Postplacement Relationships Between Birth Mothers and Their Romantic Partners

Susan M. Henney, Cynthia A. French, Susan Ayers-Lopez, Ruth G. McRoy, Harold D. Grotevant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Using a mixed-methods approach, the understudied population of birth mothers who placed their infants for adoption 12-20 years ago was explored in the context of their romantic relationships. In a semistructured interview, 104 birth mothers answered detailed questions about their romantic relationships and adoption-related experiences. All birth mothers had disclosed the adoption placement to their romantic partners, and most had done so early because they wanted to be truthful about their past. On average, the birth mothers were satisfied with their romantic relationships and almost half did not believe that the adoption had affected it. Regarding contact in the adoption, a majority of the birth mothers' romantic partners (63.5%) were not directly involved in contact with the adoptive family or adopted youth. Implications about how adoption is perceived and processed within intimate relationships are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)620-624
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011


  • Adoption
  • Birth mother
  • Openness in adoption
  • Romantic relationships


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