Monday, September 5, 2011

To the Birth Family of My Child

I have been thinking about who our adopted child may be while we wait for a match and it has me thinking about the birth family of that child. Our child may or may not know his or her birth family. A child from Jamaica has a very high chance of not knowing his/her birth family. A foster child may have some contact with his/her birth family. So I am taking this time to write a letter to the birth family of any child that may become ours. Once we are matched and know more about our child, I will write a more personal birth family letter. I have been praying daily for the birth family and the caretakers of our future children for awhile now so the birth family is in the back of my mind constantly.

Dear Birth Family,

At this time, I do not know what the circumstances are that have led to your child being placed in care outside of your home. As I write this, my husband and I are waiting to be matched as the adoptive parents of your child. We promise to love, nurture, guide and teach your child. We - you, us and the child - are now a family. We may have little or no contact, but we still influence who the child is and who the child will become. We will teach this child that you love the child and wanted to care for him/her, but for whatever the circumstances, we were chosen as the forever family for your child.

If at all possible and if in the best interest of the child, we would like you to be involved in the child's life. This could mean some annual visits or just letters, emails, phone calls or Skype. The child needs to know that there are many people who are involved in raising him/her - birth, adoptive, foster, immediate, extended and those who are like family. We strongly believe "it takes a village to raise a child". While we want you to have contact with us and the child, please understand that during the first year, contact may be limited while we work on bonding with the child to re-assure the child we are a safe, stable and permanent home.

Our goal is to be a stable, safe home for your child. We hope some day you can come to see the child as "ours", not yours, not mine, but ours. The child has your genetics and your traits. The child will develop the values and some learned traits of my husband and myself. Some day, the child will become, hopefully and God willing, an independent adult with individual ideas and goals that honor both you and us, the family that gave the child a strong beginning.

I do know you have experienced a variety of emotions during this process including anger, disbelief and sadness at losing custody of your child. I, too, have experienced emotions during our own process including frustration, anger, joy and peace. The child has experienced a wide range of emotions that are very confusing, especially if the child is young. It will take time for all of us to process through these emotions singularly and together. My husband and I have accessed counseling services since we began our adoption journey and will continue family counseling once your child is placed in our home. For us, counseling is not a sign of weakness, but just another resource to tap to deal with complex issues involved in the adoption process. I do not know what your circumstances are, but I hope you have others you can talk with to help you through this difficult time. Also, I hope you realize that your thoughts and emotions regarding the adoption of your child by us will vary through the years to come and I hope you will come to peace with us being the forever family of your child.

While we have prayed for years for a child to become ours through adoption, we understand our joy does result in loss for you and the child. We extend our empathy to you and the rest of the birth family. We have learned through the years that sorrow must be experienced in order for joy to be experienced. I have not experienced your form of loss, but I have experienced loss in my own personal ways. Each person experiences life differently; we hope we have the empathy to better understand your circumstances.

We are here to care for your child. And we hope we can continue to keep you involved in your child's life. We are just more family to help your child to adulthood.

Your Child's Forever Family

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