We now know quite a lot about the reactions of birth mothers who request adoption for their children. While it is not the case for all relinquishing birth mothers, research indicates that many suffer an intense and prolonged sense of loss and grief (Winkler and Van Keppel 1984; Bouchier et al. 1991; Howe et al. 1992; Hughes and Logan 1993; Wells 1993). As adoption has developed into a service for lookedafter children who cannot return to live with their birth parents, researchers and agencies have become more concerned with the needs of birth mothers who oppose adoption for their children. These mothers not only lose their children against their wishes, but they are additionally burdened with a social and judicial assessment that they are unfit to be parents. Mason and Selman (1998: 275) discuss the importance of providing a service for non-relinquishing birth parents who ‘felt that no one in Social Services had any interest in them once their children had been removed so that most felt angry, guilty and useless’. Research suggests that birth mothers who refuse their agreement to adoption or who contest adoption applications frequently experience similar feelings to those reported by relinquishing birth mothers (Hughes and Logan 1993; Mason and Selman 1997 and 1998; Charlton et al. 1998; Crank 2002). Robinson (2000 and 2002) suggests that birth mothers suffer from disenfranchised grief in the sense that the loss of a child through adoption does not attract the same acknowledgement, sympathy and support as other experiences of loss. As we explain in Chapter 8, researchers have also been interested in the nature of sibling relationships and the incidence and consequences of separation for siblings who become looked after by local authorities or placed for adoption (Mullender 1999).