Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)



First Advisor

Robert J. Nash


When I was just 17, and in my first year of college, I found out I was pregnant and I had to navigate my way through adoption and healing after relinquishment. Adoption is a difficult choice. There is no one path that each birth parent follows, and there is no one road to healing that works either. Each birth parent's experience is unique. Adoption and being a birth parent has historically carried a stigma of shame for "giving up' a child. In just the last 40 years, an adoption renaissance has brought new understandings about the process, the opportunities for open relationships with birth parents and their children, and the need for long-term support for birth parents and adoptive parents.

The birth parent experience can be one of love, respect, and compassion with the child and adoptive parents. I share my story to help those who face a similar situation; I hope that my story and supporting research can help others consider options and give them hope. In my profession as a high school teacher, I have had several pregnant students who faced difficult choices. I tell my story for all educators because understanding adoption and the birth parent experience can help other professionals practice empathy and understanding for their students facing this situation. Because of my own experience, I think I understand their fears and issues, and am able to give compassionate guidance.



Number of Pages

73 p.