Birth (First) Parent Grief & Loss

Families experience profound grief and loss when children enter the child welfare system. Regardless of the circumstances, this grieving is valid, complex and often misunderstood. Despite its importance, few resources exist for parents whose children are parented by other caregivers, whether temporarily through foster care or long term through guardianship, kincare or adoption. Understanding more about everyone's grief and loss can help all family members and professionals better support the children we all care about. Remember, every story is unique! Please reference our Adoptee & Foster Voices and Trauma pages for more resources.

This page is inspired by and dedicated to a brave birth/first parent whose children went into foster care and who reached out to ORPARC for support. We admire her courage! We would like to acknowledge there is a clear lack of supports and resources for birth parents. However, many general grief resources can still be helpful.

A Birthmother's Journey (as told to) A Birthmother's Journey (as told to)"Love is a rainbow curving down from the sky, falling crystals of color, shades of warm that never die." ~Phil Ochs


Birth/first parent specific

Grief related

Recommended Books or Articles

Videos & Podcasts

Note on Language: Opinions and awareness on positive, respectful or honest adoption language and terms continue evolving. Best practice? Ask the individual themselves what they prefer.