Creating an adoption plan is an incredibly difficult decision for any parent. However, some comfort can be taken from the fact that adoption is not the end of your relationship with your child. It is just the next step in your journey. Adoption does not mean cutting off all ties from your child. You can opt to stay in contact with your son or daughter if you like, and a great way to do that is to write a letter once a month, or as often as you feel comfortable. It’s up to you and your adoption plan.
Creating an Open Adoption Plan
As we’ve mentioned before in our blogs, “the confidentiality that once defined adoption is no longer the norm,” says Eliza Newlin Carney, Adoptive Families. Nowadays, open adoptions are becoming more and more prevalent.
- Open Adoption: Both parents and adoptive parents exchange identifying information about each other and have ongoing contact. This can mean writing a letter, exchanging photographs, talking on the phone, meeting in person, or some combination of these.
- Semi-Open Adoption: Most or all communications between the adoptive parents and birth parents is facilitated by an adoption agency to preserve identifying information.
This is all outlined in your adoption plan. You will map out your adoption journey, from choosing the adoptive parents to determining the level of openness with which you are comfortable.
“At one extreme are the families who exchange letters and pictures but have never met,” says Newlin Carney. “At the other are the children whose adoptive and birth families socialize at least once a month or more.”
However, it is very rare for families to meet once a month or more, says Dean Kirschner, Ph.D., LCSW-C. “It is usually once or twice a year.”
How to Write a Letter to Your Child Following Adoption
The most popular way for birth mothers to communicate with their child is still through letters. However, writing such a letter, especially the first letter, can be incredibly difficult. What do you even say? “It’s a question first/birth mothers are faced with,” writes Lorraine Dusky.
Here are a few tips from Adoption Makes Family:
- Be Truthful and speak from the heart. “The adoptee will want first of all to know why she was given up for adoption, so tell that briefly but leave gory details (if there are any),” says Dusky. Let your child know why you chose adoption and why you believe it is the best decision for their future. Say what you feel and be as open and honest as you feel is appropriate. And remember to “communicate in language that is age appropriate for the child,” says Dr. Kirschner.
- Stay Positive using Positive Adoption Language, the preferred language that is used by Adoption Makes Family. This type of language is gentle and values all parties in the adoption process equally. Click Here to learn more about Positive Adoption Language.
- Family History can be important. Let your child know about you and your family. Where do they come from?
- A Personal Touch is nice, especially for the first letter. So, consider writing the letter by hand. “Don’t write more than two pages–unless your handwriting is large and loose,” says Dusky. “You want to welcome your child, not overwhelm.”
- Include a Photo of yourself.
Adoption Makes Family is here to help! We are a non-profit (501-C3) licensed adoption agency based in Maryland. Our adoption counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your convenience. If you would like our advice or just need to talk, please give us a call at any time.
24-Hour Hotline 410-683-2100
If you have any questions, you can contact us by phone at 410-683-2100, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our online contact form.