This chapter draws from research into adoption conducted at the University of East Anglia, UK. It outlines the range of losses faced by adopted children in terms of their pre-adoption relationships and identities, and suggests that these losses are universal, across the full range of legal and social contexts in which adoption takes place.

The chapter discusses how children can be enabled to maintain relationships with birth family members in a range of situations. It explores the value of children’s relationships with previous foster parents and other caregivers and describes some key principles for helping children to make successful transitions to their adoptive families. Finally, the “Secure Base Model” for thinking about ways in which adoptive parents can help their children to build trust and security, while also retaining some form of continuity with previous relationships, is examined. It is proposed that contemporary adoption should be underpinned by policy and practice that is similarly respectful of children’s previous relationships and identities and actively seeks to mitigate the inherent losses faced by adopted children and adults.