I am often asked, “How did you adopt domestically so quickly?” And my answer always comes back to the fact that I had an excellent “Dear Expectant Mother Letter”. It is now important to keep in mind that some people want you to use the term “Expectant Mother” because she has not yet given birth and they find the term “Birth mother” offensive. I always air on the side of caution, and try to stick to the politically correct way of addressing my letter.
It is very common now for your adoption agency or attorney to require you to write what is commonly called a “Dear Expectant Mother Letter”. The letter might possibly be the most difficult thing you will ever write. You will want to include all of the important selling points on why she would want to choose you as the parents of her unborn baby. The idea of writing the letter can be very daunting and it is very easy to get caught up in the “pick me, pick me!” desperation cycle. Try to put yourself in her position. Mention things that are selling points and always remain positive.
I have broke down into several parts some helpful hints on how to go about writing your letter:
GREETING: I would avoid using Dear Birth mom, Dear Birth mother, Dear Birth parent or even Dear Expectant Mother. I would stick to a simple Hello or Hi. If on a website you may want to say Welcome.
INTRODUCTION: Start out with saying “we are …” and mention any children at this point. If they are adopted please be sure to mention this. Talk about the ages of your children and your desire to adopt. I would mention something about understanding what a difficult decision this is for her. And how you appreciate her taking the time to read your letter and getting to know you. Insert a family photo or a photo of you and your spouse.
Individual: In separate paragraphs describing each of you spend time introducing yourselves. Focus on your life, childhood, family life, eduction, occupation, hobbies, and interests. Focus on your personality assets, what you like to do for fun and what makes you a unique person. Mention your family and upbringing. If religion is an important aspect in your life please take time to mention it. In my personal opinion I would stay away from mentioning specific denominations. Try to find things that might stand out to her. If you play an instrument, love dogs, or like to exercise be sure to mention it. These things may be something that connect the two of you. If you have had problems with infertility it is OK to mention it but I would try to keep it brief and do not go into to much detail. Insert individual photos doing something fun or standing out to show your unique spirit.
As a Couple: Spend some time writing about you and your spouse as a couple. Talk about where you met and what brought you together, where you were married, what you love to do together, and how long you’ve been together. This is a great time to tell about why you think your spouse would be an exceptional parent. Focus on the things that you believe would make him/her stand out. Talk about how much you share in common, and mention how you both desire to have a family or expand your current family. I would mention how much it would enhance your lives to adopt a child. Insert a photo of the two of you.
Children: If you have children this is where you will describe them. Are they biological or did you adopt? If you adopted spend time discussing what a wonderful experience your first adoption was. And how your lives have been touched and forever changed by it. Describe your children’s personalities, hobbies, passions and things that make them happy. Insert a photo of your child/ren.
Pets: Mention if you have any dogs, cats, fish, horses or any other kind of pet. This is usually a selling point and also shows you are compassionate people. It also shows you are capable of caring and providing. Insert a photo of your pets.
Your Home: Describe where you live. Do not provide your address or any telling information. Focus on things like “We have a big back yard with a play set” or “The baby will have it’s own room ready to be filled with toys”. I provided a photo of our home and a picture of the nursery. I made the room up with gender neutral decorations. You don’t want to give the impression you only will adopt if the baby is a girl or boy. Lord forbid she give birth to the wrong gender baby! Talk about nearby parks, schools, and nearby fun things to do. What makes your home the perfect place for a baby to grow up?
Adoption: This is where you talk about what led you to adoption. Be honest without making it to detailed. If you have suffered from infertility mention it. Talk about how it does not matter how your family is formed. You will love a child deeply no matter how they became a part of your famiy. Talk about when and how you will tell your child about being adopted. And mention how they will always be held in high regard and will be known as wonderful people. Mention how open you would like the adoption to be. Will you provide pictures, letters, and videos? Are you open to visits? Mention this here.
Religion: Tell her that you regularly attend church and want to raise your children in faith. Talk about why you believe it is important for a child to have a moral upbringing and know God. If you are not religious I would simply omit this section of your letter. Be prepared for her to ask you about this at some point. Most want to know your stance on the subject of religion.
Parenting: This is where you will focus on how you plan to parent your child(ren). Discuss your parenting style if you have one, how will you correct your child when they misbehave and how involved will you be in their upbringing. Discuss education hopes and how you already plan on college in their future. Will you or your spouse be a stay at home parent? Mention it, this is a huge selling point.
Closing: Thank her for taking the time to read your letter. Wish her luck in her difficult decision and offer contact information where she can reach your attorney or adoption agency. If you have a website I would recommend an “800 number” and email contact. Sign your letter with “Sincerely”, “Warm Regards”, “Best Wishes” or however you see fit.
THINGS TO AVOID:
- Do not claim to know how she is feeling. Simply you can’t put yourself in her shoes.
- Do not let your heart get carried away be genuine and let the real you shine through
- Do not make promises you do not intend to keep
- Don’t use big fancy words and terms to try to oversell yourself
Best of luck on your letter writing and your adoption journey!