What Should a Dear Birthmother Letter Look Like

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Someone found my blog by searching “what should a dear birthmother letter look like.” I am sure previous letters didn’t exactly answer their question, so let me try my hand at it now.

“Dear Birthmother” letters should NOT exist. Period. And I don’t care what agencies, social workers, or internet-famous adoption advocates say about the “importance” of having one on a potential adoptive parent’s cutest-adoption-blog-on-the-block. It’s wrong. It’s distasteful. It’s coercive.

These “Dear Birthmother” letters are the beginning of the grooming process to subtly (and not so subtly) coerce an expectant mother to terminate her parental rights and relinquish her child into the adoption system. Call it “making a plan” or dress it up how ever the adoption industry wants: The end goal and aim of these kinds of letters it to convince an expectant mother to willingly terminate her parental rights and let another woman raise her child.

How do these letters contribute to this, one might ask? We need look no further than the very opening salutation, “Dear Birthmother.” By calling an expectant mother a “birthmother” before she has terminated her parental rights. In doing so, potential adoptive parents exert psychological pressure as they “other” the woman with the “birthmother” prior to the actual termination of parental rights. These letters (and the potential adoptive parents who write them) plant the seeds in a woman’s mind that her role is to “birth” and that is all, thankyouverymuch.

There are many other issues with these kinds of letters, issues which lean towards coercion and questionable ethical behavior on the part of potential adoptive couple, but calling a woman a “birthmother” before she has terminated her parental rights is enough of a problem to warrant some serious introspection on the part of these letter writers.

If a potential adoptive parent is truly intent on having an “ethical” (not sure any adoptions in the US are ethical as so much money changes hands, but that’s another discussion for another time), perhaps they shouldn’t waste the time or effort agonizing over a “Dear Birthmother” letter. Instead, perhaps they should write a letter to a mother who is considering adoption. When they write it, they should be COMPLETELY honest. They should show integrity and not make promises they are willing to keep FOREVER, not just when it is convenient or easy for them. They should promise to do the moral things, not just the legal. They should share what they are willing do to help their shared child overcome the loss of his or her original family and identity, an issue many adoptees struggle with for their ENTIRE lives. They should tell the expectant mother, in great detail, the lengths they are willing to go to ensure their shared child and his first mother maintain a healthy and safe relationship, based in love and respect, not fear and lies. (And yes, this is the job of an adoptive parent in a truly ethical and moral adoption, whether the greater bulk of adoptive parents care to admit it or not. Those with integrity know it and live it.)

Wait, wait, wait…here’s a better idea. Why not skip all that and just tell the expectant mother they are willing to do whatever it takes to help her overcome the perceived barriers to parenting? That they will be the safety net for both her and her newborn babe, instead of just her newborn babe.

Oh. That’s right. If they did that, then the potential adoptive parents won’t get the Grand Prize in the adoption world. The wouldn’t get the healthy womb-fresh infant, still smelling of her mother’s amniotic fluid, handed to them by the very mother who nurtured and sustained that child into being.

And that is what “Dear Birthmother” letters are really all about. Fishing for the Grand Prize in adoption.

Cynical? A bit.  A realist? Absolutely. And sometimes REAL isn’t very pretty. This is because my eyes are not blinded by baby lust and covetous behavior, because I am not willing to lie any more, nor am I willing to stand by and support the legalized lies that adoption brings into EVERY SINGLE adopted person’s life in the U.S.



29 thoughts on “What Should a Dear Birthmother Letter Look Like

  1. My ideal letter:

    After reading this and other blogs, I am changing my mind. I will be a terrific aunt to my brother’s kids instead.
    Yours truly,

    A former Prospective Adoptive Parent

  2. My son’s adopter said in her lovely letter that she “strongly believed that god allowed the conception of this baby for them or some other infertile couple”. That I allowed that to adopt my infant is proof positive of what kind of head space I was in at the time. Not thinking clearly or rationally would be the understatement of the millennium…

    • Yes, I have heard that line before, too. Thankfully NOT by my daughter’s parents, but by another couple interested in adopting her. None of us were in our right minds, gypsyqueen1, otherwise our children would be with us today.

    • Yep! I have heard this throughout the years too. Recently, it was used to minimize the anger I am feeling. They completely ignore the fact that I am no longer denominational or even a believer. So it comes across even more condescending.

      And you should see my “adoption plan” paperwork. I wanna slap that girl silly.

      • And you should see my “adoption plan” paperwork. I wanna slap that girl silly.

        I know that feeling all to well.

    • I love Lorraine’s version of the letter. Or Teddy’s. Both are totally awesome.

      Today, I read some guy whining about how there are 2 million potential adoptive couples in the U.S. RIGHT NOW, desperately longing for children. I thought, “Wait a minute…then why is the foster care system full of children who need homes if there are that many people wanting to adopt?”

