Frequently Asked Questions

We look at some common concerns


We look at some of the common questions asked by adoptees, as they become aware of the lifetime impact of adoption

Our resources section is continually updated, to provide access to useful links and information.

I love my adoptive parents but there is something not quite right and I do not know how to go about exploring that. 

You are likely feeling some confusing and really big things. That is ok. Many of us have felt like that. It can start in adolescence or when we hit big life milestones or simply as we get older and our perspective on life changes. It is completely normal to feel conflicted about something so unusual as growing up with a different family. Especially if that family is the only one we have ever known, and we love them very much. It is ok to take it slow. Please check out our resources and identify at least one friend and ideally a therapist who can help you on this journey.

I am feeling different about my adoption as I get older. I think there is more conflict and anxiety there than I had realised. 

This is very common. Adoptees adopt coping mechanisms. They might perform in a particular way in social settings, or hide from others, or numb feelings with alcohol or drugs or embark on unsafe relationships. Or combinations of the above and many other behaviours. Traumatised people are in fight/flight/freeze/fawn mode a lot of the time. Quite often, coping mechanisms lose their effectiveness as we get older. Try to find at least one person you can share your feelings with, so that you can plan a way to address your issues. Our resources should help.

Why do people not understand that being adopted is difficult for me? Is there something wrong with me? 

Not at all. Society does not understand adoption and its effects. TV, movies and books rarely go beyond the surface of this most complicated situation. You are not going mad. There is work required to educate legislators, educators, cultural commentators and many others. Just know that there are lots of other people that feel the way you do, and you are not wrong and you are not alone. 


As a society we need to alter the narrative of adoption. We recognise that the child’s welfare is central to any decisions, but feel strongly that alternative approaches are better suited, for example Kinship care.

Adopters are often sold a falsely positive narrative about adoption. No matter how much the adoptee is loved, they will always have experienced the trauma of separation and removal of identity.

I am a hopeful adoptive parent and I can give a loving home to a child. What is wrong with that? 

There is nothing wrong with the impulse. It is a wonderful thing to love a child. But as an adoptive parent you should be very clear that you are raising someone else’s child.

They may love you and you may have a loving relationship, but it will not be the same as having your own biological child. You must come to terms with that, or you will not be a safe person for your child to share their feelings with.

Adoption is not a cure for infertility and it is unfair to place that burden on a child. Be wary of people who encourage you that you can create your own family, that not all families are created through blood, that only nurture not nature matters.

These are comforting concepts but they are not stone cold reality, which is what your adoptee will face entirely alone if you do not inform yourself.

What are the alternatives to adoption? 

Too often, adoptees hear that they should be grateful that they were not aborted, left in an abusive situation, or in an orphanage. This is just unhelpful.

Many birth parents find themselves in difficult situations often involving poverty and a lack of support. Adoption is a permanent solution to what may be a temporary problem. Many adoptees have family that could have cared for them but faced legal or financial difficulties. There should be the highest possible bar for removing a child from their family.

If the best interests of the child are really what is paramount, we should explore family preservation, kinship care and legal guardianship in that order. And that is where funding should be.

Don’t adoptive parents just need more support to deal with children who were traumatised before they got them? 

As a society we should normalise not removing children from their parents, in other than the most extreme circumstances. The realities of growing up in a non-biological family are that the initial trauma(s) is compounded by being adopted. Family preservation, kinship care and legal guardianship should be prioritised. All individuals in caring roles should receive trauma-informed counselling and funding should be focused on alternatives to plenary adoption.

It’s all in the past, why can’t my adoptee/sibling/friend just get over it? 

Please do not ever say this to a traumatised person. It can take a long time to come to terms with feelings that have been repressed for, sometimes, many years. It is particularly challenging when society at large does not understand or recognise the problem. This is what we call disenfranchised grief. Please try and offer support instead.