both benefits and challenges to that.

Online group work is not without its challenges. It can feel like an emotional vacuum. Screens freeze, people literally disappear in front of your eyes and there’s a very good chance that the kids will know their way around the technology better than you!

But, for this group, it did work. It helped promote all off the above and we continued to build relationships and friendships and then, we became an “us”.

To Sarah who we will miss a lot.

A Study Into Adoption

Chloe opens up about problems she faced in school soon after she was adopted.

My first problems in school started soon after my adoption.  I eagerly told all my classmates that I was adopted. I think because I didn’t want it to come out as the big surprise.

To me, adoption seemed like a fresh start, where people didn’t judge me for my family and the things they’d done.

However, as I had a sibling, this meant that everyone now knew my brothers story. He wasn’t pleased. He wanted to be the normal kid, living the normal life.

Many adopted young people have to move school after their adoption. For me, this was also the case and it was tough. In those first few weeks, I followed the customs of my old school, where we were asked to sit cross-legged and to raise our index finger onto our lips when we wanted to talk. When I did this at my new school, they thought I was weird and old fashioned.

Another school issue I faced was the gaps in my learning. Before my adoption, I didn’t go to school all the time and as a result of that, my math’s was dreadful. Many, “normal” people have trouble with maths or English, but I truly struggle. People have told me I probably missed the bits at the start, so my whole foundation to learn math’s was actually missing.

To try fix it, I had to spent my summers catching up on what I missed, and to this day my addition and subtraction is not up to scratch. Finding something so simple as primary school math’s difficult was a really embarrassing for me and I feel it’s the reason I have some insecurities and it hurts if I’m called a name like “stupid”.

Lastly, I feel the social element of school also affected me. Bullying and care-related name calling has left me feeling very insecure about how people see me and how they think of me.

To manage this, I’ve spent some time speaking to Scottish Adoption about how I think about myself and others.

For any adoptive parents out there, a fairly easy way to help your  child through this school stuff is to listen and listen well. Sometimes we, as adoptees, feel like we aren’t heard.

I also believe that most adopted children will need more support to get through school, so be ready!

Chloe, Aged 17, Scottish Adoption Teen Ambassador

I See Me

“Now, when I feel negative about my past, I remind myself that only I  have the power to change my identity. . I see Me!”

Are you still trying to figure out who you are or have you already found yourself?

If the latter, congratulations! However, for those of you who are still finding yourselves, here are some things from my journey that I would like to share with you.

For me growing up, when adoption was spoken about at  school, if mentioned at all, it often came from playground insults. I heard a lot of “lol, your birth parents didn’t want you” or “Is your life like Tracey Beaker?”

I’m sure for those of you who have been pointed at and insulted, you experienced the same thing as I did when this happened. It affected my confidence and how I viewed myself.

For a long time, I took these insults.  However, within the past year, I decided, no longer! The last time I was insulted I replied with the following “No my life is nothing life Tracey Beaker and why I was adopted is none of your business”.

Back in my birth town, everyone knew me and my family as a problem family that needed to be taken care of. This impacted too on how I saw myself.

Throughout my adoption journey, there have also been a variety of feelings that have troubled me. For example, a sense of abandonment, confidence issues and a lack of control. These feelings have come from both my experiences and from how others perceive adoption as a whole.

With both, the result has meant that we as adoptees often end up feeling that how we feel on the inside, is how others think about us.

The good news is, things are getting better. Growing in age, leaving the toxic environment of school and realising that through things like work, I know have confidence that I can control my own future.

Now, when I feel negative about my past, I remind myself that only I  have the power to change my identity. . I see Me!

Chloe, aged 17, Scottish Adoption Teen Ambassador


“Perhaps, some young people don’t understand what it means to be adopted and be “in the system” until they’re older, but I always knew.”

Perhaps, some young people don’t understand what it means to be adopted and be “in the system” until they’re older, but I always knew.

Adopted at 8 years old, I worked out early what foster care was and accepted that I would move around different homes continuously and that eventually, I would leave the system. I also understood that I was… lucky.

Being in foster care was a fairly confusing and upsetting time for me. It was “decided” that every second Thursday I would be allowed to meet my birth mother. At first, I’d be over excited and sometimes even be physically sick before she arrived. Soon after, it turned to a case of absence. She stop turning up and this fact would make me so ill, that on the day after the contact, I’d again become very ill.

