The layers of trauma in adoption are complex and multiplied.

The need for adoption begins with trauma, usually intergenerational trauma that our biological families experience that result in us being relinquished / abandoned. As adoptees, our primary trauma begins at relinquishment / abandonment (or being stolen or lost). Then we live the loss of identity (family, kin, culture, country, language, race) when plenary adoption severs us permanently from our origins and via intercountry adoption, relocates us to a completely new country/culture/people/language.

Secondary trauma can then occur after the adoption itself, whether that be through abuse, neglect, living an adoption breakdown, being re-homed, not being granted citizenship, etc.

Artwork by CS Massey aka YooNett: Tears of Trauma

Recommended Resources to understand the Trauma in Adoption

Paul Sunderland: Relinquishment and Adoption – Understanding the impact of an early psychological wound (video)

Nancy Verrier: The Primal Wound (book)

Rebecca Sansom: Reckoning with The Primal Wound (documentary)

Paul Sunderland: Adoption & Addiction (video)

Gabor Mate: The Wisdom of Trauma (documentary)

Bessel van den Kolk: The Body Keeps Score (book)

In Utero: The Documentary

This section is dedicated to sharing ICAV blogs that will help educate about the unspoken trauma of abuse in adoption.

Other adoptee led resources:

Adapted (Podcast): Kaomi Lee