This guide is designed to help you with one of the most important documents you'll ever write: A letter to a birthmom who is looking for a wonderful family to adopt her child.
We call it a “dear birthmom letter”. Your letter must persuade a woman at a difficult time in her life to let you adopt her baby.
This woman has made a courageous choice. She is considering adoption for her unborn child. And now she has another choice to make -- the parents who will raise her child. Not so long ago, most birth mothers had little say over who got their babies. An adoption agency or a religious organization handled that decision for them. But times have changed. These days, birth mothers will hear from many families who want to adopt their child. Your job is to make her feel that your family offers the best home and the best hope for her baby’s future.
Is the sweat already beginning to form on your brow? If so, don’t worry. This guide will help you get off to a strong start. And, if you desire, you can then send your draft to writing coach Dick Weiss who co-authored this guide with adoption attorney Steve Kirsh. Weiss and his partner and wife Sally Altman will edit and polish your draft so that it is as warm and persuasive as it can possibly be. You will find more information about this service at the end of this guide.
The first and most essential idea behind a “dear birthmom letter” is to tell your family’s story. Many prospective adoptive parents will say they are the best, most honest, decent, fun-loving, caring and compassionate people anyone would ever want to meet. The best letters though demonstrate this through storytelling. In other words, they don’t just tell. They show.
Stories, as you remember from your childhood, share a few important characteristics:
Characters – interesting, sometimes quirky people who have feelings and motivations. Above all they DO things that help define them.
A timeline -- There’s a beginning, middle and end. In your case, the timeline might include your growing up, meeting your spouse, your efforts to conceive a child, your decision to adopt.
Drama – Everyone in their life faces difficulties. The way in which they overcome them helps define them. You needn’t have rescued anyone from a burning building, but perhaps you cared for a family member after a car accident, or maybe you served in the military with all the sacrifice that involves in being away from family and loved ones. Or maybe there’s a little drama in how you met your spouse or how you dealt with infertility.
So your “dear birthmom letter” will tell a story, perhaps several of them. As you write it remember that the facts about you are important, but your character, personality, and feelings are more important. A well written letter will emphasize your feelings along the way.
Okay, you might be thinking, just where am I supposed to start?
Following is an outline for a good “dear birthmom letter”. With comments on how you might address each section. Don’t worry about whether your “dear birthmom letter” might sound like someone else’s. It won’t. The unique facts that you provide and the personality you give it by telling YOUR story will make it distinct and persuasive.
You introduce yourselves and quickly provide the birthmom with a concise overview of your family and your life. You are Tom and Mary. You live in a small town… or a big city. Describe your neighborhood. Do all this in general way for now because you will get back to it later.
Here’s a typical introduction:
Dear Birthmom. We’re Tom and Mary. We are grateful for the opportunity to write to you about our family, our home, and our hopes and dreams for a child. We’ve been happily married for over eight years and are looking forward to adopting a baby.
When we were first told that we could not give birth to a child, we were heartbroken. But after thinking about what was important to us, we realized that loving and nurturing a child was far more important than giving birth. Adoption offers us a chance to realize our dreams and to give a child a wonderful life and a bright future. We honor you for the courageous decision you have made to choose life for your baby and to look at all the options for securing your baby’s future. We want you to know that we are prepared to give this child a life filled with love and opportunity.
We live in the Midwest in a lovely two-story home with four bedrooms. Our home is at the end of a cul-de-sac in a neighborhood filled with young children. All of Mary’s family lives within two miles of our house.
Tom is a vice-president at the local bank. Yep, he’s got banker’s hours. Home by 6 p.m. every night. Until recently, Mary managed the local library. But she’s decided to be a stay-at-home mom once we adopt a baby.
Note the short simple sentences here. One thought per sentence. The idea here is to begin to convey a sense that you are personable, warm and stable without actually bragging about yourselves. Now it’s time to begin your story….