Adoptive parents often make a commitment to send pictures and letters to their child’s birth mother on a regular basis. This blog is intended to give a window into what may happen after you send the pictures and write the letters. Each story is unique, but they all speak to the ways in which keeping a connection to your child’s birth family via pictures and letters is an expression of love, gratitude and respect for their role in your child’s life.
In my previous role as an adoption social worker, I had many opportunities to work with women who had recently placed a child for adoption. This is my reflection from a visit with a birth parent about one month after placement. Her name has been changed in order to maintain her confidentiality.
We met at her house and I brought pictures and a letter from the adoptive parents with me. As I sat across the table from Jamie, I watched her hands reach out for the envelope in my hands. Her focus is so intent on what is in the envelope, you can see that the rest of the room just disappears for her. As she looks at each picture, I see her shoulders visibly relax and her face light up with a look that is reserved solely for those she loves. She pages through the pictures, puts them back in the envelope and through tears, tells me how much better she feels seeing how well her daughter is doing. Looking at these pictures confirms in her heart and her mind that she made the right decision. She says she can see how well her parents are caring for her. Jamie smiles and notes she can see a little of her own nose in the pictures of the baby. Her relief and sense of comfort is visible in her body language. Jamie expresses that seeing the pictures and reading the letter relieved a little of the pain and sadness she felt inside.