Loving and living with traumatised children cover

Loving and living with traumatised children


What are the effects on adopters of living with a traumatised child? This is the story of a group of adoptive parents who came together for mutual support based on a form of “action research” known as “co-operative enquiry”. It describes their journey from setting up the enquiry through the process of exploring the effects of their children’s trauma on themselves, to their development into a cohesive support group and the sense of empowerment this brought to their lives.

Written with courage, honesty and humour, this is a book to inspire and encourage any adoptive parents who are struggling to take control of their situation and seek support for themselves and the traumatised children in their care. It will also provide thought provoking insights for social work practitioners in this field.

Who is this book for?

Adoptive parents and foster carers who are looking after traumatised children, and social work practitioners in the adoption, fostering and child care fields.

What you will find in this book

‘It was easy to recount our struggles to get help for our children and to tell stories of their escapades. It was much more difficult to talk personally about what happens to us when we share our lives with a child who had suffered significant harm before joining our family…Our story started when we individually found help for our child through music therapy that focused on attachment issues and included us in the process of healing.’

‘The enquiry gave impetus to the need to look after ourselves and our relationships with partners and other family members, so that we could be in the best place to help our children. There was also a recognition that life really does go on, and it was interesting for us all to see the various routes that each family took to reach the place they are in today. There is clearly no “one size fits all” solution. Each solution seems to be as unique as the children we adopted. In every case, the parents are still totally committed to the children.’


Megan Hirst is a collective pseudonym chosen by the group of participants.



The primary value of this excellent book lies in the telling of stories which may, in other circumstances, be too hard to tell. Adopters, permanent carers and foster parents of troubled children are likely to find this book validating of their experiences and feelings.

Cas O’Neill, Children Australia

As an adoptive parent whose family has recently broken down in extreme crisis, I have just read the book ‘Loving and Living with Traumatised Children’ which has spoken to me in a way that has illuminated the past fourteen years in a manner that I never could have envisaged. Almost every aspect of our own trauma as adoptive parents is described in this wonderful book.

Adoptive parent

The book sets out to illustrate the effects on nine adopters of living with traumatised children. The stories they tell will be very familiar to anyone who is parenting a child with attachment disorder and is a reassuring read for anyone to find out ‘it is not only them’. The group looked at their experiences in depth and reflected on them with the aim of translating them into positive action.

Karam Radwan, Adoption UK