How to write a Birthmother Letter

As I had written in my previous post my husband and I felt that writing the “Dear Birthparents letter” was one of the most difficult tasks that we had to complete to join
American Adoptions. It was the last step we completed after building our family profile and it took us a week to complete. Now it’s been a little over two years since we wrote our letter, but I still recall the apprehension and anxiety I felt when I sat down, with a notepad, on the couch across from my husband to start the letter.

I also remember reading some information and advice that was given to us by our agency when writing the birthparents letter. But this was mostly about proper wording and phrasing. It certainly did not tell us how to write a one page letter conveying what our hopes and dreams were of building a family and the respect and admiration we had for our prospective birthmother. I’m also sure that I spent some time on the internet looking for suggestions on how to write it. But in the end we just sat down and wrote from our heart.

Currently, if you research online, there is some information about writing the Dear Birthmother letter. A book titled Reaching Out, by Nelson Handel, I came across often. I also came across some articles and letters written by birthmother’s expressing what they thought of the Dear Birthmother Letter. Now I think it’s a good idea to take the time to look at what others have to say about writing the letter, but I also think one has to be very careful about taking too much advice. There is no wrong way to write a birthmother letter. I believe if you take too much time researching how to write it instead of just writing it, the letter may no longer sound original. It will just be another similar Dear Birthmother letter, sounding just like everyone else’s.

Of course I can’t just title a post “How to write a Birthmother Letter” without giving out some advice. So I will suggest some pointers here. Read them and take what you like and dismiss those points that you may not fit your needs.

– Make sure that you write the letter as a couple. Maybe you are hesitant in thinking that your spouse could find the words to express what you are feeling and then write them in a letter. But do not sell your spouse short. This is especially true for wives when considering writing the letter with their husbands. I was pleasantly shocked when I started writing our letter with my husband. He came up with some wonderful wording and expressive thoughts for our letter.

– When discussing aspects of you or as a couple try to be more specific than general. If you love going to museums, what kind do you like going to? If you love baseball, who is you favorite team? (Include this unless you are a Yankees fan and your potential birthmother is a Red Sox fan.) These specifics are what are going to connect you with a birthmother. For example a prospective adoptive mother wrote to an expectant woman that she loved baking chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate chip cookies were the expectant women’s favorite cookies and therefore she picked the couple.

– Keep in mind when writing the letter that although it’s called a Dear Birthmother letter, a woman is not a birthmother until after the baby is born and she has relinquished her parental rights. Otherwise she is an expectant woman formulating an adoption plan. Therefore, you may actually want to just use the greeting of “Hi” or “Hello” instead of “Dear Birthmother” or “Birthparent”.

– Keeping in mind the above point, you should refrain from referring to the child as “our baby” or “our child”. It is still her baby when she is reading the letter. Therefore you may want to make reference to “her baby” in the letter.

– And most importantly, write from your heart and be honest. When you finally write the letter, put away the sample letters, books, shut down the computer, and just write.

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About Kathy Sheldon

My name is Kathy Sheldon and I live in Northern NJ with my husband, Jeff, my 15 month old son, Connor, two cats, a bird, and the newest addition our 10 week old Bernese Mountain puppy. I graduated from Buffalo State College and then went on to earn a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from Pace University. Prior to my son being born I worked for 7 years in a Domestic Violence Shelter in New York City with women and their children. I counseled women and their families individually and in groups. For the last five years at the shelter I was in administration and management. I resigned from my position as Director of Client Services after Connor was born because my commute into New York City was too long from where we live. When my son Connor was 4 months old I decided to start my Direct Sales Business with the Traveling Vineyard. I chose In Home Wine Tastings because I really enjoy wine and wanted to learn more about it. It was then that I started to write my first blog, "Traveling Wine Adventures." Since my son was adopted and my husband, and I had such a wonderful experience with our adoption and American Adoptions, I inquired with them about doing Adoption Home Studies and was hired contractually in September. I also have started to do Adoption Seminars locally for prospective adoptive parents. In August of 2005 I started my second blog "Working Moms Wanted". I started it because I found myself in place like many new Moms, needing to find work but not knowing if it would be better to work out of my home or get an outside job. My husband and I are socially active people and enjoy spending a lot of our time with families in the neighborhood and our own families. In addition we enjoy many hobbies. I enjoy running, reading, writing, cooking, and of course spending time with Connor.