Meeting our daughter

We have a beautiful daughter called Alison. We first met her at McDonald's - the usual place that adopters meet their kids. She was only two years and old and looked bewildered and lost.

My husband immediately fell in love, although I confess I was worried about how distant she appeared."

Her baby sister was just how you would have imagined a one-year-old to be, carefree and easy-going. Dear little Alison was rejected by her birth mum and moved around five foster homes before we met her: hardly surprising she could not cope by the time she moved in with us.

She bit, hit, headbutted, put her hands and fingers down her throat until she was sick, banged her head on the floor and nearly reduced us to quivering wrecks.

Getting a diagnosis and finding support

It took us three months to access a behaviour psychologist and five years later we are still in therapy. At three and a half, Alison was diagnosed as having ADHD and autism. She is a high-performing child with huge anxiety issues and insecurities.

We went on to meet an educational psychologist who could not recognise her autism and stated she would only need a little help to access school. He later realised she was a child in care and granted her a .9 statement (needless to say, this was after a great amount of heartache).

It took five months of careful planning to get this lovely child into school. We did it thanks to a wonderful outreach provision. Claire Layland and Caroline Bovey from Plymouth are the best!"

Today, Alison is refusing to go to school again, because she hates the World War II project her class is doing; it scares her. She screams and refuses to enter the school, kicks the hell out of the car, throws everything around the house... but tells us how much she loves us and why she cannot be evacuated. What more can anybody ask for?

By Mark and Helen, Alison's parents

Read more about support for parents and carers.