25 October 2009

Mixed feelings...

"Dear Birthmother..."

This is how we are supposed to start a letter to a woman who is pregnant and contemplating giving up her child for adoption.

I have incredibly mixed feelings about writing this letter. In the first place, I truly dislike the term "birthmother" - as if the woman who is giving birth to the child we may be raising is just there to give birth for us and that's it.


No. This woman is a human being - a mother - who is likely making the most difficult decision of her life - a decision that will have lifelong consequences and implications for her, her child and certainly for us should she decide to select us as the people to raise her child.

We decided to address our letter as "Dear Expectant Mother." Whether the facilitators will let that pass is questionable at best. ALL of the other letters we've seen from other prospective adoptive parents that use these facilitators read "Dear Birthmother" and our facilitators sent a rather militant set of instructions about the crafting of our letter.

So we've written a first draft of our "Dear Birthmother" letter. An onerous and challenging task to be sure. The adoption facilitators gave us these restrictions:
  • One page
  • 12 pt pt type
  • single spaced
  • 1" margin around the entire page
How can we possibly describe in any substantive way our life in just one page? How can we express fully our desire to parent a child in just one page? And how can we do this best with integrity and honesty?

What drives me most crazy about these "Dear Birthmother" letters is that they make prospective adoptive parents sound so "perfect." As if our lives are so wonderful and just perfect for a child. As if our homes are always clean, we'll never come home and be grumpy, we'll always make the very best decisions, we'll somehow be better parents than the woman who gave birth to our adopted child...

Here's the thing...we're not perfect and it bothers me that this one page letter makes us kind of sound that way.

1.5 hours later...

OK, I am now returning to you after making some major edits/re-writes to the letter that made us sound just too good to be true.

Gotta let the husband check it out to see what he thinks. Here we go...

1 comment:

  1. Wow, we never had to do this, but we did write a letter to the mother who did give her child up and we ended up being joined with him. I don't understand why the agency is being so militant about the letter. If they do make you change "expectant" mohter to "birthmother" I suggest you write a bit about your feelings about that terminology. The fact that you are truly thinking as much about her as the baby you may get from the situation speaks volumes. I understand what you mean about the term"birthmother" and agree with you whole heartedly. I think your agency needs to lighten up abit you need to communicate what you need to communicate and this letter is the only avenue you have right now...I am feeling frustrated for you right now and I must keep myself from rambling. Sorry it isn't double spaced with a one inch margin.