Knowing Why Their Birth Family Chose to Have Them Adopted

Often the deepest concern of adopted children is why their birthparents chose to have them adopted. Was it a whimsical, casual decision, or, worse, because of something bad about the them, the adopted child? Or was their adoption based on love and genuine concern? An adopted child's sense of self-worth can be deeply affected by the answer to these questions. Fortunately, with open adoption, there are powerful forms of reassurance for the child that their birthparents made their decision from a sense of love not rejection.

To begin with, most adoptive parents have a letter written to their child by his or her birthmother (and sometimes birthfather) explaining their decision to have them adopted. Some of these letters are a few pages in length, others are longer, and some are more like poems. In these letters, the birthparents talk about their concerns about becoming parents. They explain the reasons why they thought the best life for their child would come through adoption. They talk about why they were so sure that they had found the right, new parents for their child.

Instead of being hidden in some government or agency archives, the adoptive parents have this letter in their personal possession to show to their child whenever they feel this is appropriate. Some people make this letter a part of the special adoption album that they regularly show to their child. Other parents choose to leave this letter out of the album and save it for when the child is older. Regardless of the timing, the letter is an affirmation to the child of the love of their biological parents.

DEAR ERIC, My Birthson

I couldn't face the thought of bringing a baby into this world without a dad, without financial security and without emotional stability. I was so scared for you, so confused. I decided that the best thing to do for you, Eric, was to give you life. Whatever happened, you were inside me and deserved the right to live. I started looking into the world of adoption. I hated it. It was too much like a business. If I were going to have someone else raise you, I wanted to meet them, get to know them. I wanted to love them before I let them love you. I was stumped until I was seven months along. That was when I met your parents, Mark and Melinda. I found a number in the paper for a place that helps girls who choose open adoption. It said all the choices were mine. I checked it out, and it was what I wanted for you.

My biggest fear, Eric, is that because of my decision to give a family to you, you may be bitter and angry. I never want you to feel I don't love you. I love you so very much—so very, very much.

When you were inside me I would cry and tell you how sorry I was for doing this to you. But as I look down at your perfect little face, I'm not sorry Eric. How could I be sorry to give life to such a miracle?

POEM FOR KELLY, My Birthdaughter

A year ago – An eternity
Your existence – Not yet reality
On the outside I smiled, I had to be strong
On the inside I worried, things were all wrong

Many a tear I did shed
Lying alone at night in my bed
I wanted for you all that was good
I cried for help, few understood

And then it happened – All in a day
Relief had come – Our troubles went away
And know I can't believe a year has passed
You're walking and talking – growing too fast

I hear you're a handful, but loads of fun
And very determined – Even at one!
Now this is your day and I hope that it's fun
Today is a special day because now you are one

And after all this babbling, what I really want to say
Is "I wish you the best ever – Happy First Birthday!"

FOR ALEC, My Birthson

My sweet, sweet boy,
You brought me so much joy.
You filled my heart with a love so rare,
You taught me what it means really to care.

All though I may be away so far,
You will always be my shining star.
Please don't hate me, for I tried my best,
It's up to you to do the rest.

I really love you so.
That's why I let you go.

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