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Lifelong Issues in Adoption

The Seven Core Issues were first introduced in the 1982 article “Seven Core Issues in Adoption” by Sharon Kaplan Roszia and Deborah Silverstein. They wrote:


“Recognising the core issues in adoption is one intervention that can assist triad members and professionals working in adoption to better understand each other and the residual effect of the adoption experience." 


Adoption triggers seven lifelong, or core issues for all triad members, regardless of the circumstances of the adoption or the characteristics of the participants (Silverstein and Kaplan, 1982):

  1. Loss

  2. Rejection

  3. Guilt and shame

  4. Grief

  5. Identity

  6. Intimacy

  7. Mastery / control


Clearly, the specific experiences of triad members vary, but there is commonality of affective experiences which persists throughout the individual’s or family’s life cycle development. The recognition of these similarities permits dialogue among triad members and allows those professionals with whom they interface to intervene in proactive as well as curative ways.” 


For more detail see:


Attachment 1: the 1982 article by Kaplan and Silverstein which is still very relevant reading for those affected by adoption. 

Attachment 2: a chart which provides a brief summary of the above article. 


In 2019 Sharon Kaplan Roszia and Allison Davis Maxon expanded the Seven Core Issues to include all forms of permanency, in recognition that these lifelong issues have an impact for people involved in kinship care, foster care, and donor conception and as well as those affected by adoption.


They state:


“Regardless of your experience- whether you were adopted, fostered, or parented by an extended family member; whether you adopted or fostered an infant, child or youth; [...] whether the adoption was open, semi-open or closed; whether the loss of the child occurred voluntarily or involuntarily for the birth / first parents – these lifelong issues will have an impact” 


Their book Seven Core Issues in Adoption and Permanent: A Comprehensive Guide to Promoting Understanding and Healing in Adoption, Foster Care, Kinship Families and Third Party Reproduction is published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers (2019). 


Attachment 3: is a 2019 article by Roszia and Maxon which summarises the book. 

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