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Post Adoption Workshops: Young People


The Different Parts of Me

A Barnardos Post Adoption Service workshop for young adopted teenagers (13-15 Years old)

Content of workshop

The purpose of this workshop is to bring young teens together in a safe, fun and supportive setting to look at how adoption fits in to all the other parts of themselves. Video, art and play will be used to keep the participants relaxed and engaged.

Teenage years are an interesting time for young people and for their parents and they can be additionally interesting and sometimes challenging for adopted young people. The job of the teenager is to work towards their own identity- and that can be hard to do when you don’t know too much about your beginnings. Many parents are concerned that their young teens find it hard to express themselves about what adoption means to them. It can be very helpful for young people to understand that others can have the same feelings as they do and this workshop can be a springboard for more discussion with parents.

We will be aiming to
  • Boost self-esteem by understanding how many families are made through adoption
  • Explore some interesting facts about the teenagers’ birth countries-including Ireland
  • Give opportunities to name some common feelings that many young people might have about adoption
  • Look at some of the questions they might have about themselves
  • Give ideas for managing questions others might ask the young person about adoption
  • Assist with identity building by mapping out their “parts”- their interests, talents and help them explore which of these might have come from birth family and which from forever family.

Let’s think about Adoption

A Barnardos interactive workshop for adopted children (8-11 years old)

Many parents say that their children can be reluctant to talk about adoption. We have found that a safe group setting with other adopted children can help open up discussions that are carried on later with parents.

This two-three hour workshop is open to groups of no more than ten adopted children aged between 8-11 years old. Parents can take part in some of the workshop together with the children.

It aims to be a fun, interesting and supportive experience for the children and parents attending.

The core purpose is to give adopted children an opportunity to consider how they might confidently answer questions they might be asked about adoption or ethnicity outside the home.

The workshop also assists children in appreciating all they know about adoption and to explore gently some feelings they might have. They are helped to think about the words children might use in talking about being adopted. We also look with the child and parent together, at the ways they are like each other and characteristics the child might have inherited from a birth parent. The purpose of this is to assist the child in openly thinking about all the different aspects of themselves and strengthening self-esteem. We draw from the US “Wise Up” programme for some of the content of the workshop and use Theraplay games to keep the children engaged and relaxed. An explanatory handout is available for parents attending.

“Let’s Think About Adoption” is run several times through the year.

Cool at School

Helping children to manage school worries

Barnardos Post Adoption Service – four part workshop for adopted children (aged 11-13 years)

School anxiety can be very stressful for parents and children alike. This four-part creative workshop will focus on different aspects of school anxiety, giving children the tools and coping skills to manage their anxiety in and around the school environment. We include interactive games that promote social engagement and exchange. Each child/teen is given the opportunity to share their stories and experiences, to be heard and to listen to others. We use creative materials to explore complex feelings and emotions attached to school anxiety. We also include sensory stimulation, promoting relaxation, mindfulness and self-awareness. At the end of the 4 weeks each child/teen will walk away with their own personal toolkit of coping strategies and internal resources to empower them.

The ‘Cool at School’ programme aims to be a fun, interesting and supportive experience for children and to help them:

  • Discuss the challenges and positives for them in school
  • Improve their social skills
  • Learn new coping strategies
  • Strengthen self-esteem and explore identity
  • Prepare for challenges ahead
Format of the workshops:

The same group of children attend four 1.5 hour workshops spaced out over a few weeks. Parents join the group for the final 15mins of each session to receive an overview and an information pack giving an insight into what has been covered. Parents are most welcome to be present at the start of each session to make sure the child is happy and settled. Some children may need the parent’s presence for a longer period.

Facilitated by:

The workshops are facilitated by Barnardos Post Adoption Children team. Our team are trained in a variety of disciplines such as psychotherapy, play therapy, art therapy and social work and have specific training and experience in the specific needs of adopted children and teenagers.


For the children/teens to gain a deeper understanding of where their anxiety is coming from and learn some tools that should help. For them to learn that they are the experts in how it feels to be in school- the fun bits and the hard bits!


€100 per child including art materials. Each programme is limited to 8 children.

Download information Flyer

Please contact us for further information.

Dublin: (01)8134100 | Cork: (021)2038005 | Galway (091) 454489

Email:  [email protected]

Post Adoption Helpline:  (01) 454 63 88, Tues & Thurs, 10am – 1pm

Barnardos Post Adoption Service is supported by the Health Services Executive and through donations from people who use the service.

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