      Oh yeah. That’s right. Adoption isn’t about kids who really need homes, it’s about finding babies for infertile couples. Just ask Julie B. Beck, the Relief Society President (Emeritus) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, about that reality.

      • There are lots of kids who need homes but people don’t want to take care of orphans. I don’t know if this is true, but I heard that if one family in each church in America would adopt a child whose parents had lost custody (TPR) that there wouldn’t be any more waiting children in this country. But good church people don’t want to take care of kids in need. My husband and I are waiting for the government to approve our home study so that we can take our friends’ son. He can’t go home because he sexually abused his younger sister. You think anyone from any church in our area would take him? You think people want to help us buy his clothes, food, or pay for his outpatient sex offender treatment ($400 a month)? Just like no one wanted to step up and help his family when they were struggling with addiction, domestic violence, and sharing housing with numerous unsafe adults. No one wants to keep families together and no one wants to help pick up the pieces when it all falls apart.

        Most PAPs just want a healthy newborn infant and they’ll do what they have to to get one. And not a healthy newborn born to a mother living with severe mental illness, not a healthy newborn born to a mother who is involved in prostitution, not a healthy newborn born to a mother who injects drugs.

      • Wow, it sounds like you have your hands full. You are on the errand of angels as you provide a safe haven for your friend’s son.

        There are just over 100,000 adoptable children in the foster care system right now. Most of them are not the cuddly little newborns and so many will age out of the foster care system. You are so right – if even just a fraction of the churches in the US worked together to support one of their families in adopting a child from foster care, there would be no children aging out. That would be an incredible thing, wouldn’t it?

    • Yes, it did, I was just away picking strawberries this afternoon and didn’t get home to approve it until now! (I always approve first time contributors to help cut down on spam.)

      • No prob!! I was worried it did not got go through on my end because I always have issues logging into my account 🙂

    • Absolutely! There are so many foster children that desperately need PAPs to love them and care for them and adopt them if necessary. That being said, the first goal is reunification with their parent(s) and that to me means that there is a parent or parents who need the PAPs to support them and and not undermine them.

      • Amen, Starr. Amen a thousand times. And you are one of the few who can actually back your words up with actions, for which I think you are amazing.

    • That is the general thinking, isn’t it? (Sadly, we know a newborn adoption doesn’t fix infertility. They are still infertile, they are just raising some other woman’s child.)

      • Cases of secondary fertility do happen with adoption, but, and this is important, probably just as much with fostering.

  3. The letters used to be all the same-Biff and Buffy and their pony in the burbs.Now with more PAPS than ever (can’t believe how old some are are) the competion is fierce. Now that they all have facebook pages, that’s become obsolete. What will they do next ?distubing thought. They’re likely to say and do anything in their desperation. Please expectant parents, be very sceptical. Please.

    • The advertising on Twitter is sick. It’s like they completely lose all sense of class and dignity when they whore themselves out the way they do.

    • Blogs, facebook, twitter – three cheers for social media and getting the “word out” about looking for an infant! They billboard that one couple took out a couple of months ago, spent over $2K doing it, that was pretty unique. I wonder if it netted them anything.

      Never mind. I don’t want to know.

      • I dount that their billboard netted them anything. As much as they want ,they can’t change the odds.How many PAPS are there for every infant placed? Do you have an estimate, Melynda ? I know the number is sky high and raises so many huge red flags. They’re like a swarm of piranahs going for 1 mcnugget.

      • I don’t know for certain, because the numbers are always so fuzzy, even the numbers of those that are adopted. They government doesn’t track adoptions by source, per se. Just that they occur. So all mixed up in the official numbers are all different kinds of adoptions – step-parent, foster, newborn domestic, international, etc. The best we can do is extrapolate information and numbers.

  4. My husband and I started with an adoption agency in Pasadena, CA ten years ago. When we were shown photo albums of “Dear Birthmother” letters by the agency executives, I got a sour feeling in my stomach. Even then, when I was so anxious to adopt a baby, I knew there was something wrong with the whole process. It didn’t take long for us to realize that the agency was corrupt and coercive as hell and we stopped all contact with them…then went to DCFS in Los Angeles County and began the application process for foster-to-adopt. We adopted our son, who is now 11 and a half, nine years ago. Since then, I have become MUCH more educated about the loss an adoptee and his mother suffers, and I am involved in advocating for the rights of adopted people to obtain their OBCs. Thank you for blogs like yours! Hopefully one day pre-birth matching and other coercive practices will be illegal in this country!

    • Tara –

      I am so grateful you listened to your gut – there is something *TERRIBLY* wrong with the whole process of infant adoption. I am grateful you went through the foster-to-adopt program as those are children who truly DO need families. You son is a lucky individual to have a parent who recognizes the loss inherent in adoption (of any kind).

      And I look forward to the day when pre-birth matching and other coercive practices are illegal in the U.S. as well.


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