I recently read some of the most beautiful writing I’ve ever read when doing research for a blog I was writing on infertility. After being deeply moved by the words of my friend Tonya, who has struggled with infertility for years, I decided I would love to share some of it on my personal blog. Below she talks about the journey of writing to the future parent of your child. I hope this moves you and give you sensitivty into the heart of someone facing infertility. I pray it reaches the heart of someone who needs to hear her words.
By Tonya James
Most people, when preparing for their children to arrive, start picking out names and cribs, going through clothes of family members, setting up a registry, and counting down the days and weeks until their due date. When I started thinking about kids, I wrote a letter to the birth mother. A woman whom I do not know, and might never meet. I began by outlining who I am as a person, as well as my husband and our life together.
I daydream about what age the child will be when they come into my life, the name he/she may already have, and how if changing it will lead them down a life of feeling like I stole his/her original identity and result in a life of resentment. I worry about what demands the birth mother may place on my husband and I. Will she pass on us because of where we live, what we do, or if we don’t make enough money? I worry about failing, about not being a good enough parent, and doing an injustice to my child. “I adopted you and I failed” is a constant stress.
I worry about feeling like we took a great life away from you in order to give you one that was just mediocre in your eyes. I don’t want you to grieve over a life you think you lost because the one we provided for you didn’t measure up to your dreams and expectations about what living with your birth parents, or a different set of parents could’ve been.
I want a lot for you–happiness, education, security, confidence, and lots of love. I don’t ever want you to feel lonely, abandoned or isolated. I want you to always try new things, be a part of a club, be on a team, travel with friends, make memories, and yes, get into a little bit of trouble.
I want to hear your stories and your laughter, see your face, and feel your hugs. I want to see your sticky handprints on the fridge, and muddy foot prints on the kitchen floor. Let’s wake up and make a mess in the kitchen because we can and we want pancakes. Let’s use the furniture to build blanket forts and chase each other with Nerf guns, and always be ready for a random weekend road trip.
How do I put my passion down on paper that speaks to another person, well enough to convince them to allow me to claim and raise a child that is 100% theirs? They are growing their child inside of them. A child that is a part of everything that they are. It is a lot of stress and pressure!
A big worry is that if they don’t pick us, it’s not like high school where you get a grade on your paper. We don’t get a chance to edit and refine it to suit their particular grading style. The birth parents just pass until they read someone’s profile they like. In a year’s time, 100 people could have read your letter and not liked a few words that you probably changed 100 times, and rewrote at 2 am because you couldn’t sleep. You will never know how many people read and passed on your profile, or your letter. Its rejection in the rawest and cruelest form. A long waiting time to be matched with a Mother/Child could mean none of them fit your criteria, or it could be that you don’t fit theirs.
All the outlines and advisers tell us, don’t sound to desperate, don’t make it too long, make it longer, include this or that, not too much…… Good Luck!! I have read every article I can find about “Birth mother’s reaction to Adoptive couple’s letter” to try and find the perfect amount of words, in just the right form. Putting myself and my husband down on paper, and being true to who we are and our lifestyle.
I wrote my letter, and put in the basic information of what I thought I would want to know from somebody I was considering to raise my child. I have high hopes that if someone in an adoption situation ever reads it and likes it, they will allow us the chance to adopt their child. If 100 people read it and hate it, I hope at least one person responds with the reason why.
How do you make it not sound corny? How do you make it sound as true and pure as your heart is? The generic “You are so strong and have so much courage” tends to be popular turn off to most birth mother reactions I have researched. They don’t feel like they are being courageous, and the whole thing being ‘the hardest thing they will ever do’ is a given. I can only imagine how hearing that from someone who has never placed child for adoption, is a lot like hearing “Infertility, I understand, it took us 4 months to have our third child!”
I am not a angry person by nature, but when you hear that, 5 years deep into infertility, without so much as a positive ovulation test…. Any action you take should be pardoned by the President. ‘It’ is not a pair of shoes, a ring, or a car. “It” is a child, a living breathing innocent child, who is not a possession to anyone, but a tiny little human who needs love and stability to grow and be the best person they can be. With as many positive contributors into their life as possible.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to introduce ourselves. We are not going to pretend like we understand what you are going through or that our lives are perfect. We will, however, do our best to show you that we respect you and your decisions. We admire your ability and endurance to read profile after profile, looking for your parental soulmates to raise your child. We want to wish you the best of luck!
I am 31 years old and I was raised in Kansas, and I also work full time. My husband is 40 years old, he has worked for the same company since 1994. We are very lucky to both have jobs that we enjoy. We met in 2011 and we live outside of town on 10 acres, equipped with pecan trees and a fishing pond. We have two gentle German shepherds, and a few barn cats. We live a healthy lifestyle, in that we do not smoke or drink. We have a big family, almost 60 nieces and nephews. My husband is the youngest of seven siblings and I am the second of three.
I am writing this letter for many reasons. I was diagnosed with a few different types of infertility in my early 20’s and am unable to have biological children. I am writing this letter because there is nothing in the world I want more than to be a mother and raise children. I can’t make my dream come true without you. Before I knew I wouldn’t be able to have biological children, I have always wanted adoption to be a part of my story. My husband and I have completed the PS-MAPP classes to license our home for foster care, and we have also taken in emergency placements. It breaks our hearts when they leave, so while we admire and respect foster care, we wish for permanency and security in our family.
I graduated from High School in 2002, attended college classes at three campuses before returning home. I also worked for 5 summers as a Resident Girl Scout Camp Counselor in Oklahoma. That experience helped shape me into the person I am, taught me a lot about myself and what I was capable of. It showed me how to positively resolve conflict, teamwork, self-esteem, hard work, and patience. I will use those lessons, and many more, in how I parent children. I want them to excel in things they put hard work into, and I want them to always feel loved and wanted. I want them to know how valuable and meaningful getting a good education is. I want them to appreciate a job well done, and understand how important follow through and seeing things to the end is. I will teach them to bet on themselves, and they will never know what it feels like to not have someone rooting for them.
I can’t begin to understand your situation or the reason why you are reading my letter, but I am hopeful that it brings us in contact with each other and that I will have the opportunity to meet you. I am grateful that you have so much love for your child that you are considering a life plan for your baby. I take that very seriously and know it is not a decision that you will make lightly. When it comes to picking out potential parents for your child, you have every factor to weigh. I wish you the best on your journey and am hopeful to become a part of it. We are eager to learn about you and answer all of the questions you have for us.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this letter, I tried to keep it short and informative. We have also included my contact information at the bottom, if you wish to contact us for more information or to discuss options. I will also send you personal references that you may contact to inquire about us, if you wish to do so.
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