Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Family Sciences (MSFS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Family Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Ronald Werner-Wilson

Second Advisor

Dr. Rachel Farr


The current study explores the perceptions and experiences of support in a sample of birth mothers who relinquished parental rights though open or closed private adoption (e.g., religiously, and non-religiously affiliated private adoption agencies, adoption attorneys). Participants (N = 51) were birth mothers who placed a child for adoption at birth or within several months and who relinquished parenting rights 8 months to 50 years ago, with (M = 15.39) years since placement. A thematic analysis uncovered six overarching themes throughout the relinquishment process. Further, prevalence of themes in certain phases (i.e., pre-placement, during placement, post-placement) were shared among all participants. Reliability was strong for all themes. These findings hold important implications for policy and supports related to birth mothers’ well-being and adjustment.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)