Adoption undone cover

Adoption undone


Not every relationship is built to last. But when adopters are totally committed to offering a child a permanent home, a severance of relationships between the adopted child and their adoptive parents is particularly harrowing.

Published as part of the Our Story series, this is the true story of an adoption and an adoption breakdown, bravely told by the adoptive mother. From the final court hearing, when Lucy returned to local authority care, Karen Carr looks back over the four years that Lucy was with them and, without apportioning blame, describes what went wrong and why. She doesn’t spare herself, her family or the social workers, and she paints a touching picture of Lucy at the centre of events, which she triggers but cannot understand. However, this is not only a tale of loss and regret but also of courage, generosity and self-discovery.

Who is this book for?

Anyone who is interested in the adoption experience and how this can affect parents and children.

What you will find in this book

‘Valerie told us that a child had been identified who matched our hopes, a little girl aged around four. Valerie wanted us to meet the little girl’s social worker. We were both excited and nervous in equal measure by the news that we might have a second daughter and a sister for Hannah.

We accepted what the social workers told us. However, perhaps a deeper analysis of Lucy’s behaviour and position in her previous homes would have indicated that this family composition was far from ideal and in fact eroded her self-esteem; Lucy was used to competing for attention and feeling less valued or worthy than the person she was competing with…

Lucy was nearly four years of age when she came to live with us, and she had not been special for anyone so far. Without doubt any child would be emotionally damaged in these circumstances. Trying to get Lucy to understand that it was OK for Hannah to have hugs and kisses was to be a massive hurdle for us as a family; Lucy took any show of affection towards others, especially Hannah, as a rejection of herself.’


Karen Carr is a Senior Social Worker in a Children in Need team in the north west of England.




What a refreshing change for a realistic and honest portrayal of a very common - but often ignored situation. This book highlights the very real and practical issues raised once an adoption/fostering place has been agreed. Well done Karen Carr, can't wait to see if there is a follow up and I congratulate you on your bravery in a society that doesn't want to face the reality of a very difficult situation!

Eyes Wide Open, five stars