Online psychotherapy and counselling for adult adoptees

Western society promotes adoption as a win-win situation. Birth parents are relieved of responsibilities, adoptive parents fulfill desires, and children find safe homes.

The reality is more complex. Adoption severs the original attachment bond, causing lifelong developmental trauma. This trauma is primarily caused by relinquishment, not adoption.

Individual experiences, support systems, and access to mental health resources influence adoptee challenges. However, adult relinquished individuals face higher risks of physical and mental health issues.

These issues encompass depression, anxiety, PTSD, and attachment-based disorders. Separation from birth parents, loss of biological connections, and identity struggles contribute.

Challenges include identity formation, self-esteem, questions about origins, and cultural background. Grief and loss regarding birth family and heritage also affect adoptees.

Forming and maintaining relationships is difficult, impacting trust, intimacy, and attachment. Physical health is affected with higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, and chronic pain. Adoption-related depression and anxiety lead to risky behaviors. Lack of genetic history hinders prevention and early treatment.

Adoptee counselling and psychotherapy

Societal impact

Non-adoptees have a higher likelihood of graduating from high school, avoiding high-risk behaviors leading to incarceration and hospitalization, and not being forced into mental health institutions. Additionally, they are less likely to live in poverty compared to adoptees.

What the experts say

Evidence supports our stance. Researchers continue to demonstrate the traumatic impact of childhood relinquishment.

The University of Oregon’s Adoption History Project concludes that adult adoptees exhibit a higher prevalence of psychiatric ‘disorders.’ Note that at Adoptee Alliance, we dispute the term ‘disorder’; we view our challenges as coping strategies developed in response to early attachment disruptions.

A study published in the Archives of Suicide Research finds that adoptees attempt suicide at four times the rate of non-adoptees.

A study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry shows that adoptees are more likely to access mental health services than non-adoptees.

We do not imply that all adult adoptees experience mental health issues or that adoption is their sole cause. However, common adoptee challenges exist, and for those who struggle, the narrative of adoption as wholly positive is false.

Medical professionals, psychologists, schools, courts, and psychotherapists often disregard adverse childhood experiences, including adoption. This is why we believe it’s imperative for adoptees (relinquishees) to have access to counsellors and psychotherapists who understand complex trauma and adoption-related issues and ideally have lived experience as adoptees themselves.

Our Therapeutic Orientation

Adoptee Alliance uses the NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM) to address common adoptee challenges effectively. NARM focuses on resolving early childhood trauma and attachment disruptions, benefiting psychological and emotional well-being related to adoption.

NARM therapy addresses:

  1. Attachment issues: Exploring and healing attachment wounds, fostering healthier relationships and connection.
  2. Resolving complex trauma: Processing and integrating experiences related to loss, grief, and identity to reduce symptoms like anxiety and depression.
  3. Integrating identity and self-esteem: Supporting adoptees in exploring and integrating their adoptive and biological identities, enhancing self-esteem.
  4. Developing healthy coping strategies: Identifying and transforming maladaptive coping mechanisms into healthier ones for emotional resilience.
  5. Enhancing self-compassion and self-regulation: Building self-compassion, self-acceptance, and self-regulation skills to navigate emotions effectively and strengthen self.

Our therapy is personalized to your unique needs and goals in your adoption journey.

Online NARM therapist