Thursday, October 7, 2010

How to Write A "Dear Bithmother" Letter

Pen and Paper Pictures, Images and Photos

If you have ever been through the process of domestic adoption (within the U.S), you probably know what a "Dear Birthmother" letter is, and you know how difficult it is. If you ever plan to adopt domestically, you will one day learn how to write one. And let me tell you, it is a lot harder than it sounds. I did a lot of research while writing my letter, and I wrote and re-wrote it many many times.

A "Dear Birthmother" letter is just what it sounds like. It's a letter that you write to potential birthmoms. It goes into your family profile that the birthmoms view while choosing which family they want to parent their child. It tells them who you are and what you're about. With our agency, Brandon and I each write our own letter, trying to keep it at a page's length. Trust me, it is no easy task! I spent MONTHS (off and on) working on mine. How in the world do you sum everything about yourself up into one page? Even harder, how can I be loving and accepting of someone when I have NO idea what they are thinking or feeling??? Through my journey of writing my letter, these are some tips that I gathered and liked. I got them from different places, and some came from friends, and even a birthmother herself. So, here are my tips for writing your "Dear Birthmother" letter.

  • Don't immediately choose "Dear Birthmother" as your introduction. While that is the standard intro, I personally chose "Dear Expectant Parent." Why? Because for one, she isn't a birthmother until she relinquishes her rights. Right now, she is just an expectant mother trying to make a decision for her baby. Second, don't forget the father! A lot of times, the father isn't in the picture, but sometimes he is, and we don't want to exclude him. It isn't WRONG to choose the standard intro, but do it for the right reasons.
  • It is common in the first paragraph to ramble about how you idolize her, how thankful you are for her choice, or how you know this must be a hard decision. Do yourself a favor. Don't. No matter how hard you may try, you can never even begin to know what she is feeling or thinking. You have NO clue. So don't pretend to. It's insulting.
  • Don't tell her how heroic she is. She probably doesn't feel heroic.
  • Keep the first paragraph simple. Don't overdo it. I started by thanking her for reading my letter, let her know I was praying for her, and whatever decision she makes is ok. Even if she decides to parent.
  • In the following paragraphs, tell her who you are. What you're about. What are your hobbies? What do you do for fun alone and as a couple? What do you do for a living? What is your family like? What's important to you? Tell her about your childhood. Tell her what kind of parent you want to be. Pets? Other children? Tell her.
  • Be honest. Be you. My final letter took the shortest time to write, because I stopped overthinking and just wrote from the heart. She knows you aren't perfect so don't pretend to be.
  • Every birthmom is different, and they are each looking for something different. You can't possibly know what she will want, so don't try to make up an image of what she wants and pretend to be that. Just be YOU. God has a baby out there for you, and regardless of your letter, he will make sure to grab her attention! It's ok to present yourself in "your best light." She expects that. Just don't sugarcoat it.
  • This isn't a sales pitch. Don't pressure her, or tell her what she'll get if she gives you her baby. We want our children to come to us, but for the right reasons. I want our birthmom to choose us because she feels it is the best choice for her child, not because it's the only choice. And definitely not because she feels sorry for us!
  • Stay away from saying "our child," or "my child." At the time that she reads the letter, it's not your child. It's still hers.

There is no certain format that will guarantee a referral within 30 days, so to speak. Just be respectful of this woman who is faced with such a decision. Love her.

Most importantly, PRAY for your birthmom, and for each mom who reads your letter. More than likely, there will be many. Pray that they have the peace and guidance they need to make the right decision for their child. Let God handle the rest.

Feel free to ask me questions! I am no professional, I am just learning this journey for myself, and thought I would share what I am learning with you!


Kate said...

Kelly, this is a great post. I'm sure this information will be beneficial to other struggling to write their letters.

Kelly said...

Kelly, thank you so much for visiting and commenting on my blog! Also, thank you for leaving your blog for me to check out! Its is awesome. The post about GOD turning bad situations into good one's has really hit home to me. Please e-mail me, as well...

I would love to hear more about your story, as well!!!