Open adoption means that potential adoptive parents create marketing brochures to educate birth parents about their existence. Birth parents reach out to communicate with you initially based on your brochure or Dear Birthmother Letter. Most adoptive families will tell you that this is the most difficult part of the adoption process, writing a short letter convincing someone to give you her child.
The text and images have to be approved by the adoption agency. It sounds rigid, but it’s not. They have done this many, many times. Adoption counselors have sat in rooms with birth parents and listened to how they reasoned with their choice in an adoptive family. I had to go through six written drafts and my images had to be redone several times. I found myself asking strange questions like:
Beginning of text from Dear Birthmother Letter
To a special person:
Hello, my name is Amy Brown from the beautiful city of Greensboro, North Carolina. You have a lot to consider and I admire your bravery and courage. I am looking forward to meeting you to learn more about and your plans for your child, to the extent that makes you most comfortable. I am so grateful that you are considering me as an adoptive parent for your child. Thank you so much for your time and I would love to talk with you about your hopes and dreams of your child.
I am a single woman who is a daughter, sister, friend and teacher. I also would love being a mom and can’t wait to share my life with a child. I have spent some time becoming who I wanted to be by pursuing my education and career. I love working in eLearning for the local college. My job involves working with faculty members to help them teach students online with the latest technology. I love having a job that give me such a flexible schedule. I am so glad that I’ll have lots of time to help my child with his or her homework after school.
When I am not behind a computer, you can find me hiking with friends on a local trail, kayaking on the lake or trying to convince my garden to grow. I love the outdoors and I can’t wait to play at one of our two neighborhood parks with my little one! When the weather keeps me inside, you can find me in a dance class, doing Pilates at a local studio and trying out new recipes for my friends. I can’t wait to teach my child the importance of being active and finding activities that he or she will love.
Animals have always been a part of my life. I have two energetic cats named Rufus and Ollie who love children, especially when they play with their toys. As a child, there were always animals in our home. From dogs, to cats, fish and turtles, if you name it, we probably had it. I hope that my child will enjoy growing up surrounded by animals. I can’t wait to see my child hold a brand new puppy for the first time!
Family and Friends:
I come from a family with lots of siblings and cousins. My parents are so excited about being grandparents! My child will never lack for love or affection in my family. Most of my family lives only a few minutes away and we love getting together to celebrate life and be silly. My grandmother’s cookies will be a favorite for my little one, just like every other child in our family.
I’m also so lucky to have fantastic friends. My best friends, Jenn and Sara, are like family to me and I know that they will always be there for my child. My friends share my passion for being active. They share my love of the outdoors, being silly and embracing diversity that life has to offer. We love attending local music festivals dancing, singing and juggling together. My child will always be surrounded by fantastic role models. They will always be ready to be there for my child at any moment’s notice.
Home and Community:
I live in Greensboro, a family-friendly town located in the center of North Carolina. Hop in the car and drive either east or west for a few hours and you land at the beach or the mountains. As a child, our family did just that and I can’t wait to do the same with my little one. I fondly remember climbing rocks, building forts and belly flops in the pool with my brothers and cousins around me. I plan to continue this tradition of travel and family time with my child with lots of little trips in all directions. I look forward to seeing my child building sand castles on the beach surrounded by lots of cousins.
My home is in a neighborhood with access to the best school district in town. I can’t wait for the day when I walk my child to school on the first day of kindergarten. My neighborhood also has two great parks less than 10 minutes walking distance from my front door. A branch of the local library specializing in children’s literature is also close by. I can’t wait to take my child there for an afternoon adventure for story time. There are children of all ages that live in my neighborhood. New playmates for my child are always just around the corner.
I know that you have a lot to consider. What ever you decide, I wish you the very best and I hope that you will find what you are seeking through this process. I promise that my child will always be my highest priority. I will always give my best to my little one as a parent. I want my child to embrace who he or she is and find happiness and understanding in life. I would love to develop a caring relationship with you that will endure for years to come, to the extent that you prefer. You are welcome in this family in whatever capacity is most comfortable for you. Thank you again for taking the time to learn more about me.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
With Love and Respect,
End of text from Dear Birthmother Letter
The letter is a four-page colorful brochure with orange, green and purple headings with a variety of images of me with others. The image on the cover is just of me. I had to have that image retaken the most. I hate my nose and joker like smile in most images. The few images that I liked, the adoption agency did not like.
My friends with kids were gracious enough to loan them for photo shoots with me. I am running and playing in the park with sweet red-haired Annie. I am laughing with my nephew Ty at a party. Amaleigh pretended to work with me in the garden. My friend Sara and I posed for a photo at my first 5K race. There is an image of me sitting behind my grandmother and mother at an event. My cats Ollie and Rufus like to sleep with their arms wrapped around each other so I used that image as an attention grabber. Finally, I am playing jump rope and drawing with sidewalk chalk with Olivia and Amaleigh outside of my house.
All adoptive parents are advised to get toll-free phone numbers for the birth parents to use to contact them instead of their personal phone numbers. That was a wise move. It tells you quickly at the person on the other end of the phone is a birth parent. I found a service online that would ring directly to my cell phone but indicate that it was from my adoption line. I also had a separate email address and website just for the adoption.
Standing in the hospital room with my son’s birth mother and many adoption brochures on her side table, I had to ask why she picked me. She liked the idea that I was an educator. That was a profession that she chose for herself and hopes complete in the near future.
See, in the end, you can only be yourself. She never remarked on my shirt color choice, the size of my nose or the joker-like quality of my smile. She saw a person who was doing what she wanted to do and she wanted her son to be in that environment.