She's Adopted

They just didn't tell her

Adoption: Writing the Letter That Explains ‘Why’ to Your Child

on June 8, 2013

They Will Want to Know Where They Came From

Giving up a child for adoption can be very trying, even for the strongest person you know. Whether you did it so the child could have a better life, or so that you could, every child deserves to know why you did it. All cases are different, being that some adoptions are closed so the option of communication between the child and the biological parents isn’t allowed. But then again, when that child turns 18, they can look you up. And when they do, you should be ready. So whether it’s closed or open, there will always be one thing both cases will have in common, and that’s the curiosity of that child.

Put yourself in their shoes. If you were adopted and brought up around a family that isn’t biologically related to you, you would want to know. You would want to know where you came from, what your biological parents were like, where you get those freckles. As the woman that carried that child for nine months, or the man who helped father the child, the least you could do is take the time. Take the time to think about this child that has spent years in the dark not knowing. Take the time to write down some words that explain why.

I recommend doing it when the child is at an age where they can understand the information you will be giving them. Before you even start writing the final letter, its always best to brainstorm or chart things that you want to cover in the letter. Don’t be afraid to share how scared, selfish or how not ready you were at the time. Details won’t always be pretty, but expressing the truth is where it’ll all count in the end. Start from the beginning, explain to them who you are first. They will want to know what kind of traits you had, how good you were in school and if you excelled at sports while growing up.

Secondly, whether you are the biological mother or biological father, talking about the person who helped you create the child is perfectly okay. If you want, you can explain how you met each other. Let them know what kind of personality they had and what kind of relationship you had with one another. This will let the child tap into a part of your life that led up to the time that they were created. I imagine it would put them at ease to know who you are before they find out your reason(s).

Next, it’s time to go into the time when the adoption took place. Go deeper than the surface and really touch on things that help them understand you completely. Take yourself back to the time when it all happened. Remember the emotions you felt at the time. If you weren’t ready, explain the circumstances that made it so you weren’t ready. If the thought of raising a child scared you beyond belief, tell them that. If you were young and selfish at the time, you have to let them know. Being able to admit being selfish is one of the most grown up things you will do in your life.

After that go ahead and tell them how you’ve grown as a person after it happened. How the whole situation impacted your life. Tell them your goals not only with your own life, but with them. Lastly, let them know where you stand. If you want to work on building a personal relationship with them, tell them so. Even if they are not interested in going that route, you will feel a weight lifted for trying. If you just take the time, then they will know.

I am actually about to write my own letter to my daughter. She will be 10 this summer and I feel it is the right time to do it. The night that I decided to write my letter was a night that she stopped by my dad’s house with her adoptive mother (one of our close family friends) and asked my dad, “Do you know where my birth mother is?” Luckily I was right up the street at work and she surprised me with a visit and her beautiful smile. She has always known me as her “Tummy Mommy,” and for that I am grateful. But now it’s time for her to really know me. I’m excited to get to it. I hope this has inspired you to do the same. (by )

Suggested reading:

The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade

The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade

Amazon Price: $7.73

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