My foster carer soon became my long time carer and from this time, I have a lot of memories. I’m not sure if this is the same for all of you, but for me, I felt that my foster carer and I formed a kind of mother-daughter bond, which as we all know, includes both good and bad times.

Strangely, some of my clearest memories are the weirder ones.  For example, I’m extremely glad to see the back of haggis; my arch nemesis. It was a Halloween night and I was told that I wasn’t allowed to go out trick or treating unless I ate my haggis, which she knew I hated. Maybe it was a test, but I’ll never know.

However, I’ve lots of good memories, which balance the bad. For example, our trips to Edinburgh zoo, Chill Factor in Manchester (sledging/skiing) and my all time favorite, horse riding.

Can I trust you with a secret reader? My biggest memory with horse riding was when my brothers pony handler let go of his pony momentarily and the horse spooked, making him fall halfway off of his pony. It then started to canter off with him hanging there. I know that this seems to be a weird thing to put in a blog but my point is that memories are weird, you can’t choose what sticks.

Foster care definitely is not convenient, or the best thing to go through, but if your lucky, you’ll be able to make good memories and look back at that time with fondness.

Chloe, Aged 17, Scottish Adoption Teen Ambassador

I’m Still Standing!

Arran writes about what ‘Yourself’ means to him.

Individual Identity is important, we can all agree on that. But when I hear someone say, “Just be you” I can’t help but squirm. For one, Yourself is rarely what is best in most situations. Two, I also wonder, if simply being yourself creates the illusion that you have no power to shape or to mould out the (prolonged pause) bad bits?

Being a teenager and learning that such ‘self-crafting’ is possible could be an extremely powerful thing. Hoverer, there is a downside to this, because part of yourself is your past. And your past, well you can’t change that.

For some, the past they carry is heavier than for others. For anyone who is adopted, this burden can be quite large. This can take hold and then shape their identity more than they seem to be able to themselves. More than they want.

In my family, my adoption was talked about in a way that meant I created a toolset of motivation. What happened in my past with my birth parents wasn’t fun, good, or of benefit. But without sounding like a hippy; I firmly believe that life is riddled with rough times, and after adoption, with the right support and mindset, we can all go on to take on the world headfirst.

This is the basis I have built my foundation on as a person, and this is a way for you too to take control of your past, no matter what it is.

I’m thankful I have the resources to do so, because even though it was tough. I’m still standing.

Arran Age 17 Scottish Adoption Teen Ambassador

A Peace of Friendship

Chloe, 17, writes about her experience of Friendship!

When I was asked to write a blog about friendship and how my early life and adoption experiences have affected this, I considered two things: Kindness and Trust.

The definition of kindness is “the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate” and trust “a firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability in someone or something”

We all witness kindness and trust at different points in life, real or imaginary. I don’t know about you, reader, but I know from a personal perspective that it isn’t something I witness every day.

My life has featured a various number of events, that have built on and knocked down my experience of these two concepts. From having been adopted, starting a new primary school (at a young age), high school and most recently, being an apprentice worker at a nursery.

At these points in my life, there have been times where trust, kindness and friendship either came for free or with a price. Through the years, I have gained and lost people from friends to family. Sometimes through things being out with my control and sometimes through myself.

Back in the past, I found it easy to look for the best in everyone, to look for trust in everyone I met, but it’s become far more difficult. It was especially difficult when I arrived in the institution known as High School.

In the movies you see the conflict in teenagers at high school. High school for me was very hard. Whenever I made friends, I couldn’t seem to keep them. I like my space and sometimes socialising is hard for me. However, my friends from school thought I should do what they wanted and that I should live up to their expectations. When my friends found that it suited them, they would tell some of the private things that I told them about my adoption. In other times, they would take advantage of my friendship, by getting me to pay for things, or even choose not to be my friend, due to who my other friends were. All this was made far more difficult due to the foundation of distrust I already held from my birth mothers lies and manipulations.

