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The Effects Adoption Has on Birth Mothers

By Ann Daniels ; Updated June 13, 2017

Birth mothers may consider giving up their children for adoption for a variety of reasons, such as outside pressures, financial issues, personal reasons and often to provide a better life for the child. When an adoption takes place, the birth mother can experience a wide range of benefits, but usually not without some negative aspects. Birth mothers often find solace in support groups or counseling to help deal with the life event.


Adoption is an option for expectant mothers that offers a variety of benefits. Expenses associated with the pregnancy, such as prenatal costs, doctors' visits, the birth of the child and legal fees, are often covered. Support and counseling services for the birth mother are provided, and housing may be available, according to, Adoption may be the answer to an otherwise very difficult or even devastating situation, and it may open up possibilities for birth mothers to pursue their goals and dreams that might not possible when raising a child while knowing that they are also providing their babies with a more secure future. The birth mother can choose the adoptive parents to help ensure her newborn is going to a family that she is comfortable with and who might even allow future contact with the child.


When a mother gives up her child for adoption, she goes through a period of loss – even though the child is alive and adoption is a choice. The Child Welfare Information Gateway suggests that birth mothers might experience various stages of grief, such as shock, denial, sorrow, depression, anger, guilt and finally acceptance. A birth mother can also feel that she is missing out on her role as a parent to the child she gave up for adoption. These feelings of loss may be triggered from events such as a child's birthday. Support groups and counseling can be helpful to birth mothers who are processing these feelings.

Identity Issues

After giving up a baby for adoption, a birth mother can question her role as a parent or her relationship with the adopted child. Some birth mothers have difficulty determining how to be in the life of the children being raised by their adoptive parents. This is especially true when birth mothers interact with the adoptive families in open or semi-open adoptions. The Child Welfare Information Gateway reports that some birth mothers want to play a non-kin role and still maintain a relationship. After choosing adoption, a birth mother must decide on her own how to incorporate being a birth parent into her identity.

Future Relationships

Choosing adoption can affect a birth mother’s future relationships. According to an article from the mental health facility, the Betty Hardwick Center, telling future spouses, partners and children about an adoption can be difficult as birth mothers might fear blame or judgment. In an open-adoption situation, a birth mother may have to help cultivate the relationship between her spouse, any future children and her adopted child. However, the nature of the relationships is not completely up to the birth mother. The wishes of the adopted parents, child and any other people involved must also be taken in consideration, with the child's best interests at the heart of the decision.

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