My Hunt for Home






Adoption competent mental health services are responsive to the unique needs of children, youth, and families who have experienced the child welfare system. It is a comprehensive approach that addresses the common core issues children, youth, and families experience as they navigate separation, loss, and trauma. Many young people who have been adopted, entered a guardianship, or experienced foster care, struggle to integrate their experiences into their identity. Having access to a clinician who understands what they have gone through can make all the difference. Rachel shares what it meant to her.

My Hunt for Home

Rachel Shifaraw


A self-proclaimed lifelong “wanderer,” I have always been searching for a place that feels like home. A place where I feel free to be my most authentic self…a place where my questions are answered & my voice is not only heard but more importantly, understood.


Shortly after I was adopted, my parents converted me to Judaism. As a little girl growing up, I thought I would find “home” on the cobblestone streets of Jerusalem. I was hopeful that my sense of community & belonging would rest in my religion, as it seems to do for so many…only to be let down when it did not for me.


As the years blew by, I continued searching for this missing piece of myself. I had become an adult, with children of my own & was convinced the void within my soul sat in the hands of my biological mother. I traveled back to the city of Santiago, Chile, where my story first started. I remember running into the arms of my first mom, expecting all my adoption aches to finally disappear but was deeply disappointed when I left weeks later, STILL feeling empty-handed.


I came to The Center for Adoption Support & Education (C.A.S.E.) when I was 33 years old. I had poured my heart out into writing a piece on how “different” I felt throughout adolescence as an adoptee. For the past 7 years, I spent time learning about adoption competency & discovering how critical it is to have adoption competent professionals managing the psychological components of the adopted mind. I have come to develop & understand parts of myself that once seemed unexplainable to everybody…even other mental health professionals. I have been able to progress at piecing together my personal puzzle after always feeling like it was irreparably fractured because I am finally surrounded by clinicians who are specialized in helping adopted people, just like me. Best of all, I do not feel “different” when I am amongst my C.A.S.E. community. After decades of searching, I finally feel like I have a place to call home.




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