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  • Writer's picturePersephone Protouli

Adoption Trauma

Latest research shows that already from the second trimester, the fetus is capable of auditory processing, hence already able to process rejection in utero.

That means that adoption is experienced from the child as an early trauma, even if it occurred immediately after birth, or during the pregnancy. There is no greater loss then the one of the primary caregiver.

Children that have experienced that, even if they have no cognitive memory of it, have registered it in their body; the child is unable to process the loss of the figure, leading to anxiety and depression.

In my work with patients, I often encounter the old pain that traces back to body cell memories, the deep feeling of not being wanted, not belonging. People that have gone through something like that, often act within their relationships starting from their trauma, and not their true self.

Some of the issues that adoptees struggle with, are fear of rejection, trust, intimacy, loyalty issues, guilt and shame, struggles of power and control, and ultimately identity issues.

Therapy can be of help in

  • Having a safe place to talk about the trauma; often patients feel loyalty towards their adopted parents, thus hesitating to open up the subject with them, as well as feeling ungrateful.

  • Becoming aware of the difference between acting from the self or from the trauma; awareness as a way of making reactions less automatic and more thought out.

  • Experiencing a healing relationship where one does not have to make themselves needed in order to feel wanted. For many, the trauma creates a constant need to be 'nice', agreeable, of help. In therapy, one can discover simply "being".

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