What is Adoption Trauma?

Adoption trauma is the trauma to a parent or a child from being permanently and abruptly separated from their family griefmember by adoption, especially if the adoption is not the choice of either.

The trauma to a mother of losing a child to adoption has gone unrecognized by society, even by the social service agency workers and mental health professionals whose work it is to help victims of trauma.. Also not acknowledged is the potential trauma to a child, in many cases a newborn literally torn from their mother’s breast, her smell, her sound, her feel — all these lost to him or her forever.

Social stigma and shame has kept “the unwed mother” silent and continues to dismiss her as being “only being a birth mother.” Many natural mothers were told by those around them hat they did not deserve to keep their babies, that they deserved to be punished, and many still blame themselves. Mothers treated like this may not realize that those around them had no right to treat them this way; that instead, they deserved to be recognized, celebrated, and supported as being a new family, mother and child.  This oppression, shame, and self-blame has increased the power of those who have kept the status quo of  adoption as it is for so many years.

Many mothers who lost their children to adoption still suffer in silence and many themselves may not understand that they might be experiencing long-term depression, grief, self-blame, or traumatic stress symptoms as a result of the loss of their babies.  The coerced surrender of a baby is an unrecognized trauma which is often denied by society, the adoption industry, and those in their daily lives.