Writing letters to my children's biological parents is something I enjoy. But as you can guess, I love to write. :)
I admit, it was quite intimidating the first few times I wrote to my oldest daughter's birth mother. I didn't want to say anything that would upset her; after all, she had just given us her flesh and blood. How heartbreaking! But the more I wrote, the more confident I grew.
What I typically include in letters:
- The child's height/weight, based on a recent doctor's visit, or our own measurements
- How much/what she is eating.
- Clothing size (to demonstrate growth).
- Language development (new words/sounds)
- Physical development (first steps? new tooth?)
- Unique experiences---a trip to the zoo, Christmas, a family vacation, etc.
- Firsts---first smile, first word, first bite of chocolate :)
- Favorites---foods, activities, friends
- Any hardships---an illness, a stage of defiance, unique challenges (biting---oh no!)
I also include a lot of pictures, anywhere from 10-25 per letter. I make sure to send a variety of photographs showing everyday and special activities. I usually write captions on the back with the date the photo was taken and what was going on in the picture. Do I include pics of the whole family? Sometimes, but most photos are just of the child by herself. If any professional pictures were taken, I always send the bio parents a copy or two.
At holidays I usually send a card, and this includes the smaller holidays like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Halloween, etc. I'm a card freak. :) The Hallmark ladies know me (and my girls) by name.
I believe it's best that the letters are honest and detailed. Just like a good conversation---there's some humor, there's some seriousness, there are details, and there's good old honesty.
I'm asked by many, how often do we send letters? Usually it's every other month. Why this time frame? It gives me time to get pictures copied and to send a hearty letter (usually 2 pages), and it isn't so far apart that the bio parents think we've forgotten about them.
How do I stay organized? I keep a running letter on my computer desktop at all times. If one of my girls does something interesting, has a first experience, sees the doctor, etc., I update the letter with that information. I can then save the letter so my daughters can read them in the future. Keeping a running letter is helpful so that I don't forget any details I want to share.
I usually print the letters on fun stationary, which I have plenty of. I want the letter to arrive bright and cheerful---not bland.
How do I sign the letters? This is often a detail adoptive parents struggle over. "Love"? "Sincerely"? Nothing at all but names? It really depends on the relationship. There is no perfect answer.
I think the point is---suck it up and do it! No matter your emotions as an adoptive parent, those letters usually mean A LOT to the biological parents. They entrusted you with their children, so why not put forth effort and enjoy the journey.