However, during this period of time, I was invited into my adoption group. These guys understood my distrust in people in general. It was there, when I found the most trustworthy friends, as they understood my pain and my wariness around people. My advice to you, reader, is to find a group of people who understand you and with whom you can be kind without being taken advantage of. I left high school in S5 and it was the best thing I’ve done. I left for an apprenticeship looking after children in a private nursery and here I found it easier to fit in and relax. Maybe I had learned to trust that people could be kind and trustworthy?

When I look back to compare my high school “friends” to my friends/co-workers, I find that I personally act more mature and more myself with my work friends. Earlier in this blog, I said that I could lose myself and by that, I mean that when I lose trust in others, I start to make myself an island. When I look at who I can trust now, I see my family, I see my co-workers, I see the couple of friends that I have and my adoption group. The last thing I say before I go is that trust and kindness is a two-way track. One doesn’t work without the other.

Chloe Age 17 Scottish Adoption Teen Ambassador

Online Preparation Group Blog

Louisa shares her experience of our new online preparation groups!

My husband and I were a bit apprehensive before the Virtual Prep Course. We hadn’t met any of the social workers in person or any of the participants either! We needn’t have worried though. One of the social workers arranged a Zoom meeting with us the week before the prep group, just to introduce herself and let us know what to expect. We were immediately put at ease as she was so easy to talk to. She admitted that they were also anxious about delivering the course in this way as it hadn’t really been done before and, let’s face it, none of us really enjoy seeing ourselves on screen!  (Especially with lockdown hair!)

Before Session 1 we were sent some work on Google Classrooms. This involved a slideshow, some films to watch, materials to read and some short questions to answer. We were anxious about answering the questions but we were reassured that none of the Prep Course is assessed. It’s an opportunity to reflect on issues that you might not have considered before and to explore a range of approaches to parenting children who may have had adverse childhood experiences.

A WhatsApp group was set up for all the participants of the Prep Course so that we could get to know one another before the course started. This was very valuable as we felt like we knew a little about some of the others on the course before meeting them on Zoom. Our group was comprised of several couples and one single adopter. It was led by two social workers and an adoptive parent.

Session 1

We logged onto zoom for our first Prep Session and it was great to put faces to the names in our WhatsApp group. Everyone was really friendly and we started to feel more relaxed about things. During the first session we had group discussions about the materials that we had covered in Google Classrooms. Some of the discussions were as one large group and for other we broke into individual ‘virtual’ rooms so we could work in smaller groups.

Session 1 covered a wide variety of topics including; exploring the Adoption Process, secure and insecure attachment styles, responding to Case Studies of ‘looked after’ children, hearing some personal experiences of adoptive parents and also exploring the range of post-adoption support that is available through Scottish Adoption.

Hearing the stories of other adoptive parents was really beneficial for us. It was great to hear accounts  from ‘real’ people about what the adoption experience was like for them from the beginning through to having their child/children placed with them.

We were also really intrigued to hear about the post adoption support that is available through Scottish Adoption. We hadn’t realised that Scottish Adoption offer so much support to adoptive families, such as social worker input, family days out, group sessions for children of different age groups and theraplay sessions as well. It was very reassuring to know that the post-adoption support would be ongoing if we needed it.

We were both quite tired after Session 1 as it was two hours long, we were meeting new people and also hearing lots of new information all at the same time! It worked really well though and it was great that Scottish Adoption managed to make it all happen. It enabled us to continue to move forward through our adoption journey, albeit with a slightly alternative approach!

Session 2

We were sent our ‘homework’ ahead of Session 2. This week we looked at a continuation of our case study, and watched some films recorded by teenagers who were adopted through Scottish Adoption. They teenagers were called ‘ Adoption Ambassadors’ and it was really helpful to hear how the adoption process was for them and listen to them express their thoughts and feelings about it.

We also listened to some podcasts and discussed different levels of contact with birth family and the benefits and challenges of this contact. It was interesting to hear from the teenagers whether they felt that contact with their birth family had been a positive experience for them. We also explored the topic of Adverse Childhood Experiences and how these early childhood experiences can affect a child who is a placed for adoption.

This week’s Zoom session was very similar to week 1. There were a number of Group discussions as well as time splitting off into smaller groups as well. We felt much more comfortable talking with the group this week as we had really got to know each other during the previous week.  I think the whole group was feeling a lot more relaxed!

