"Letters of Love"

Many adoptive parents spend countless hours writing heartfelt letters to their child's birth parents. Here, a birth mother reflects on what those letters mean to her.

Letters to birth parents can evoke many emotions

The letters I receive about my birth daughter are long and full of love. Her parents send me detailed updates, from her first step to her first day at day care.

They tell of their trips all over the world and how she reacts to everything she sees, touches, and feels. I’m amazed that her parents can write so beautifully that I can actually imagine myself right there, experiencing everything with them.

Every picture they send is beautiful. Each one is a spontaneous shot of my birth daughter. She might be looking up at a tree with colorful leaves, reaching to get one, and I can put myself there. With each picture they send me specific details of where, when, and why it was taken.

Most of their letters are at least three, and sometimes five, pages long. There’s one each from her mother and father, each with stories to tell about how my birth daughter has blessed their lives. They write about their extended families, especially the grandparents, and how much they love their little girl. I read their letters many times. They almost always end with, “Thank you, Sharon, for giving us this wonderful little girl. We love you.”

After I read a letter, I sit down to try to write back. I tell them what is happening in my life and express my gratitude for all they do for me and my birth daughter. When I finish the first attempt at response, I usually throw it away and start over.

I write at least four letters before I find just the right words. I find it difficult to write to them, not because I don’t want to, but because they send me such long, expressive letters that my responses seem short and boring. I don’t have any news to give them. I don’t have all the excitement of a little girl growing up and changing every day.

I spent some time thinking about why it’s so difficult to write these letters. I think it is because I believe that they expect more from me with each letter, that my birth daughter expects more. I look at my letters and they always describe the same, boring, everyday events in my life. “I am attending school. Zak is seven now and in second grade. He is doing very well.”

It took me a long time to realize that my birth daughter and her parents don’t care that my life isn’t exciting. They don’t expect anything from me. They are as pleased as I am to exchange news, even if mine doesn’t change much from letter to letter.

What matters is that I keep writing, that I express my love for my birth daughter. Later, she may ask, “Didn’t you love me?” My letters show how important she has always been to me.

Even to birth parents in closed adoptions, I recommend writing. If and when your birth child finds you, you can give her the letters you’ve written over the years. She’ll see that she was always in your thoughts. Every word in my letters is an expression of the heart. This is the greatest gift I have to offer.


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