Adoption Trauma

Adoption trauma to mothers and persons adopted continues to be under-acknowledged and under-serviced.  Psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals are often not knowledgeable with respect to adoption specific issues and adoption trauma.

The need for qualified service providers has been identified by Origins Canada. To meet that need, Origins Canada is working with the Federal Government to develop a training module for mental health professionals.



The study Past Adoption Experiences: National Research Study on the Service Response to Past Adoption Practices states the following:  “One of the most significant findings within this respondent group appears to be that, regardless of whether they had a positive or more challenging experience growing up within their adoptive family , most participants identified issues related to problems with attachment, identity, abandonment and the parenting of their own children.”

According to the study and Origins Canada, persons adopted have reported the following:

* Trauma and wounding from the loss of their mother and family
* Adoption Stigma
* Criticism for searching
* Identity issues
* Attachment issues
* Mirroring issues
* Feelings of rejection and abandonment
* Feeling obligated to show gratitude all their lives
* Low levels of self worth
* Difficulties in forming attachments and relationships with others
* Some subjected to abuse and neglect in their adoptive families
* Seeking their families – loyalty issues
* Access to their original birth certificates – a human rights issue
* Records continue to be sealed and kept secret in six provinces in Canada thus preventing persons adopted which separates them from their families, heritage, medical history; and denying the possibility of healing reunions


According to the study Past Adoption Experiences: National Research Study on the Service Response to Past Adoption Practices “Mental health and wellbeing measures used in the survey indicate a higher than average likelihood of these mothers suffering from a mental health disorder compared to the general population, with close to one third of the mothers showing a likelihood of having a severe mental disorder at the time of survey completion.”

Most mothers of adoption separation suffer from:

  • Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ( including hypervigilence, nightmares, flashbacks, repression of memory, triggering memories, continuing throughout their lives including when they become grandmothers.)
  • Post Partum Depression after the birth of a subsequent child
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Disenfranchised and Unresolved Grief lasting a lifetime
  • 80% of mothers suffered a Major Depression
  • Continuing sense of shame, fear, and secrecy
  • Secondary Infertility
  • Substance Abuse issues (due to trauma)
  • Stress related physical ailments including fibromyalgia, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis etc.
  • Difficulty developing and maintaining intimate relationships

Copyright Origins Canada Inc 2010