Session 3

Before Session 3 we were sent some material on Google Classrooms about ‘theraplay’. It was interesting to learn about play activities that can be used to increase closeness and bonding between the child and caregiver. We discussed child development and the PACE approach when parenting children who have experienced grief and loss. We explored some situations and discussed how we would use PACE [playful, accepting, curious, empathetic] to respond to the needs of the child whilst also regulating our own emotions. We also discussed the next steps in the adoption process and what would happen in terms of proceeding forward to the next stage.

By the end of Session 3 we were actually quite sad that we weren’t going to be having any more Prep Group! Due to the nature of the discussions we had learned a lot about the other people in the group and we felt close to them even though we had never met any of them in person. We were all going through quite similar journeys and it had been such a lovely opportunity to spend time exploring our thoughts and feelings with other people who had been through similar experiences.

The two social workers running the course were amazing. They were so easy to talk to and no question was too silly for them to answer! They made us feel so comfortable. Having an adoptive parent in the group was really helpful as well as she was able to give us her personal experience about the process and things that she found beneficial.

The team from Scottish Adoption were fantastic throughout the entire process. They got in touch between Zoom sessions to see if we had any questions and to check if we were ok. Some of the material can be quite emotional and can remind you of aspects of your own childhood so it was great to have this ongoing support as a safety net between sessions.

We were encouraged to ask questions between sessions, during sessions, at any time, and we were always reassured that no question was too silly to be asked.

By the end of the course we also felt much closer as a couple. We had explored such a wide range of material, talked about memories from our own childhoods and also had many discussions about how we might develop our parenting style together as a couple. This really  helped our relationship to grow and we now feel much more confident going forward to the next stage of the adoption process.

Mini Blogs!

Welcome to the Scottish Adoption Mini Blogs! This week we have two blog writers, lets welcome Dave and Stevan as they talk about the online adoption information evenings!


While we all have to change the way we work and continue to provide a service we are getting some of our team to write a short blog about their week. This week’s blog comes from Dave our Marketing and Communications Officer and Stevan, an adoptive parent and one of our Parent Practitioners and they are talking about our online Adoption Information Evenings.

Dave who organises our events wrote: One of my favourite events to organise and run at Scottish Adoption are the Adoption Information Events which we run throughout the year. These events are held in various towns and cities covering the 60 mile area we work within. These events let us meet people who are interested in finding out about the adoption process and answer any questions they have. As a worker at Scottish Adoption I can share my knowledge of the process that I have gained while working here but I am also an adopter of two children so I can also share some of my personal experiences too, something which I am more than happy to do because I believe in Adoption and will talk to anyone who wants to listen about it.

When we were put into lockdown we had to rethink how we would be able to get out and meet people to share our stories of Adoption, we couldn’t arrange any more events where people meet in the one venue anymore. Here at Scottish Adoption we always try and be creative in the way we deliver our services and have been using technology in the work we do for quite a while now so it was a simple step to move to hosting our Adoption Information Events online.

We arranged to host our first online Adoption Information Evening for the end of April. We were nervous about how people would react to signing up for an online information evening, would people want us in their homes at the early stage in the process? There was no need to worry. The same day that we announced our event we had a flurry of people signing up and this continued at pace over the next few days. The lockdown had not put people off from finding out about the adoption process and this was fantastic news. In fact so many people had signed up to the first event that we decided that to meet demand we should host another event the same week!

When it came to the first event we were nervous, will the technology work, will people still chat and ask questions, will people actually sign in to chat to us? The technology worked perfectly, people did sign in to hear from us and people still chatted. Phew what a relief. These evenings proved that we do not need to all be in the same room to share our stories, we were just as passionate about adoption talking from our own homes as we would have been in a hall somewhere around the country.  People still laughed, aww’d  and ahh’d and got goosebumps when Stevan shared his story.

In terms of running smoothly the events were a great success and we were happy with how the first one went and now looked forward to the second one that week. The second event that week had something that we did not expect. Two couples tuned in from Aberdeen! Unfortunately Aberdeen is out with the area we work in and after explaining this to the couples we still offered them the chance to stay and listen to us, which they did. I loved this even more, we were reaching people from further afield and sharing our experiences with more people. At the end of the session we signposted the two Aberdeen couples to another adoption agency who work in Aberdeen as well as their local authorities. They left praising the evening and hopefully they went on to contact agencies closer to home.

