Information for mothers and fathers who have lost a child to adoption

Losing a child to adoption has been described by many as one of the hardest things they have ever experienced. Mothers have reported receiving harsh and uncaring treatment during pregnancy, labour and birth, and for some, not even being allowed to see their babies after birth. Many fathers were kept away, with some not having been told of the pregnancy and birth of their child, nor the subsequent adoption. Mothers tell us it is like having a ‘missing’ child, never knowing what happened to them, if they were, safe, loved and / or cared for.

PASS can offer counselling, search and reunion support and other information sessions and workshops.


Our confidential counselling service is available to anyone affected by adoption and using a strengths based model recognises the life long complexities of adoption experience including the effects of trauma; the impacts of separation, loss, shame and secrecy; the experiences of persistent grief; the impacts of adoption on relationships and the changing nature of identity formation and emotional health. The Post Adoption Support Service is located in Hindmarsh with telephone counselling available for those unable to travel to our office. Counselling is available one to one and we can also provide counselling to partners, family members and significant others in your life.

Searching and Reunion Support

Searching for the child you lost to adoption can be a sensitive and emotional process, and can bring unexpected and confusing outcomes. Parents who have lost a child to adoption search for many reasons, and may wait for years until the time ‘feels’ right. Some tell their families, others do not. . Deciding who to tell and involve is up to you and there is no ‘right’ way. Making the decision to undertake a search can be daunting, as the outcome is unknown, and you may find information that you were not expecting. You may also find some information that fills some gaps and has a positive outcome. It is difficult to prepare for an experience when you may have a strong picture of what the outcome will be, whilst knowing that what may transpire could be vastly different. Reunion can be a joyful experience and at the same time be very emotionally challenging. You may have built up a picture in your mind about what your family member may be like, and have an expectation about a continued relationship. This is not always the outcome, and the emotions that may follow can be overwhelming.

PASS supports people as they search and can assist with managing the strong emotions associated with search and reunion. We offer practical advice and guidance in how to go about searching, and suggestions on where to find further information. PASS can provide as little or as much support as you require throughout the process.

We also offer our services to family members that we find through the searching process, or who have been contacted by the child they lost to adoption. Being found can bring a wide range of responses and emotions. Our service can support found family members with confidentiality as they work through the impact of being contacted by their child, parent or other family member/s.

Support groups

We also offer a support group once a month for mothers who have lost a child to adoption. In this support group, we might discuss things such as:

  • Living with ongoing grief and loss
  • Reuniting with your now adult child, whom you may never have actually seen, or only seen once at the time of birth
  • Telling others that you had a child who you lost to adoption
  • Navigating the reunion journey


Making contact with an adult child

Conducting a local search for adult children