Adolescent Birth Mothers Following Unintended Pregnancy and Infant Open Adoption

Wednesday, July 13, 2011: 3:45 PM

Lynn B. Clutter, PhD, RN, BC, CNS, CNE
School of Nursing, Langston University, Tulsa, OK

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify three aspects of each of the following topics: unintended pregnancy, adolescent birth mothers, and infant open adoption.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will examine seven--birth mother described--research findings from the acronym, AFRESH: A–adoption accomplishments; F–fresh start; R–relationships; E–emotions; S–support; H–healing.

Purpose: Birth mothers are those who have become pregnant and have decided to make an adoption plan.  Open adoption is when the birth and adoptive families have some degree of knowledge about each other and may have some degree of relationship.  Birth mothers of open adoption are not well known or studied. This study explored birth mothers’ experiences surrounding unintended pregnancy, birth, infant open adoption placement, and birth mothers after placement.

Methods:  This qualitative dissertation study used naturalistic inquiry using tape recorded telephone interviews, de-identified verbatim transcripts, and systematic analysis. Birth mother samples were at either 1 to 5 years or 5 to 15 years after infant open adoption placement. 


Birth mothers of both samples were unanimous in support of open adoption indicating it was one of the most difficult but best decisions of their life.

            The birth mothers who were interviewed 1 to 5 years post-placement shared experiences from pre-pregnancy, pregnancy with the decision for open adoption placement and choice of adoptive family, birth in context of adoptive parents and birth child, post-partum and discharge. Post-placing birth mother findings were presented using the acronym AFRESH: A–adoption accomplishments; F–fresh start; R–relationships; E–emotions; S–support; H–healing.  


Benefits of open adoption far outweighed challenges. Birth children were viewed as thriving and having wonderful lives. Adoptive families were cherished like extended family. Birth mothers thought health care providers should share the option, and then provide adoption friendly care. They also advised pregnant teens to choose open adoption.

            Clutter, L.. Adolescent birth mothers after unintended pregnancy and infant open adoption. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University, United States -- Indiana. Retrieved December 7, 2010, from Dissertations & Theses: Full Text.(Publication No. AAT 3397458).