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
We want to thank you for taking the time to get to know us a little better. We are excited to grow our family through adoption and we can’t wait to open our hearts and share our love, family, and sense of adventure with our child. We want our child to know and understand his or her adoption story and to actively participate in an open adoption in a way that is most comfortable for the birth family. We would love to exchange letters, pictures, and emails and to have occasional visits. We think that it will be important for our child to know his or her genetic family, to understand his or her background and culture, and most importantly, develop a relationship with his/her birth family. We look forward to meeting and getting to know the birth mother (birth father and family) of our future child, and we wish her peace and strength throughout this journey.
Both John and Alex grew up with friends and cousins who were adopted. Back then it was all closed adoptions. Having experienced closed adoption through their eyes, we believe maintaining some level of openness is best for our child. Plus that’s what all the experts say these days. We understand that that might feel very difficult for everyone at first. But over time we think it will be best for everyone to remain involved to whatever degree they (and we) feel comfortable with.
Our social worker came to our house today to ensure that we can provide adequate and non-dangerous shelter for our future child. We passed. 😉 In just a few short weeks we will be officially and legally approved to adopt.
One question she asked us was, “What do you think is the most challenging part of parenting?”
We looked at each other slightly bewildered. Where to begin?
Apparently most people answer “Sleep deprivation.” That seems rather short-sighted to us. We take the long view of things. Yes, we intend to adopt an infant and sleep deprivation will surely be a challenge. But that infant will grow to be a toddler and require potty-training. A wholly different challenge from what I hear. And eventually that child will become a teenager who wants to drive a car. Yikes! And even once s/he turns 18 and beyond, we will, of course, still worry. Parenthood is filled with challenges and they change year to year or even day to day. Out of 18+ years we couldn’t pick any single thing that will be most challenging.
Except perhaps the worry. Learning to live with the fact that we will worry over this child for the rest of our lives. Learning when to hold on tight and when to let go. That might be quite a challenge indeed.
Hi, we are John & Alex
andra. Thanks for taking the time to learn more about us. If you are considering placing a child for adoption we sincerely hope you arrive at a decision you feel good about. We understand that this is a difficult decision and that you have many options. We respect you and whatever choice feels right to you. Considering adoption takes a lot of strength and a lot of love for all involved. We have both.
Wine tasting in Willamette Valley, OR. June 2013
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Call or text us at 206.383.6471
Or contact our attorney at 206.728.5858 – Ask for Joan – Reference file # 1170