Letter to an Adoptee
I had the special privilege of working as an Adoption Social Worker for many years. I typically wrote a letter similar to this to each child after they went home with their adoptive parents. My purpose in doing so was two fold: (1) to share my experience of the time I spent with their birth parents and how they came to chose adoption and to let them know how much they were loved and (2) to share Jesus with them. I gave a copy to the adoptive parents to share one day in the future if they chose to, and I placed a copy in their adoptive file to be found should they ever seek information in the future.
The end of this letter is a little more personal because this is our own adoption story.
Dear Rya and Roman,
I knew your birth mom K for 5 years prior to your birth. She was a single mom raising a daughter and had previously placed another child for adoption. She was 24 years old with a high school GED and a job in a hospital cafeteria. She was 5’6 tall with long beautiful brown hair and brown eyes. You both have her cute nose! She was very pretty. Her personality was strong, determined, hard working, funny, and self-assured. I love her laugh! I know less about your birth father T, but you are both tall like him and Rya looks a lot like he does!
She had dreams of a husband still unfulfilled. She wanted what most women want, a good husband who could provide financially, a home and a family. When she was pregnant with the two of you, she really wanted to be able to parent you! The reality of raising 3 children alone hit her, and it broke her heart, but she decided that placing you for adoption would be the best gift she could give you. Because she had already gone through placing your older sister H, she was aware of just how hard it was going to be. There is a grief in placing a child for adoption that is like a death. It is always there and doesn’t go away. On top of that, society doesn’t help because they don’t always honor birth moms in the way that they should for making such a difficult and unselfish decision. I consider them heroes who will chose to carry the pain of loss for what they believe is the greater good. I’m not sure I have that quality. I am too selfish.
She loved you so much! Let me try to explain what that kind of love looks like. She loved you so deeply that she was able to look beyond herself and think about what would be the best for you in your life. All the while she could feel you moving inside of her and she was beginning to know each of you. She could tell which one of you were moving and who was in what position. She used to tell me all the time that “the little girl is going to be the strong one.” It turns out she was right! She also allowed me to be a big part of her pregnancy, because she wanted you both to recognize my voice when you were born. She wanted you to be raised in a Christian, 2-parent home with siblings and lots of love.
She chose an open adoption so that she would be able to know you and you her. You have 3 siblings whom you get to stay in contact with because of our open adoption. We chose open adoption as a family because, as Christians, we felt the gift she was giving us was amazing but realized that we have a lifetime of gifts to give to her in return. Your dad called it a ministry opportunity. We can be Jesus to her. We can be a witness through how we raise you, how we treat her and honor her as your birth mom. We believe that the example of our Christian marriage can be a witness to her. We can help lessen her grief by allowing her to share in your life. She and your birth father T are a part of our lives now forever because they are a part of you and we celebrate that!
It’s neat to know them because sometimes I will call you by one of their names when you make a facial expression like them or you act like one of them. It’s what can sometimes be missing for an adoptive child, the connection of knowing whom you look like and where you came from. You can act like K and often look like her but I see a lot of H in you as well. Roman looks a lot like H!
I want to share with you some of what the Bible says.
Isaiah 44:2 says: “I am your Creator, you were in my care even before you were born.” God made you, you are not an accident.
Psalm 139:13-16 says: “For you created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
Imagine all the loving care He took to create you just they way you are. He knit you together while you were still in K’s womb.
I would like to share you an excerpt from Rick Warren’s book entitled The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?:
You are not an accident. Your birth was no mistake or mishap, and your life is no fluke of nature. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He was not at all surprised by your birth. In fact, he expected it. Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. He thought of you first. It is not fate, no chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. You are alive because God wanted to create you! He custom made your body just the way he wanted it. He also determined the natural talents you would possess and the uniqueness of your personality. . . . God also planned where you’d be born and where you’d live for his purpose. Your race and nationality are no accident. God left no detail to chance. He planned it all for his purpose. Most amazing, God decided how you would be born. Regardless of the circumstances of your birth or who your parents are, God had a plan in creating you. It doesn’t matter if your parents were good, bad or indifferent. God knew that those two individuals possessed the right genetic makeup to create the custom “you” he had in mind. They had the DNA God wanted to make you.
K and T love you. Dad and I love you. That pales in comparison to how much God loves you! I hope that you can grasp the depth of his love for you. I hope that as you look back on being adopted you see that there was a lot of love involved in the whole process. I hope that you will always look to God as your Father. You were entrusted to us but he is your one true Father.
We love you and are thankful everyday that we have been blessed with you.
Mom (and Dad)
Excerpts taken from The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren, Chapter 2, pages 22-24
Gina and Kevin have been married for 19 years. Not only is she a social worker, Gina’s a mom to 6 great kids (3 teenagers, 1 preteen, and 2 toddlers) who keep her busy and on her knees. With the God-given gift of compassion, Gina has a heart for birth mothers and loves open adoption. She loves to see couples achieve their dream of becoming parents through adoption as well. Most of all, she loves watching God work through all of it. She shares her writing publicly and honestly because she’s learned that though we may look good on the outside, each one of us has our own struggles. Gina chooses to use each struggle to grow in her faith. Follow that growth on her personal blog here.