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Adoption as Trauma

  • As an adopted person, do you know the true story of your birth or your name at the time of your birth?

  • Do you know the true story of why you were placed for adoption or by whom?

  • Have you seen your true birth certificate or only the amended copy?

  • Is your ‘truth’ something that your adoptive parents or other parties may have told you?

  • Adoption, sadly, often holds many secrets and little truth for the adopted person.​

  • The truth of all adoption is that is starts with trauma and loss. That is part of the true story of your adoption.​

  • The primal wound of separation from your biological mother at birth or later in life may be causing you Complex Trauma, identity confusion, abandonment fears and  attachment insecurity. Neurobiology tells us that this separation at birth has had an enormous impact on the brain and an adopted person’s safety in relationship.

  • This developmental trauma may be causing you to feel anxious, angry or deeply sad.​

  • Through trauma supportive therapies in a safe setting, let’s work together to better strengthen your internal resources, support your nervous system, deepen your connection to your true self, and explore your true story.


Working with Adopted Adults

and the Entire Adoption Constellation


An expert in adoption, having been adopted all of my life (infant/domestic/in reunion), I deeply and intuitively understand the complexities and trauma inherent in the world of the non-parental identified (NPI) population, and how it often impacts the entire adoption constellation (birth family/adoptive family).

Knowing that living as an adopted person is exceptionally complex, I have extensively studied relinquishment and adoption issues for much of my life to become an adoption competent counselor. 

What is an Adoption Competent Counselor?

A great explanation can be found here - mariedolfi.comAdoption Competent Counselor Expertise


Having completed my Masters of Social Work thesis around the area of Adoption Trauma in 2007, I truly have been immersed in this topic for 15 years since that time both through reading, writing, attending trainings and conferences, and informally connecting with the adoptee community both virtually and locally in Rochester, NY.

I began my search and reunion journey at age 36 and I have been in positive reunion with my birth mother, birth father, siblings, and extended biological family, while maintaining positive relationships with my adoptive family since that time. I am very understanding of the deep resilience required of the adopted person who navigates these complex relationships in their day-to-day life because I am living it! I know what it takes to establish, cultivate, nurture and sustain these life changing relationships while most importantly nourishing the relationship that you are ever so uniquely building with yourself as an adult adopted person. 

I am a believer that the first mother often undergoes a significant moral injury at the time of relinquishment of her child that is a lifelong wound. I am skilled and compassionate in working with the first parent population and enjoy helping them navigate their often long standing disenfranchised and ambiguous grief. I have first-hand knowledge of this lived experience, having observed my own biological mother's ongoing journey through healing her PTSD. 

The nature of adoption and trauma's impact on my own life allows me a unique ability to evaluate myself in and amongst the role of religion, misogyny, patriarchy, and capitalism in the adoption industry. These are complex concepts that we can explore together. If you were adopted, you were affected by these systemic concepts too, and you also hold a unique and extraordinary perspective on the world. Let's work together to discover what this means for you now.

Let me help you find the hope that you may not be able to see and help you carry the weight of the enormity of coping with separation from one's family and one's true self. You are not alone.

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