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‘The Unacknowledged Grief of Adoption’, 13.10.2020

National Adoption Week is running in the UK from the 12th to the 18th of October 2020 and, as ever, the campaign focuses on children who need homes.

As an organisation we are aware that adoptees are at greater risk of suicide than the general population; one study found adopted teens to be 4x more likely to attempt suicide than their non-adopted peers (Keyes et al., 2013). Adoption is rooted in relinquishment and relinquishment represents an acute, primal loss; it is a serious trauma. This loss and the associated grief often go unacknowledged with people preferring to focus on the “happy ever after” story of adoption. How does this unacknowledged grief impact on adoptee’s mental health throughout their lives and what can be done to help?

The OLLIE Foundation invite you to an informed, insightful panel discussion titled ‘The Unacknowledged Grief of Adoption’ on the 13th of October 2020 at 6 -7:45pm, where our panel of experts will discuss these topics, considering the grief experience of;

  • Birth parents
  • Adopting parents
  • Individuals who are relinquished as babies and children and those who conceived through sperm donation

The panel will discuss how babies and young children respond to separation, how they grieve and how this experience is carried in their bodies as cellular memory, resulting in young people who experience struggles with mental health and substance misuse. Delegates will consider the adoption experience through the eyes of an adoptee, a mother who adopted and a psychologist who supports all parts of the adoption triad to process their grief and hear their thoughts on why suicide is statistically higher in the adopted community and what we can do about it.

The panel will also consider the roles the adoptee can be asked to play and the impact that can have on optimal development and how relinquishment in early life can inform the love life of adult adoptees.

This 60-minute Panel discussion will be followed by a 45-minute Q&A session.

This talk will be particularly relevant for: healthcare professionals, social workers, targeted support officers, pastoral leads, teachers. youth workers, SENCOS, counsellors, psychologists, youth offending teams, adoption and fostering teams, police, first responders, parents, care home staff.  

Please see the event flyer, for more information on our panel of experts. To book your place as a delegate, please follow go to our Eventbrite link here.

We invite attendees to submit questions in advance by emailing: [email protected] and also to attend the Q&A session after the main discussion.

Keyes, M.A., Malone, S.M., Sharma, A., Iacono, W.G. and McGue, M. (2013). Risk of Suicide Attempt in Adopted and Nonadopted Offspring. PEDIATRICS, [online] 132(4), pp.639–646.