The “Dear Birthmother” Letter is the backbone of adoption outreach, and seems to be the first step for adoptive parents in finding a child. It’s a really strange thing to write. At its core it’s an open letter to random pregnant women trying to convince them to give you their baby. Writing it feels a bit barbaric, and counter to everything social convention has ever made you feel it’s ok to say to another person. “You know that child growing inside you? I hear you may not want to keep it, so why not give it to us? Here’s why we’re so awesome, please call.”
But strange as it may seem, it’s an important step. It’s our introduction to these pregnant women, our chance to make a good first impression. Hopefully they’ll read something they like, something they identify with, or that they want for their unborn child. Hopefully they choose us.
So how do you write a letter asking someone you don’t know to give you their unborn baby? As I stare at the blank screen and blinking cursor I’m not really sure where to start. I find myself wondering, what would I want to read, if I were a birthmother? How would I be feeling? What would I be looking for? Trying to get inside the head of a woman making this kind of decision is hard for me. I’ve spent so long trying to get pregnant, how do I relate to a woman who wishes she wasn’t? I have hoped to raise a child for so long, it’s hard to understand someone who is giving up that chance.
Then I realize the one thing we have in common, the birthmother and me. We both want to give a child the best home possible, a happy, loving life. We both want it to have exciting experiences, make lasting memories, and feel hope for the future. Most of all, we want it to know that it’s loved. That’s our common ground. So I write about who we are, and the life we want to give our child. I don’t say that I understand what she’s going through, because I don’t. But I do respect her, and the search she has to find the right family for her baby. And I wonder, is there a birthmother out there who wants what we have to give?