Impact of Adoption on Birth Parents

This information was taken directly from Child Welfare Information Gateway

This factsheet discusses some of the emotional issues that parents may face after making the decision to place an infant for adoption, in surrendering the child, and in handling the feelings that often persist afterwards. It may be a helpful resource for birth parents as well as family members, friends, and others who want to support birth parents. It may also provide insight to adopted persons and adoptive parents who want to understand the struggles faced by birth parents.

The information provided also may be applicable to parents whose children have been removed from their home and whose parental rights have been terminated. It is difficult to generalize about the feelings or experiences of all birth parents. Many birth parents feel that the child will have a better life in an adoptive home and are putting the child’s best interests ahead of their own when they make the decision to place the child for adoption (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2007). Other reasons birth parents place their children for adoption include societal and family attitudes, personal goals and ambitions, and socioeconomic situations (Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, 2007). Each birth parent has faced a unique experience and dealt with the situation in his or her own way, but certain themes emerge in the literature, including grief, guilt, and resolution. This factsheet addresses these issues, as well as issues concerning possible contact. Helpful resources, such as websites, documents, and organizations, provide additional information.


Responding to the Adoptive Placement

Gaining Control and Resolution

Maintaining Contact

Conclusion and Additional Resources

Continue to Responding to the Adoptive Placement

Return to Pregnancy


Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2013). Impact of adoption on birth parents. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau.