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Information for Prospective Adoptive Parents


Thinking about adopting a child and going through the adoption preparation and assessment process with an adoption agency may raise many issues and anxieties for prospective adoptive parents.

You may find it helpful to explore these issues with a counsellor who has no pre-set agenda.
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Prospective Adoptive parents often express feelings of:
  • Loss related to infertility.
  • Sadness regarding failed relationships and life not being as it could have been.
  • Upset and confusion in thinking about issues from their own childhood and past that still linger in the present.
  • Anxieties about being judged and involved in a process where the adoption agency is perceived as having power over your life.
  • Anxiety and ambivalence in thinking about aspects of a child's background that may in some ways mirror their own childhood experiences.
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  • Discussion during the adoption assessment about aspects of your own history that perhaps has not been previously known or disclosed and the effect of this disclosure on your current relationship or other family member.
  • Concern about the reaction of other children in the family about the possibility of an adopted child joining the family unit.
  • Ambivalence towards the birth family of the child.
  • Apprehension and ambivalence about maintaining any ongoing connections or contact with the child's birth family.
  • Ambivalence in separating their own needs from the needs of children they are hoping to adopt.

Information for Adoptive Parents


Having a child or children placed with you for adoption is a life changing experience for both you and your child or children.

You may want an opportunity to talk about this.
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Adoptive parent(s) often express feelings of:
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  • Upset and frustration about aspects of the child's behaviour..
  • Sadness, confusion, anger, shame, or guilt about the adoption path they embarked on and how far the dream of a 'normal family life' is from the reality as they are experiencing it..
  • Ambivalence towards the birth family of the child..
  • Frustration and disappointment in the support they have received from an array of professionals..
  • Concern about their relationship with their partner or other family members following the placement of the adopted child..
  • Concern about the reaction of other children in the family..
  • Apprehension and ambivalence about maintaining any ongoing connections or contact with the child's birth family..
  • Concern about the placement continuing..

Information for Birth Parents


Having a child placed for adoption, either with your agreement and cooperation or without your agreement, but through a decision made by a court, is a life changing experience for both you and your child(ren).

You may welcome an opportunity to talk about this.
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Birth parents and relatives often express feelings of:
  • being overwhelmed by events since the birth of their child and the adoption path that they may now be facing.
  • concern around facing family and friends about the adoption plans for their child
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  • loss that may feel overwhelming.
  • sadness, confusion, anger, shame, or guilt.
  • doubt and uncertainty about future contact with the child concerned.
  • confusion and pain as their own problems, going back to the time of their own childhood, become mixed up with what is happening with the child and the proposed adoption plans.
  • concern about the impact of adoption on their relationship with their partner or other family member.
  • concern about whether or not issues around adoption affect other children in the household and other family members.

Information for Adopted Adults


Your life may have been affected by the fact you have been adopted. The decision to place you for adoption, however made, has been a life changing experience for you, your birth mother and birth family and your adoptive parent(s).

You may want an opportunity to talk about this.
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Adopted adults often express feelings of:
  • Curiosity about their background and how it was they came to be adopted.
  • Curiosity about their birth mother, father or siblings if known. Sometimes there is a desire to locate a birth mother and meet her. Sometimes this desire is very strong, overwhelming at times. For other people, this curiosity may just remain a vague idea in the back of their mind.
  • Sadness, confusion, anger, shame, or guilt about their adoption.
  • Gratitude or anger towards their adoptive parents.
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  • Concern, ambivalence, uncertainty about maintaining any ongoing connections or contact with the birth family.
  • Being overwhelmed by events since the start of embarking on any tracing activity to locate a birth parent.
  • Believing that some of the issues they are facing resonate with issues in their own life, often going back to their own childhood and the issues related to the adoption story.
  • Concern about making and sustaining relationships.
  • Confusion regarding aspects of difference in respect of identity e.g. trans-racial, trans-cultural, or sexual orientation.