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So is Adoption Reversible?

         We think it is.

“Once an adoption order has been granted it can't be reversed except in extremely rare circumstances” or so says BAAF and the family courts.

In the UK’s campaign to recruit more adopters for the ever increasing number of children forcibly taken into care, this is what potential adopters are being told.

TaKen will be challenging this argument. In the coming months, we are hoping to take this argument very public but in the mean time, we continue with our research to show the error of the above highlighted statement.

We would like to hear stories of where a child has petitioned a court to reverse or dissolve their adoption. While this is rare, it is an option to the adopted child, in an effort to separate from the adopting couple, under very specific rules.

We would also like to hear from families and adoptee's who have reunited post adoption and are happy to share your reunions (good or bad) moments with us.

All of your stories will be helping us in our campaign, so please do start sending your thoughts to us. Please also state if you wish us to share your story with the public and if you wish to remain anonymous. We may not share all the stories but ones that we feel have a strong enough message.

Consider the long term lasting effects of closed adoption as opposed to open adoption.

Annette Baran and Reuben Pannor wrote this article in 1993 which is still very relevant today.

Psychological and Emotional Effects of the Closed System

Our decades of experience in counselling individuals affected by adoption suggest that requiring anonymity between birth parents and adoptive parents and sealing all information about the birth parents from the adopted child has damaging effects on all three parties. These damaging effects are discussed below.

Effects on the Birth parents

Relinquishment of a newborn child may be profoundly damaging to birth parents and cause lifelong pain and suffering. Even when relinquishment is a carefully considered and chosen option, birth mothers—and often birth fathers—may suffer from a heightened sense of worthlessness after giving away a child. They may feel guilty about their actions. These birth parents may believe that their offspring will not understand the reasons for relinquishment and that these offspring will blame and hate their birth parents for rejecting and abandoning them. The birth parents may want their children to know that they continue to care about them and, in turn, may wish to learn about the kind of people their children have become. No matter how many children they may have subsequently, birth parents may still desire knowledge and contact with the one they gave up.

In traditional closed adoptions, such knowledge and contact is not possible. Birth parents do not know who adopted their child, where he or she lives, or even whether the child is alive or dead. Even in so-called open placements where all parties know the identity of all other parties, birth parents often have no ongoing contact with the child. In these instances, birth parents may feel powerless. They have no knowledge of what is happening to their child and no opportunity to let the adoptive family know of significant events in their own lives.

Effects on the Adoptee's

Adopted children also frequently suffer from the secrecy imposed in closed adoptions, particularly during adolescence when they often experience greater identity conflicts than members of the non-adopted population. The process of developing an individual identity is more complicated for adoptee's because they live with the knowledge that an essential part of their personal history remains on the other side of the adoption barrier. In closed adoptions, any desire on the part of an adopted child to learn more about the birth parents is blocked, often leading to fantasies and distortions. Easily escalated, these may develop into more serious problems. In our studies, we described these adoption-related identity conflicts as resulting in "identity lacunae," which can lead to feelings of shame, embarrassment, and low self-esteem. In addition, adoptee's may experience a deep fear of loss and separation. Many adopted children feel that they were given away because there was something wrong with them from the beginning.

We observed that, in late adolescence, negative feelings and questions about being adopted increased. In young adulthood, plans for marriage may create an urgent desire for specific background information, particularly about family history. For adopted adult women, pregnancy and the birth of a child may raise fears of possible unknown hereditary problems. Becoming a parent may also trigger intense feelings in the adoptee toward his or her own birth mother. These feelings may include not only empathy for her difficult emotional situation, but also anger and disbelief that she could have given up her own child. The feelings frequently create a need in adoptee's to search for birth parents and the hope for a reunion to bring together the broken connections from the past. Such a search, if undertaken, often is prolonged, painful, and fruitless.

Effects on the Adoptive Parents

Finally, closed adoption can also have negative psychological and emotional effects on the adoptive parents. With no knowledge of or contact with the birth parents, adoptive parents may find it difficult to think and talk about birth parents as real people. They may be unable to answer truthfully their adoptive children's inevitable questions about why they were given up, what their birth parents were like, and what happened to these parents in later life. The ghosts of the birth parents, inherent in the closed system, are ever present, and may lead to the fear that these parents will reclaim the child and that the child will love these parents more than the adoptive parents.


Below you will find reports and articles covering the various impacts of forced removal and the benefits for reunification and ongoing contact.  

Maternal outcasts: raising the profile of women who are vulnerable to successive, compulsory removals of their children – a plea for preventative action.

(Karen Broadhurst & Claire Mason 24 June 2013(

An argument for direct post-adoption contact (“letterbox” is useless)

(Dr. Peter Dale, 10 June 2013)

Misapplication of Attachment Theory in child welfare proceedings

(Dr. Peter Dale, 02 June 2013)

Psychological Issues Faced by Adopted Children and Adults.pdf