Friday, February 18, 2011

Dear Bio Parent...

My girls, holding hands.


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.

3 comments:

Shelley said...

I know our daughter's bio mom absolutely loves getting our letters and cards. She usually immediately texts that it has arrived and that it made her day. She also enjoys when she receives handmade stuff...whether its a card I've made and incorporated a picture into, or something that our E has drawn or painted. E's bio dad has also shown his appreciation for the letters/pictures/art we send. No sucking up and doing it needed...I enjoy it also, and can't imagine it any other way. It's the least we can do...

JBH said...

Do you get responses back?

Nicole said...

Hi Rachel, thanks for stopping by my blog. I always like to hear from someone on the "other side". I had to comment on this post as I am a bio mom, hope you don't mind my input.

My adoption was closed and the terms of the adoption were that the parents were required to write once a month for the first six months and send pictures when they could. After that they could choose to continue or stop at their leisure.

My son's adoptive parents did only what was required and sent a total of 10 photos. I have to say that the letters that meant the most to me were the letters that had emotions and feelings in them. Often the amom would include stats on eating, sleeping weight and such, but it felt cold. It didn't mean anything to me because I didn't have any children to know how they are supposed to be growing and eating. She also once said "I don't know how you could have given away your baby, it must of been so hard". I'm sure what she meant was she was trying to sympathize with what I had gone through but it didn't quite come out that way and brings me to tears EVERY time I read it.

When adad wrote his letter it was very meaningful because he told me how he felt about my son, now their son. He expressed fears, hopes and gratefulness. It is the letter that means the absolute most to me.

Since I have been in contact with my sons aparents over the last few years the updates I most enjoy are the ones where they tell me what my son is like. Where they tell me what he is up to and what his quirks are. I want to know all about him, not just his accomplishments. I want to know who he really is, not just what looks good on paper. I appreciate adad's honesty.

I realize that when you are communicating on a continual basis (which I commend you for) that this may be more taxing and difficult to always get emotional, but I promise you that what she wants to hear most is how you feel about this child and that you are thankful for her sacrifice.

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