A Coherent Framework for Thinking

FAB Parents offers a road map and resources for adoptive and foster parents and the professionals who touch their lives.

Want honest answers to tough questions?

Want realistic solutions?

Deep understanding is the key to successful and rewarding parenting. FAB Parents offers a robust, proven framework which allows you to have a more fulfilling parenting experience and honours the child’s life experiences.

“This is what I wished I’d had during every stage of my 25+ year parenting journey”

Helen Oakwater
Founder FAB Parents


This website, the articles, training, tools, concepts, ideas, philosophy and mentoring are what Helen Oakwater wished she'd had during all the different stages of her adoption journey; from pre-placement assessment through to her kids leaving home.

Even though it is primarily for foster and adoptive parents whose children experienced maltreatment and neglect in infancy: the content will be useful for anyone who touches the life of a traumatised child; including Teachers, Social Workers, Health Visitors, Decision Makers, Medics, Family Members, The Media, Judges and adults who experienced abuse, neglect or maltreatment during their own childhood.

You want and need to know that the material on this website is credible, effective and based on sound theory, research and practice. You should know the qualifications and track record of contributors. These are listed for the individual contributors. (Unless otherwise stated it is Helen Oakwater).

Understanding is the key. By exploring this website you will:

  • Learn more about the impact of maltreatment and neglect on children.
  • Find tools to comprehend, recognise and melta trauma.
  • Discover ways to manage your own state and thinking.
  • Re-examine your motivation, expectations and beliefs.
  • Acquire fresh parenting strategies and tactics
  • Realise that even though there is no ‘single answer’; the framework for thinking offered by FAB Parents will leave you feeling empowered, encouraged and help you create a unique route map for parenting your child from where you are now to adulthood and beyond.



  1. Every child should be born to adults who have the capacity to nurture, support and consciously parent that child from birth until adulthood and all the stages in between.
  2. All  parents need support, understanding and education so their skills and knowledge about parenting and child development grows. This allows them to have a positive, fulfilling parenting experience and the child to reach their maximum potential, healthily and happily.
  3. Parenting is possibly the greatest leadership challenge an adult faces; so appropriate skills, tools, manuals and road maps are essential to smooth out that testing journey.
  4. Whilst every child is unique, there are common characteristics and developmental stages which are useful for parents to understand.
  5. Children have a right to be raised in a positive environment which allows them, throughout their childhood, to thrive on every level and mature into secure, confident, happy adults.


  1. Sadly, for a variety of reasons, a few adults do not have this capacity and when evidenced, the child should be removed promptly and appropriately.
  2. Because children need stability and consistency such children should be placed with Permanent Parents (foster or adoptive) without delay.
  3. Children removed from their birth families, by the courts, will have experienced neglect/maltreatment /trauma and need therapeutic re-parenting to undo the damage and fill in the gaps.
  4. Permanent Parents need a deep understanding of child development, the legacy of childhood neglect and maltreatment plus tools and appropriate parenting skills to heal trauma.
  5. Permanent Parents (foster adoptive, special guardians, etc) will require continuous support, education, training, learning etc from placement until early adulthood and sometimes beyond.


  1. Some women have a succession of birth children removed by the State and subsequently adopted or fostered. Many of these women are in very difficult circumstances with minimal support, often with chaotic lifestyles which frequently include drugs and/or alcohol.
  2. Many of these women had traumatic childhoods themselves and lack the skills or understanding to care for themselves. A child adds to their difficulties.
  3. Women whose children were removed and either adopted or fostered should be robustly supported and helped to get their lives on track. They are grieving and their unresolved pain should be acknowledged.
  4. There are a number of successful initiatives, throughout the UK and beyond, which offer such women support, education, counselling, skills training and job opportunities enabling them to turn their lives around, with the proviso they do not get pregnant and take (reversible) contraception.
  5. Such interventions are cost-effective (emotionally and financially) and should be made available more widely.


by Helen Oakwater

Facebook threat to adopted children” was the front headline in The Times, five days after Bubble Wrapped Children was published in January 2012 and featured significantly in the article written by social affairs correspondent, Rosie Bennett. The story was picked up by other media outlets in the UK and Australia. Helen was interviewed by the national TV and radio including BBC, ITV, Sky, newspapers and Australian ABC News.

Numerous reasons cause adopted teens to reconnect with their birth family via Facebook, creating new challenges for adoption today and tomorrow.

Written in an accessible conversational style incorporating theory, anecdotes, diagrams, models, neuroscience and case studies, Helen maps out the connection between trauma, child development, empathy, grief, contact, trust, truth-telling and parenting styles.

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by Helen Oakwater

“Want to adopt, foster, be a special guardian or simply parent your own child who has experienced neglect, abuse, maltreatment, trauma or domestic violence? How to prepare yourself and continue to grow for decades. Develop skills, understanding and tools for transformation for yourself and the child. You’ll have Helen beside you offering theories, models, route maps and tool kits whilst being an honest mentor and kick ass friend.” (This is a more accurate title, but sadly too long for the cover)

Who is it for?

  • Existing adopters, foster carers and SGO’s
  • Prospective adopters, foster carers and SGO’s
  • Social workers
  • Decision makers including local and national politicians
  • Family and friends of the above
  • Yes, it sounds like ‘everyone’ … and yes, ‘everyone’ would benefit from reading it

Why read it?

  • You will learn new models, skills and ways of thinking
  • It has a coaching/mentoring feel, tools for self-exploration and fresh ways of thinking
  • It sits alongside Bubble Wrapped Children. There is no duplication of material
  • There is an entire chapter on self-regulation and applying the polyvagal theory to living with traumatised children. It’s pioneering stuff
  • It’s what Helen wished she’d known before and during her 25+ years of adoptive parenting

If you are feeling jaded, Want to Adopt will help you reconnect to your original motivation and give you some new skills and a few laughs.