Creating a “Dear Birth Mother” Letter

Don't let the title fool you!

Sarah M. Baker September 17, 2014

A question I often get asked or see online is: “How do I write a Dear Birth Mother Letter?” The simple answer is that everyone is different. There is no way of saying your letter is the perfect letter to be chosen by every expectant parent that reads it. Your letter, however, may be the perfect letter for that specific expectant parent that is looking for all the qualities YOU have. When this question gets asked on adoption forums, the language or term “Birth Mother” is usually the first to get addressed.  Adoption language is important and raises the hairs of many people when the “wrong” terminology is used. Below you will find out why the use of “Birth Mother” is not preferred as well as many other helpful things that will guide you in writing your introduction letter.

Let’s start off with the must-haves:


1. Introduction:

Introduce yourself to her. You can include pictures; you can paint a picture with words about your family or home life. Show her who you are and why it separates you from others.

Do not address your letter with Dear Birth Mother or Birth Parent(s). Simply put, this is an inaccurate term to use for the woman or parents who have created an adoption plan. The term you are looking for is Expectant Mother or Expecting Parent(s).

There is a very good reason to not use Birth Mother or Birth Parents in this letter: She has not yet given birth, and to call her a birth mother is reducing her to a role she may feel obligated to fulfill. Understand that, until she has given birth and placed the child, she is still an expectant mother that has every right to parent her child if she decides to do so. If you don't want to write Dear Expecting Parent(s) as your salutation, you can always choose a simple Hi, Hello, or Howdy. Starting off the relationship in a place of respect goes a long way.

Body 1:
2. Body 1:

This is your chance to thank her for considering you and what lead you to pursue adoption.

Body 2:
3. Body 2:

Elaborate on who you are. Tell her about your family, what your thoughts are in raising a child, your interests and hobbies, your career, and your education. Include anything that you can think of that she may want to know and will make you unique to that special person meant to be in your life. Be yourself.

4. Conclusion:

At the end you may want to thank her again for considering you and wish her luck in her journey. This is a great time to sign off with something positive to want her to learn more of you or possibly want to meet with you.

5. Pictures:

You may want to include pictures that tell a story of your life. Pictures are so important. Whether it is one or several, make it count. Show your personality, include your interests, and make sure they are pleasing, well taken photographs. But at the same time, don’t think every photo has to be professionally taken or with perfect hair and makeup. You want her to see you for who you are.

Get Creative:
6. Get Creative:

It doesn't have to look like a formal letter. It can include graphics, colors, pictures, bullet points, fun (yet easy to read) fonts, etc. When in doubt, ask your agency if they have any standards you are required to follow.

Proof Read:
7. Proof Read:

Proof read multiple times. There isn't much worse than paying to print the letters and then finding errors.

Things to Avoid
9. Things to Avoid

In the salutation, as mentioned above, do not address her as birth mother or birth parent.

Avoid Negative Language
10. Avoid Negative Language

Avoid any terms that are negative to adoption or imply you expect her to place her baby for adoption.

Avoid Broad Letters:
11. Avoid Broad Letters:

Don't try to appeal to every expecting mother. Avoid writing to a broad audience. If you write it genuinely about you and from the heart, it will appeal to the one who is the right fit for you and your family. This is a long-term, open relationship. You want it to work.

Avoid Overly Flowery:
12. Avoid Overly Flowery:

While being positive, don't be overly flowery. Be normal.

Avoid Mentioning Abortion:
13. Avoid Mentioning Abortion:

Don't assume she considered abortion by thanking her for choosing life. Abortion may have crossed her mind and abortion may have been her first plan, but abortion may have never even been an option.

Avoid Portraying Something You Are Not:
14. Avoid Portraying Something You Are Not:

Don't be more religious than you actually are. Talk about God or religion the way you would with any day-to-day person. If it's a huge part of your life, include it, otherwise, just give the basics.

Avoid Being Depressing:
15. Avoid Being Depressing:

Don't talk about your infertility in a lengthy, depressing way. You can mention it in your introduction as why you came to adoption, if that is the reason, but this letter is not the time for a pity party. She has a big decision to make; don't make her feel like she owes you a child.

Avoid Promises You Can't Keep:
16. Avoid Promises You Can't Keep:

Don't over promise and under deliver. Stick to honesty.

Avoid Understanding:
17. Avoid Understanding:

Don't pretend to know what she is going through unless you have personally placed a child for adoption.

Avoid Bad Pictures:
18. Avoid Bad Pictures:

Don't include out of focus, under/overexposed, low resolution, or inappropriate pictures.

Making a first impression that is honest, respectful, and fun will go a long way in finding the right match in your adoption journey. Open adoption is a lifelong relationship built on trust and respect for each other. Start off on the right foot. Make your future child proud!

If you have already written your letter, what was your favorite addition that gave insight to who you are?

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Sarah M. Baker

Sarah is a Staff Storyteller for and passionate about teaching others the power of open adoption. She is very active in the adoption community, where she spends a lot of time advocating as the founder of Heart For Open Adoption. She is the mom of two boys in addition to parenting her niece. She is a mother biologically and through domestic infant open adoption. Sarah promotes adoption education and ethical adoptions. She and her husband were featured on Season 2 of Oxygen’s “I’m Having Their Baby,” which tells the story of their first adoption match failing. Sarah hopes to bring her personal experience to you and help anyone who wants more information about adoption to find it with ease. Though it was once a taboo subject, Sarah hopes to make adoption something people are no longer afraid to talk about. You can learn more about Sarah and her family on her blog.

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