In response, Carol was interviewed on the Today Programme (story starts at 1h50), underlining that it is normal for adolescents to want to explore their identity but that for adopted children “social media is increasing the risks of them doing so without support, placing them at risk” and that in the digital age, “this journey of exploration is starting younger”.
Carol called for “pre-emptive support” for adoptive families to “ensure they set off on the right course” and also underlined the importance of doing effective “life story work” to better prepare children and their adoptive parents. Carol also highlighted that the “vast majority of adoptive families are for life” and referred to Coram’s Adoptables, a network of adopted young people across the country who share their views and experiences of adoption and who are calling for more adopters to come forward.
Carol was also interviewed on LBC (at 1hr50) on the same topic by long-time Coram supporter James O’Brien who said that Coram was his “all-time favourite” charity. James talked about his own experience of being adopted at aged one month and credited Coram’s “astonishing work” with helping him to understand modern adoption in which children are mostly adopted from the care system. Carol said that for parents “who haven’t been brought up in the digital-first era” social media will be an area of concern. For adopted teenagers who want to explore their past, “there is a greater risk of that exploration going unsupported and happening at an earlier stage”.
To mitigate problems in the teenage years, Carol said that it was very important to “get it right at the beginning” by “normalising adoption and having open communication with the child”. She added that life story work, which gives adopted children the chance to know about their past and make sense of their early lives, is a “statutory entitlement” and that adopters should insist on support from their agencies. Carol also noted that for life story work in the digital era, there may be a need to “recalibrate the nature of the information shared and when it is shared”. Carol said that Coram has extensive resources and materials available on the CoramBAAF website and through Coram’s Regional Adoption Agency.