These online adoption information events reached more people than would have travelled to an event and we reached people from across Scotland. We may not have been able to work with them all but it was great being able to share information about the process, the support we offer and our personal experiences with each and every one of them. Usually when I travel home from these events I reflect on how meeting people at the start of their own adoption journey is the favourite part of my job, when I signed off and closed the laptop I still had the same feeling, the way we deliver these information events may have changed but the message is still the same and I still feel the same way after meeting people at the start of their own adoption journey!

Stevan who is one of our Parent Practitioners shared his Adoption Journey with everyone at these events and he wrote:

I have done numerous talks on our journey to becoming parents to our two beautiful boys whether it was at information evenings, preparation groups and even a dog walk. I genuinely thought that a pandemic of all things would put a halt to the adoption process for many but amazingly the teams at Scottish Adoption are still hard at work and asked me to be part of their very first online information evening. The events  were very well organised and very well attended with many prospective adopters logging in.

I was very surprised by the number of people logging on to learn more about the adoption process because of the way it was being hosted, however it felt natural and in no way different to meeting everyone in person.

I shared my story, as I have many times, and even one of my boys popped in to wave a quick hello. I was a bit nervous doing something so different but hopefully it came across that we are all here to support in any way we can even, if that means from our living rooms at the moment!

I am proud to be a part of the Scottish Adoption family, even more so at the moment due to the fact that even during this manic time, they are looking at new ways to continue to get out there and bring families together. I definitely see this as a new way to keep the service growing and make it easier for prospective adopters to get to know the agency, and I shall be here to support in any way I can.


Giles is one of our Practice Managers in the After Adoption Team and he writes the latest in our series of Mini Blogs.

Where are we up to, week 5, 6, 7? However far it is, things feel a little different now than at the beginning. To start with, we scrambled to change, working out how we were going to do this. How do we keep the after adoption team functioning remotely, with all staff scattered in their homes, restricted by lockdown. The response of the team was extraordinary; it was creative, thoughtful, energetic and very kind.  Everyone wanted to pull together, help each other and most importantly help our families, children, teenagers and adults.

Now, we need to refocus our efforts. Not knowing the future is challenging, second guessing how long we will work like this is a common conversation.  We speak with families about resilience and this is also what we are having to display as a team, making sure we offer as much contact and connection as we can. Where our work is usually face to face, we are trying to connect through what at first seemed like the cold, impersonal displays of our screens. But to a large degree, this is working, people are proving incredibly adaptable. Yet there is also the bit that is missing, there is no complete substitute for face to face connection.

And as a team we all have our personal lives to balance with work. Covid 19 is not just the news any more – for many of us, personal stories and tragedies are emerging.  For me, separation and not knowing can feel agonising. The unspoken acknowledgment with my parents that none of us know when we’ll see each other again is always there. I’ m guessing this is the same for most of us and all the people we work with.

But, I’ve never noticed a spring like this one, really noticed. Watching the weather changing, the birds nesting, trees blossoming, nature carrying on as normal, feels very reassuring.  I’m cooking like never before (and putting on weight to prove it!) I have caught up virtually with way more people than I would do otherwise (not another zoom quiz!) and so I’m trying to take what’s on offer as a counter balance to everything else.

Whether it’s with colleagues or adopted families, young adults or people in my personal life, the one thing I have appreciated most is each other. Given this challenge, my experience has been to witness the best aspects of human nature and that leaves me very optimistic for the futures we share together.

As for the after adoption team, we will continue to support our families and each other the best way we know how!


This week we have a guest blog from an adoptive teen from St Andrew’s Children’s Society who attends our Teen Group.

A Real Life Life-Story (Work)

Moving through the care system and onto adoption isn’t like the movies. In the movies, adoption life stories show everyone prancing around and, in the end, they finish with happy and perfect lives. I wish my life was like that, but real adoption life-stories are more complicated, confusing and filled with so many emotions.

Before I was adopted, I had been in and out of care since I was 7. I was later adopted age 9 and moved from England to Scotland. Growing up having known your birth parents and then being taken miles away with people you don’t know is such a strange feeling. On top of that, still having memories of your birth family, especially in my case my Dad, was very hard.

