For families seeking to adopt, it can be hard to decide what to focus on when writing a Birthmother Letter. For birth mothers, reading through multiple profiles while considering the options for her and her child’s future can be similarly challenging. Here are a few tips to help adoptive families develop a letter that rises to the top of the stack and connects with birth parents.
One of the best ways to paint a picture that helps a potential birth mother visualize the sort of parent(s) you might be is to provide vivid concrete examples. Instead of simply describing your daily routine, mention how you’ll incorporate your child into the things you do. Are there fond experiences from your childhood that you look forward to sharing with your little one? Perhaps birth mom can relate. Use sensory language to describe what you may see, hear, feel, taste, or see, to make your words come to life and communicate warmly.
2. Show empathy.
Reach out to birth mom directly, especially at the beginning and ending of your letter. While you don’t know exactly what she may be dealing with while considering open adoption, acknowledge that this is a special time in her life and that you want to be there for support if she needs it. Each birth mom’s story is different; so don’t make assumptions. We don’t know that this is the most difficult thing she’s ever done before, and even if it is, she doesn’t need anyone to add pressure by telling her that.
3. Take a great main photo.
While a well-written letter is important, it’s equally crucial to have eye-catching photos that invite the reader’s eyes into the rest of your letter. The primary photo needs to have a Wow Factor that shows you with a warm and welcoming smile, as it’s likely the first thing birth mom will see. Don’t be afraid to get close to the camera, or to each other. The reader should feel like they are an arm’s length away. Eyes can be a connection point for readers, so be sure that they can be seen clearly (Avoid squinting, sunglasses, or glare if you wear glasses). Show your affection for your partner through overlapping or embracing one another. Taking your photo outside in front of greenery or nature helps to get the best lighting and avoid distracting backgrounds.
4. Bring the reader into the action.
Having too many posed group shots or photos where you look directly at the camera can be overwhelming or boring for the reader. Mix it up by including action shots where you are actually engaged in an activity, and not looking at the camera. This can help to illustrate your story, add visual interest, and guide readers’ eyes through your text. When taking pictures with children, be sure they look comfortable with you and not like they’re trying to run away.
5. Emphasize your uniqueness.
Birthmothers have a lot to think about, and may be looking at other letters besides yours. What are some unique qualities that your family has that differentiate you from other families? Will one of you be a stay-at-home parent? Is your faith an important aspect of who you are? Mention this early in the letter, such as on the first page. Personalize pull quotes or photo captions in your letter to communicate short anecdotes or describe points of interest from the body of your text.
6. Put yourself in her shoes.
Ask yourself, “If I were considering placing a child for adoption, what would I want to know about the adoptive parents?” Don’t get so carried away in talking about yourself that you leave out the things that matter most to birth mom. She likely won’t remember a long list of your family members, but she probably will care how welcoming they are and how a child fits into the picture. It’s great to mention your active lifestyle or the job that you love, but don’t leave birth mom feeling that a having a child may be a burden or wondering when you’ll ever find time to parent.
7. Use good design.
Design combines the words and images of your letter into a usable format that should be attractive and help you to connect with your audience. Choose warm colors that complement your photos, avoid busy or crowded layouts, and select fonts that are readable. If you do not have design expertise, check to see if your agency recommends certain templates or can connect you with graphic designers who are versed in typography, color theory, and publication design for print. There are several professional designers, with websites online, that may be willing to design your Dear Birthmother Letter and/or website for an affordable rate.
8. Take advantage of technology.
Now that your letter showcases your family in a favorable light, you can focus on getting the word out! Technology can help you reach out to computer-savvy birth moms, or those that might know of someone looking to place their child. Consider setting up a dedicated Facebook Page for your adoption. (Note that these are different than Facebook Profiles.) Your friends can “Like” or “Share” your page and help you to spread your campaign online. Updating your status periodically can help you to stay fresh on viewers’ minds. Some other online tools include Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and blogging. Including links to your sites on your profile provides more ways to contact