Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Michael Chovanec


Social Work


Birth mothers who have placed one or more children for adoption experience a variety of difficult emotions both during and after the placement of the child. The literature reveals the idea that there needs to be an increase in the support available to birth mothers following placement. The literature also discusses the grief that birth mothers experience post placement and the importance of addressing and helping birth mothers grieve. However, there was a lack of research suggesting the best ways to engage birth mothers in post-adoptive grief work. This systematic review aims to examine past research to reveal the best approaches to increase birth mother participation in post-adoptive grief work. This was done by reviewing a total of 12 articles and abstracting common themes from all. Of the 12 articles, all of them discussed birth mothers and the grief experienced as well as recommendations for practice. None of the articles discussed successful programs already in place for post-adoptive birth mothers. After analyzing the articles, four common themes were found. Implications and recommendations for practice and gaps in the research are addressed to provide proper post-adoptive grief work to post-adoptive birth mothers, including an emphasis on counseling pre-placement.

Included in

Social Work Commons