Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


The qualitative study explores the impact of openness in the adoption experience has on grief and loss issues for four birthmothers who voluntarily relinquished their infants. Stage and paradoxical phenomena of grief and loss comparable to parental loss of child through death are addressed through three stages of the adoption experience: during pregnancy, during delivery and relinquishment and post-relinquishment. Theoretical framework around attachment, the learned helplessness model of depression and self-determination as a client-centered outcome in social work practice enhance the understanding of some of the special grief issues related to loss through adoption. Discussion focuses on how openness in the adoption experience impacts on some adoption myths and the grief and loss reactions of birthmothers. Implications for social work practice exist in assessing how openness in the adoption experience affects a birthmother's sense of self and control over her life experiences.


SC 11.MSW.1993.Skretved.TA

Included in

Social Work Commons