Is it possible to give back an adopted child?


When adoption is discussed, it usually isn’t assumed that those seeking to become parents through adoption would entertain the idea of attempting to reverse that adoption. However, it does happen. Though it is a possibility, The Atlantic notes that “between 1 and 5 percent of U.S. adoptions get legally dissolved” yearly, which is a very small amount and this happens for a myriad of reasons. 

Due to the popularity of Natalia Grace’s story, adoption, particularly International adoption, has come under scrutiny as to what happens if a child or adoptive parents don’t attach. Though this story is centered around neglect, there are a small percentage of individuals who don’t feel that they have attached to the child that they’ve adopted. Though people believe that this can stem from a lack of education about adoption and that some who adopt can be naive about that reality, that may not be everyone’s lived experiences. According to, the reasons in which an adoption would end would be because a birth parent had been coerced to place their child for adoption, or did so under other duress, if the adoptive parents went to jail or were responsible for abuse or neglect. Another reason that exists is lack of attachment. 

Anita Tedaldi shared her story about her decision to find another home for a little boy that she adopted. She came under a lot of criticism for this decision and telling her story, but she not only struggled to attach to the boy, but she felt that he wasn’t attaching to her either. Though she stressed that she did love him, she met with another individual who she ultimately decided would be a better parent for her child. 

When adopting, it is more typical that parents would be concerned about a birth parent who relinquished their rights wanting to parent again, there is some concern by many adoptive parents about their ability to attach to a child that isn’t biological. The Attachment Project shares that the first two years of a child’s life can often be critical to attachment, so it does seem feasible that a family may struggle with this process if they adopt an older child. 

So, though rare, sometimes adoptions are dissolved. However, adoption professionals will explain that this can be a very difficult process for a child, particularly one who has been in multiple homes before finding a placement because it is yet another loss and will add another potentially traumatic experience. 

For questions about adoption and ensuring that you feel ready to take on adopting a child, reach out to a social worker or adoption agency for more information and guidance.