When you chose open adoption, you started your child on a journey of love. Many birth mothers wish to continue that legacy by writing a letter of love to their child.
This is not an easy task. How can you find the right words to express the love you feel for your child? How can you fully capture all of the emotions surrounding your decision to choose adoption?
Here are 10 tips for writing a letter that conveys what your child’s adoption truly means:
1. Focus on quality over quantity.
You don’t need to write a novel. Your child will appreciate reading your honest, vulnerable feelings, whether they are written in three paragraphs or three pages.
2. Tell your child that he is not forgotten.
You did not “give him away.” You chose adoption because you love him.
3. Tell the story of your child’s birth.
Children love hearing about the day they were born. Share any specifics you can remember – the time, your child’s weight, who was there. What were you thinking? How did you feel when you held her for the first time? This was likely a bittersweet experience, so it’s OK to share the pain as well as the love you felt.
4. Discuss your child’s father or other family members.
Share the love that they all feel for your child. Let your child know that he is in the hearts and minds of an extended family. They may even want to contribute to your letter of love or write letters of their own.
5. Share the reasons why you chose adoption.
What were your life circumstances that led you to make this decision of love for your child? It’s OK to let your child know that you were not in a place where you could offer her the life you wished for her. If there are particularly difficult details like drug addiction or a violent history with your child’s father, leave those out. You can tell your child more once they are older, as your relationship grows.
6. Write about the process you went through to find the perfect Christian adoptive family for your child.
What Christian values were you looking for in an adoptive family? Let your child know that you are confident in the parents you chose for her. You are all on a journey together, and that journey is part of God’s plan.
7. Tell your child about yourself.
What are your talents, interests, and hobbies? Could your child’s beautiful singing voice or ability to draw come from you? What were you like when you were a child? You offer your child a connection to his roots. This will be important to your child’s developing identity as he grows.
8. Tell your child what you hope and pray for his future.
Focus on health and happiness over accomplishments and achievements.
9. Leave out unnecessary details.
If you have a complicated relationship with your child’s father, there’s no need to delve into that. As your child grows older, you can reveal more about your history in response to her questions.
10. You don’t have to say it all at once.
Just because you have written one letter, doesn’t mean you have to stop there. You can leave an ongoing legacy as you grow and evolve. You might decide to write more letters during different milestone moments, create a scrapbook, or add special keepsakes to a memory box.
Once you have written your letter of love, be sure to make copies. One copy of the letter will go to the adoptive parents, but keep one for yourself. You may choose to add it to an ongoing legacy you create for your child.
Make a plan with the adoptive parents to decide the best way for your child to receive your letter of love. You may have a plan for how you want your child to see your letter. Or, you can leave that timing decision up to the adoptive parents.
If you have an open adoption with your child’s adoptive parents, you may wonder if it’s necessary to write this letter. You could choose to simply have these conversations with your child during a visit or phone call as she grows older.
While that is true, there is power in the written word. As time passes, and you have distance from these milestones, you might not be able to express yourself with the same clarity. By writing a letter while you live in the moment, you will give your child a piece of yourself that he can always look back on and keep with him forever.
As the Vice President (VP) of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.