The beginning of every birthparent/adoptive parent relationship is “the letter”. For adoptive parents writing a letter that fully encompasses who they are is a daunting task. It is difficult, if not impossible to know what prospective birthparents will want so many sleepless nights are spent figuring out what to say that will win someone’s heart.
Most adoption agencies present prospective adoptive parents guidelines to writing the letter. Some couples receive these guidelines and are staggered by them. Many even sit down and write answering every question. Usually those people will update their letter to include more of the spirit of who they are. Following are just a few pointers that might help.
#1 Be honest, but not too honest.
Birthparents don’t need to know how much you weigh. They also don’t need to know about Uncle Harry who is currently serving 5 to 10. They do want to know who you are. Be honest about why you are adopting. Be honest about the love you can give a child. Don’t embellish. Trust that you are a person or couple that would make great parents.
#2 Share information about your family
Birthparents love to know about happy families (you may need to refer to #1). Husbands and wives, grandparents and other extended family tend to be important to birthparents. How long you have been married and how happy you are as a couple is also important. Birthparents generally don’t have a checklist makes $60,000, two kids, one dog, etc. Most of them are looking for the person who feels right. Help them know you and your family.
#3 Share your parenting philosophy.
This sounds daunting and you may be thinking, “Do I even have a parenting philosophy?” That simply means share how you feel about raising kids. Is this something you have waited a long time for? Will you be putting them in day care? Do you believe in spending a lot of time with your children? Will both parents be involved? These are all things that help them make a decision. As in #1 however, don’t try to say what you think they want to hear. Say what is truly in your heart.
#4 Let them know of your love of them and the decision they are making.
All birthparents are making a sacrifice most people will never understand including adoptive parents. Most birthparents need to know that you love them. They need to know that you will not forget they exist and that you will tell the child about them and how much they (the birthparents) love that child. There are birthparents who are not interested in having any contact in the future. However, in today’s changing world it seems healthy for the birthparent to know that the child will be raised to love them, not hate them.
The most important part of any letter sent to birthparents is just to be you. If you are funny, be funny. If you are organized, happy, or even scatterbrained let them feel who you are through the things you write. Birthparents are looking for someone who will love and raise their child in a way that is in keeping with and respecting the sacrifice that is being made. Love them, and they will love you.