Birth mother grief and the challenge of adoption reunion contact

Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2014 Jul;84(4):409-19. doi: 10.1037/ort0000013.


A large body of work exists on the grief expressed by birth mothers over the loss of their children to adoption. Less is known about the grief emotions that surface when these women are contacted by adopted adults who seek contact relationships. The themes of mourning, grief, and bereavement that emerged in the qualitative interview data of 33 reunited birth mothers indicate more attention be given to these social psychological processes. Suggestions for future research possibilities and implications for clinical practice are explored.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adoption / psychology*
  • Female
  • Grief*
  • Humans
  • Mother-Child Relations / psychology*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult