Health challenges of adopted persons


  • Amara C. Onoka University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, Enugu, Nigeria.



Adoption, adopted person, adoptive parents, birth parents, primal wound, health challenges


Background: Adoption of persons has been a commonly practised by human for centuries. Despite its popularity, little attention
has been given to the health challenges faced by adopted persons as a result of the adoption. Objectives: Given the increasing
acceptance and practice of adoption in Nigeria, this study aims at determining the health challenges adopted persons may be exposed
to as a result of adoption. Method: Systematic review of literature and interview were adopted for the study. Results: Despite
its huge benefits, the process of adoption severes the natural relationship between a child and his birth mother and exposes the
child to a life-long trauma known as a primal wound. Primal wound and other biological and environmental factors expose the
adopted person to various health challenges. Adopted persons therefore face physical, emotional, mental, social, and religious
health challenges. Some physical health challenges include asthma, brain damage, developmental delay, mental (attention-deficit/
hyper-activity, oppositional-defiance, major depression, separation anxiety disorders), and emotional (loss and grief about birth
family, loss of access to health records and sense of rejection and abandonment). In Igboland Southeast Nigeria, adopted persons
are exposed to social challenges as child negligence and abuse, inferiority complex, and denial of inheritance. In addition, adopted
persons may also experience religious challenges where they might be compelled to change from the religious inclination of their
birth parents to that of their adoptive parents. Recommendations: To ensure the health of adopted persons, it is suggested that
adoptive parents should ensure proper documentation and maintenance of records relevant to adopted persons, ensure proper
adoptive-parent to child bonding, and make adoption open adoption as against closed. The government, non-governmental
organizations and adoption agencies should sensitize individuals and the public on the need to accept adopted persons and treat
them like every other normal individual with human rights. They should also ensure that adequate record concerning the adopted
person is maintained in addition to enacting a legislation to protect the rights of adopted persons. Furthermore, adopted persons
are encouraged to handle some social and psychological issues of adoption when they W-I-S-E Up (walk away, it’s private, share
some information in confidence as well as educate others about adoption.


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Author Biography

Amara C. Onoka, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, Enugu, Nigeria.

Department of Nursing,




How to Cite

Amara C. Onoka. (2017). Health challenges of adopted persons. Asian Pacific Journal of Health Sciences, 4(4), 108–113.