Seven years ago, her mother adopted two brothers and she has now revealed that she felt compelled to give one back to care. She claimed she couldn’t deal with the boy’s behavior because she didn’t have enough support from adoptive parents.

Eleanor Bradford is a former BBC broadcaster, head of public relations from Moray in Scotland and Eleanor Bradford. They adopted Eleanor when they realized they were unable to have their own children.

They adopted their brothers, aged seven and three years old. The elder brother was to leave foster care. Most people would prefer that the younger child is taken in.

Eleanor wanted the boys to be together so Eleanor’s partner made the family a ‘instant’ one. Eleanor described her first five years as “full-on, but fantastic” and added that they were a “dream turned into nightmare”.

Adoptive mother Eleanor Bradford has discussed the lack of support for parents who adopt - revealing that she had to make the difficult

Eleanor Bradford, an adoptive mother, has spoken out about the insufficient support available for adoptive parents. She revealed that it was difficult. 

But, she said they had to make the difficult decision of returning the older boy to foster care after his behavior became too challenging for them to handle. 

Eleanor wrote for Sunday Times about how Adoption “began as an impossible dream, but became a nightmare when he began lying to her, cutting her clothes and stealing her money, all while engaging in online criminal behavior. 

He was a liar and stole from his parents, she said.

He also partook in online betting, and while Eleanor and her partner put blocks on what he could access on the internet in a bid to curb this, she says a neighbour gave him a smartphone, which he used to gamble.

In 2014 she and her husband adopted two brothers aged three and seven who were set to be separated, with the elder boy to remain in foster care as most people prefer to take on younger children

She and her husband adopted their two older brothers, aged seven and three years respectively. The elder brother was to go to foster care. Most people would prefer the younger child to stay with them.

She declined to provide respite care when they requested it. Suspecting he may have suffered foetal alcohol spectrum disorder – brain damage caused by his mother’s drinking during her pregnancy – she was unable to get a diagnosis from his school.

Eleanor had to take the heartbreaking decision with her partner to place their son in care.    

What exactly is foetal alcohol spectrum disorder? 

A collection of diagnosis called Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs), which refers to the variety of possible effects on a pregnant woman who drank alcohol in pregnancy. 

Each person can be affected in different ways by these conditions, which can vary from mild to severe.

FASD could be a sign that a person has:

  • Attention difficulty
  • School difficulties (especially in maths)
  • Language and speech delays
  • Intellectual disability, or low intelligence
  • Inadequacy in reasoning and judgement
  • Baby problems with sucking and sleep
  • Problems with vision or hearing
  • Heart, kidney, and bone problems
  • Heights that are less than average
  • Atypical facial features include a smooth line between the upper and lower lips (the philtrum). 

 Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Revealing that her older son is now moving to his fifth set of carers in a short space of time, she said: ‘It’s a tragedy for him and for us. If one foster carer’s salary had been invested in a counsellor or teacher trained in trauma, not only our son but many other traumatised children could have accessed support.

‘There is an empty hole in our home, but it’s not entirely a black hole. My bag can be left on the table and I am able to walk into the house. I used to have to keep my purse locked away, conceal the key and place my bag up upstairs. The happy home we share is ours. 

“We are able to read our son a daily bedtime story. A luxury we had lost as we dealt with our oldest’s bad behavior.” 

Speaking to the BBC, Eleanor, who is a trustee for the charity Adoption UK,  said she was furious about how little support adoptive parents are given.    

She stated that many of the children living in care had suffered trauma from various sources, such as violence, drug abuse, or alcohol abuse. These can affect their brains and result in behavioural difficulties.

These issues can be related to addiction, stealing or lying and sexualised behaviours, as well as violence.

She stated, “Because we needed to access extra support for his but also because he was starting to put us at risk and he had been putting his younger brother at threat,”

She described the system as unfair and said that foster carers have the right to support training as they are well-respected for their difficult role.

Adoptive parents do not have the right to receive the same support.     

According to Adoption UK, around three to four per cent of adoptions break down annually, and up to 75 per cent of adoptive parents struggle to receive the support needed by their children.

It also stated that accessing assistance is “particularly difficult” in Scotland. 

The Adoption Support Council is calling for increased support for adoptive parents, such as assessments of needs, support plans and training for teachers on trauma. 

It also wants better diagnosis and support for all children affected by FASD (Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders). 

The spokesperson from the Scottish government said that all local authorities are required to help adoptive families. 

‘This approach is supplemented by a Scottish government commitment to invest £500m over the life of this parliament through the Whole Family Wellbeing Fund.  

“This will allow families to access the support they require whenever and wherever it is needed.