The unbroken cord: the experience of infant relinquishment through adoption.
This descriptive, exploratory study was designed to develop an understanding of women's experiences with infant relinquishment through adoption. Twelve women participated in the study. In this society, the single pregnant woman considering adoption has two acceptable alternatives: (a) closed adoption or (b) open adoption. The adoption type chosen by women had a profound impact on how they experienced infant relinquishment. Participation in either type affected the women's attitudes and their management of their pregnancies. Also affected was their decision to relinquish and their view of life following relinquishment. Through the use of field research employing ethnographic techniques content analysis, the process of relinquishment developed from the following four major themes: 'Alone, Afraid, and Pregnant' encapsulated the mother's reactions to her attitudes and solitary feelings about the pregnancy; 'What To Do, What To Do: Deliberating Relinquishment' involved weighing the pros and cons of relinquishment, initiating an adoption type, and complying with the decision; and 'I Really Am A Mother: The Hospital Experience' described the conflict and disappointment experienced by the woman as the result of delivering a baby but not being treated like a 'mother' by family, friends, or hospital staff. The issue of choice of adoption type was central to these three thematic descriptions. The fourth theme, 'The Unbroken Cord: Living With Relinquishment,' represented how the experience changed the course of the women's lives in terms of career, relationships, and families. All participants expressed a desire for a future reunion with their child as they have come to gradually acknowledge and accept the relinquishment as a 'necessary loss.' Towards a model, a conceptual portrait of the relinquishing birthmother was developed from the data analysis.
University of Utah;
Field Research; Birthmother;
Adoption; Questionnaires; Ethics;
University of Utah;
Relation-Is Version Of
Digital reproduction of “The unbroken cord: the experience of infant relinquishment through adoption.” Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library. Print version of “The unbroken cord: the experience of infant relinquishment through adoption.” available at J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collection. HV15.5 1992 .L38.