Dear Birth Mother,
Last month we listened to a panel of birth mothers speak. While we didn’t exactly hear anything that surprised us it was both emotional and educational to hear those 5 brave women share their stories – in some cases for the first time. Although each woman had a unique experience and story to tell, there were many common themes in their stories. We can only assume that you too will experience those common emotions. Emotions such as grief, loss, and powerlessness.
Some of these women were older and were essentially forced down the adoption path by their families in a time long ago where all things adoption and unwed mothers were hidden and young girls went to “stay with a sickly aunt” when they started to show. They weren’t even allowed to see their babies.
Others were coerced in some way. Whether by well-meaning social workers or unethical lawyers. Only 2 of the 5 women were able to make the decision entirely on their own. Despite this, most of them had no (or few) regrets about the decision itself, only the circumstances under which the decision was made.
Our hope is that you will decide, on your own and without coercion, that you want us to raise your child and that that decision will be be made out of love. That the child will grow up feeling loved not by one family but by two or more. We hope that you will be able to navigate your way through the inevitable grief you will feel. If there’s anything, anything at all, that we can do to help you through it, please tell us.
One common theme we heard from the birth mothers was how important pictures are. Several of these women were promised pictures on a set schedule and either didn’t receive any or only received the first installment and then…nothing. Some states have legally enforceable open adoption agreements (like Washington state where we live) and others don’t. But we can promise you that we will send pictures if you want them. As often as you want them. Alex is a shutterbug so there will be no shortage of pictures. If we ever get busy and forget to send them, a gentle reminder is all we will need. Never feel afraid to speak up and ask for what you need from us. We will do our best to accommodate you without you needing to ask, but no one is perfect and we aren’t mind readers. All these women (except the one in a very open adoption) felt so helpless and powerless. We don’t want you to feel that way. If you need something from us we will do our best to support you.
In short, you will be giving us a gift that we can never repay. The least we can do is respect you.
Alex & John