Over time, my memories of my life before my adoption kind of faded, though the feeling of having a connection with my birth dad has remained. I left my birth mum quite young, as she couldn’t manage, so I don’t really remember her.

When I was 14 years old, I started doing life story work with my Social Worker Mike. At first, this felt like yet another stranger that I was expected to trust. As I got to know him, I started to feel like I could trust him. I think what helped me build trust with Mike is what he did to earn it. We would go on walks and have a chat about how I was managing at school and at home. We also spoke about how I was managing physically as well as mentally.

Before the life story work, I would always ask my adopted parents questions that they didn’t necessarily know all the answers to. I would ask them things like, “Are my birth family alright?”, “Where’s my dad?”, “Can I have contact with my family?”, “Why weren’t my family given more chances to keep me?”.

During the life story work, I would sometimes get really angry at home and at school – mainly at the people I was close with. I did, and still do, find some things difficult to accept. However, this changed when I did eventually allowed myself to get angry with what I had been through, rather than those around me.

If you’re thinking about starting life story work, here are some things I think you should think about:

  1. Are you mentally ready? You really need to prepare yourself for the things that you could find out. The good and the bad.
  2. You should know that the Social Workers will work really hard to find out as much information as they can to answer your questions, but sometimes, your questions may not be answered and may never be answered.

During the actual work I came to the realisation that my behaviour at home and school was partly because of the things that I have been through. It helped me to see that I used to want to fix my Dad and I wondered that if I found him, maybe I could still fix him.Doing the work helped me see that some parents can’t be fixed, no matter how much they love you. However, the biggest home truth I learned, was finally accepting that what I went through was not my fault. Not at all. Not ever.

If you or any other adopted teenager you know might be struggling right now, tell them about Teen Talk. Teen Talk is free online support service where adopted teens help other adopted teens make sense of their thoughts, feelings and worries, visit for more information.


This week is the turn of our second Quran-teen-Ambassador, Tegan.

What has isolation taught me?

Well, not to boast, but I think I have mastered some new skills. For one, I can now watch YouTube from a 180 degree angle, whilst…in downward dog! But, apart from filling my days with fun, mostly pointless activities, isolation has also taken me on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, where I’ve come to some important realisations about myself.

In one day alone, I have felt overwhelming happiness, anxiety, anger, gratitude and loneliness. I have found it hard to get motivated, easy to eat chocolate and easier still to slump on the sofa and say ‘this is impossible‘.

Yet, I have also had days like today, writing this, in the sunshine, whilst wearing an outfit I love (no PJ`s in sight BTW!). So when I got stuck writing this blog, I turned to my friends. Pixelated as they may have been, they said, “come on, you can do this!” and, even better, through their cheesy smiles and fist pumps, they told me two very important things:

No. 1: I was not alone

No. 2: I could do this

As someone who is adopted, feeling isolated is not a new experience. Throughout my life, I have had times where I have felt very alone. I have felt left out of friendship groups, classrooms and even family gatherings. What someone else would think of as a simple question, like “how much did you weigh when you were born?” or “what colour are your dad’s eyes?” has had the ability to set me off into a spiral of disconnection, detachment and rejection of the people around me.

So many times, a voice in my head has perpetuated my isolation by telling me “you are not like everyone else here” and “you don’t belong”. This has often been paired with a deep seated feeling that if they actually cared or understood me, they would know not to ask such questions in the first place.

Before I knew it, the voices would multiply and overwhelm me, until I would be walking away from my friends as they laughed over baby photos, I would be refusing to help in school group-work or make rash decisions not to speak to a certain relative again because of what they just said. In a few seconds, I can convince myself that I am totally alone, even when I am surrounded by people who love and care about me. So you could say, I am a self-isolation expert!

However, like earlier today, my experiences have taught me that these feelings do pass and that by letting people in, even when I feel the loneliest and least understood, my friends and family will always be there for me. Even when it comes to things they don’t understand, they won’t hesitate to run after me when I leave, give me a hug or even just a smile.

Whether it`s zoom calling your grandparents, having film nights with family or baking your favourite cake with you siblings, making sure we stay in touch with the people we love is the best thing we can do right now. I hope you are all healthy and happy, and remember, ending a worldwide pandemic is tough, but together, we are tougher!

