For every one child placed for adoption, there are up to 36 families waiting to adopt. As a prospective adoptive parent, you want to show expectant/birth parents who you are, why you are different, and what will make you the best possible parent for their child. You want the chance to express your hopes, dreams, values, and the endless amount of love you can give to a child. You want to paint a picture of who you are and the life you can provide. But how?
A “Dear Birthmother letter,” better known as a “Dear Expectant Parent” or “Dear Birth Parent” letter, is one of the most prominent ways you can reach those who are making an adoption plan. It is a personal letter written by you, a potential adoptive parent, to expectant/birth parents considering adoption for their baby. Typically, this letter accompanies your Adoptive Parent Profile and is often the first thing an expectant/birth parent will read to learn more about you, your home, and your family. In this sense, your “Dear Birth Parent” letter is what makes the first impression.
At Adoptions With Love, we often get asked the question, “What are expectant/birth parents looking for in this letter?” or, “How can we make our letter different from all the rest?” There is no one simple answer. Every prospective family is different. Every birth family is different. Some may be looking for an adoptive family who will give their child siblings. Some may want this baby to be the first child for these parents. Some may purely be looking for a special connection.
To help guide you in writing your “Dear Birth Parent” letter, here are five tips on what to include, how to converse with an expectant/birth parent, and how to make your letter stand out.
- Use appropriate adoption language – While this letter is frequently called a “Dear Birthmother letter,” remember that both women and men may read your letter and many have not yet given birth nor made an adoption plan. Addressing them in this way may make them feel obligated to fulfill a certain role. Out of respect and empathy for expectant parents still considering adoption, try to use a different salutation when addressing your reader. For example, use “Dear Expecting Mother/Parents” or a simple “Hi there” to begin. Continue to use positive, respectful adoption language throughout your letter, too. Instead of saying “give up for adoption,” try “make an adoption plan.”
- Be yourself – This letter is often intimidating for many waiting families. You want to make yourself sound like the perfect parent. Try to remember that no one is perfect. You do not have to overpromise, exaggerate, or pretend to be someone you are not. If you want an open and long-term relationship with a birth family, it is important to be honest from the start. More than anything, expectant/birth parents are looking for authenticity in these letters. They want to get to know the real you. You do not have to appeal to every expectant parent. The one that likes what you have to say, that shares your views or passions, will be right for you.
- Paint a picture of your life – Most expectant/birth parents want to visualize the life their child will have, both now and in the future. What will their neighborhood be like? What types of activities will they do with their adoptive parents? Where will they eat dinner each night? Your relationship with extended family members such as grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. These are details that may seem small to you, but mean a lot to those considering adoption. In your letter, be as descriptive as possible in writing about your home, your community, your hobbies, your family members and even your favorite vacation spots. Show how a child will fit in with your lifestyle. What do you look forward to doing with your child? Where will your child play, go to school, or spend the holidays? Use concrete examples, sensory details, and include photographs to further show who you are.
- Empathize – To connect with expectant/birth parents, you must show that you care about, empathize with, and respect both them and their decision. Before writing this letter, try to put yourself in an expectant parent ’s shoes. Remember, every woman and man’s story is different and you may not know exactly what they are going through. Try not to make assumptions about why she may be considering adoption. Simply acknowledge that this is a difficult and emotional time in their lives and that you want to be there for them should she need extra support.
- Be the solution – Many expectant/birth parents choose adoption because they cannot provide a fulfilling life for their baby at the time. As a result, they are looking for a family who will give their child a life full of love, support, and opportunities. In your Dear Expectant Parent letter, be sure to communicate exactly what you can offer to a child: unconditional love, emotional and financial support, a safe and stable home, a good education. Be the solution that they are seeking.