Birthmothers’ Experiences of Voluntary Relinquishment
Johnson, Linda Nicole
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This study explores the experiences of contemporary birthmothers who voluntarily relinquish their infants for adoption through a licensed child placing agency. The qualitative approach utilizes elements of grounded theory underpinned by a constructivist paradigm. The nature of this qualitative inquiry aims to bring birthmothers’ voices to the forefront as a central focus of the study. This is particularly relevant to the population under study given that birthmothers’ voices and lived experiences have seldom been examined in the literature. Data was collected through in-depth interviews using a semistructured interview protocol. Through thematic analysis, major themes were identified. Findings from this study contribute to the knowledge base regarding contemporary birthmothers’ experiences of voluntary relinquishment, how birthmothers respond to relinquishment and risk and protective factors for relinquishment outcomes. Knowledge gained as a result of this study increases social work practitioners’ knowledge, which enhances their ability to provide support to birthmothers. Implications for policy, social work education and research are discussed. This study serves as a foundation for further inquiry.