So yes, coronavirus might be making connecting to others harder, but for every one of us who has felt lonely before, we can look at isolation and think:  You know what, we have beaten this before, we got this!

If you or any other adopted teenager you know might be struggling right now, tell them about Teen Talk. Teen Talk is free online support service where adopted teens help other adopted teens make sense of their thoughts, feelings and worries, visit for more information.


The third instalment of our mini blogs series comes from Jette who is the Specialist Occupational Therapist at Scottish Adoption.

Indeed it is a time of change and uncertainty which is unsettling and challenging not least on the IT front! However it is also a chance to reflect on our practice and learn new ways of providing therapeutic support. As a therapist I will never underestimate the power of direct human contact as we are naturally social creatures, but there are ways we can share and learn together during this pandemic and we’ll do our best at Scottish Adoption to support families through this time.

As an Occupational Therapist the value and meaning of our daily activities are central to our practice, but it becomes even more important now where we are deprived of some of them. The importance of maintaining structure and routine during self isolation is crucial not least for children. Sensory deprivation due to lack of exercise, social contact, play, learning etc may manifest itself in different ways such as over activity or feeling lethargic. Therefore, put on your sensory lenses and with your child(ren) look at what they like/enjoy:

  • Sound: music, nature sounds
  • Vision: pictures, colours
  • Smell: lotion, oils, nature
  • Taste: soft/crunchy, sweet/sour food and drinks
  • Touch: materials, light/deep pressure
  • Vestibular (movement): swinging, rocking, up side down
  • Proprioception (body awareness): pushing, pulling, heavy work activities

Try to incorporate their sensory preferences in to their day as it will improve their self regulation. It goes for parents too!

Good luck with creating ‘sensory diets’ and don’t hesitate to contact us at Scottish Adoption if you need any help with this.


Our next blog comes from one of our Quaran-Teen Ambassadors. During the coronavirus outbreak, many of us adopted teens might be feeling worried about our birth families and stressing about if they are okay. Just the other day, I received a message from my birth mother. At first I was happy, as it conveyed sentiments towards my well-being. This made me feel happy, but then I remembered what happened last time we had contact and my feelings started to change.

Around 2 years ago, I found my birth mother on social media and at first, I believed it was a glorious victory to have found her by myself. However this was very short lived, as it wasn’t long before things started to go sour. After a couple of days, I found she didn’t have the ability to manage our relationship. Things got even worse when she began blackmailing me into moving close to her and taking care of her. I was 15 years old and about to sit my exams. None of this was remotely possible.

When this happened two years ago, I used the supports I had around me. I spoke to the staff at Scottish Adoption and I spoke to the other teens at the Scottish Adoption Teen Group. With this support, I decided to end the contact with my birth-mother to protect my self.

If any of you readers have either been in this situation or a similar one; my advice to you would be to do as I did, which is tell someone. Telling someone is better than keeping inside of you, because when you don’t tell someone how you’re feeling, it grows and grows.

If you or any other adopted teenager you know might be struggling right now, tell them about Teen Talk. Teen Talk is free online support service where adopted teens help other adopted teens make sense of their thoughts, feelings and worries, share this link with them


First up we have Mel our Children’s Worker from the After Adoption Team.

The office is closed, life feels very different, but its Wednesday, so the After Adoption Team at Scottish Adoption are together at their usual time for the weekly staff meeting. However, this week, we’re beaming-in for our first virtual video meet up. As I waited for the meeting to begin, I reflected on my own week. It’s been tough. I’ve felt a bit wobbly and am worried about what all of this situation and its current restrictions would mean for my ability to practice. That said, as each of the team’s familiar yet pixelated faces appeared and we shared, laughed and supported one another, I felt re-assured, more relaxed and ready to get back to working in supporting our families. Plans have been made to ensure that our Social Workers will continue to offer regular individual video/voice calls and that our therapists are creating innovative ways to offer Music, Art and Occupational Therapy. So basically: same, same; but different.

This week I experienced first hand that staying connected, no matter what form it takes, is incredibly important. Scottish Adoption is a community that supports one another and we want to continue to support you the same we always have. If you need any support for you or your family over this difficult time, for any reason, please get in touch. We’re in this together.

Mini Blog number 2 will from our Teen Ambassadors The ISOL8EENS