Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Dear Birth Mother....

When hoping to adopt a child one of the standard requirements is for the prospective parents to write to expectant parents which is known as the "Dear Birth Mother Letter".  In it you are to encapsulate who you are as a family, what your hopes and dreams are and should you be the lucky chosen family to parent their baby what the child's life will potentially look like.  Much time is put into these letters as you want to be respectful yet really promote yourselves as being the best choice for the baby if their choice is not to parent.  It of course is carefully worded and very politically correct.  I have written a few in my time. It would be so much easier if I could simply put in writing what I am thinking and feeling without worrying about how each word and sentence might be interpreted.  Sort of an all cards on the table type letter.

It might go something like this:

Dear Birth Parents

I want your baby.  If you are reading this letter you are seriously considering adoption for your baby and I'm here to ask you, plead with you even, to pick me.  Again, if you are reading my letter specifically it is because you are looking at adoption partly if not solely because your baby has been born with some form of health or disabling condition.  That makes me want your baby even more!

I know you have many questions of me and equally I have a couple for you.
   are you considering not parenting your child due to financial reasons?
   are you considering not parenting your child because you fear you do not have the skills or family       support to raise a child with special needs?

The reason I would ask these questions is because before I attempt to convince you that we are the best option for your child I need to make peace with the fact that I have done what I can to ensure that the loss you will potentially experience is not one that I could have prevented with education or perhaps even the offering of some financial support.  Yes I know the adoption agency plays some of that role but they are not in the trenches so to speak.  I know what it is to raise a child with a handicapping condition and I know what it does and does not take.  I want to ensure I have dispelled any misconceptions you might be under so that you are fully informed when you make the ultimate decision of placing.

Should you still come to the resolution that adoption is the best for your family I most excitedly jump up and down with both hands in their air yelling "pick me!  Pick me!"

In the interest of full disclosure and brutal honesty the facts of me/us are as follows:

I am older than dirt.  I'm not as old as some but definitely older than most looking to adopt a newborn particularly one that will likely require care for all of their lives.  That being said....I know stuff.  I have textbook knowledge on a variety of related subjects but I also know the stuff that comes with years of experience and living long enough to see things from start to finish.  I am connected.  In raising children with special needs for as long as I have in the same location I have teams of professionals that know me, what my mad skillz are and whom listen to me when I think there is a problem.  There is no pussy footing around as to whether Mama is a loon and is misinterpreting information or symptomology.  They know full well I'm a loon but trust me in my observation skills and knowledge base.  In some instances they understand that because I am living with and am witness to various symptoms etc twenty four hours a day that chances are I might just have some credibility.  My connections extend outside of the medical profession into that of education, recreation and adult services.  I have forged relationships in all areas thus being able to effectively advocate for specialized services etc.

I have a schwack load of kids.  There's no doubt about it.  Some of my kids are now adults all of whom have some degree of disability thereby requiring extra care.  Though most would like to think this is a negative they couldn't be more wronger than wrong.  You have never seen such a group of cheerleaders for each other.  You have never seen siblings set each other up for success like mine do.  Don't get me wrong.  There are still squabbles and bickering but there is more of  a sense of compassion for each other than I have seen or experienced in other families.  Even though many of the children are essentially nonverbal they are able to communicate with each other.  They also know to alert me to any infractions that might be occurring or any safety issues i.e. seizure out of my eyesight, someone leaving the group on an outing etc.  Above all each member of the family is able to value the worth of the other.  They don't see disability or what the other can't do.  They only see each other for whom they are.  Being large in number and unique in nature offers many opportunities for laughter.  We never take ourselves too seriously.  You really have to be able to laugh at yourself sometimes as many times your situation is just that funny.  There is so much to cry about in the world and life is so short it is such a waste to cry about things you cannot change.  I am well aware that I have a large number of big and little people counting on me to help them live their best life possible.  I am also aware that my decision to have a large family and one with special needs was not ultimately theirs so I ensure that I am as tuned in as possible to each of them and that each is encouraged in all areas of interest.  We like to travel, eat out, entertain and participate in such activities as fund raising challenges for a provincial charity.  I do my best not to allow our size to prevent us from doing anything we want to do.  I believe in enrichment.  There is a whole world out there to experience and to do that you have to be out in it.

I am not married, have never married, don't plan on getting married.  Just talk to any of my married friends or yours even and they'll tell you I am the smart one!  I have always wondered why my marital status hasn't been met with more of a positive attitude.  I get that without a husband there is not another adult in the house to share the load.  Let's face it though, in parenting there is generally one person taking the lions share of responsibility and just because there is another adult body in the house doesn't mean they necessarily perform fifty percent of the work.  There can be a lot of conflict when a couple is parenting.  Not always are the two on the same page.  A marriage takes work.  Lots and lots of work if it is to be healthy and maintained.  I as a single mother have nothing but time to devote to the children.  They are the focus.  I in no way mean to negate the benefits of having two parents or the role of a father.  I believe in a perfect world families would all consist of two cohesive partners who share all duties equally.  Obviously we do not live in a perfect world.  It is up to me then to make available to my children opportunities to experience different relationships etc. thus broadening their awareness as much as possible.  Realistically for my children it is far better that they have one parent who loves them unconditionally than to have none or a life of inconsistency and impermanence that living in foster care can bring.

Financially we are stable.  We own a home, a bus and enough disposable income to travel, have some in private school, and essentially indulge ourselves on occasion.  Though the majority of the kids are unable to express what it is they might want they really want for nothing.  Both house and vehicle are adapted for accessibility.

Have I convinced you yet to pick me to mother your child?  I can promise you they would be loved beyond reason.  They would be given every opportunity to succeed no matter what that looks like for them.  They will be celebrated on a daily basis.  Their community will be large.  Not only would they have our immediate family to dote on them but we have extended family, friends and even our professional community to show them that even if they made not a single gain beyond being born that they are perfect in our eyes.  I cannot fully put into words the magnitude of the love I would have for this very much wanted and longed for child.

Part of loving your child would be loving and respecting where they came from.  That is you.  You are forever the child's first family.  You gave them life. When you decided that raising them would not be for whatever reason in their best interests you made the ultimate sacrifice of saying so and looked for whom you felt would offer the best and the most as you yourself would like to do if you were able.  That is what parents do.  We put our childrens' needs before our own even when it crushes us emotionally.  With having no information about you I know that if you have come to a point where you believe your child's needs are best served by someone else that it has not been a decision arrived at without much discussion and many tears.  The most difficult experience in life is the loss of a child and most don't put themselves in a position to do so.  The fact that you are willing to face that for what you hope is the betterment of your child tells me you are courageous and selfless.  You have my undying respect (and that's even if you chose me or not!).

So I think that is it.  What remains would be any specific questions you have for me.
I hope you like me.  I hope you really, really like me so much so in fact that you could not imagine your child being raised with anyone else.  I am eager, I am ready.  My kids are eager for a new sibling.  They are ready.

All that remains is for you to PICK ME! PICK ME! PICK ME!


D said...

Honestly Patricia, I think this is the type of letter from the heart and blattenly honest is what a lot of birth mothers could relate to and probably find refreshing. Try it you never know it may be a welcome change and make your letter stand out from all the others. The birth family who chooses you will be giving their child one of his/hers greatest gift in life.

Tricia said...

Thanks so much!

Rachel K said...

Is there a baby that could be joining your family soon? When I read your letter I just thought wow. I can't imagine how hard it must be for birth parents to make the decision to adopt out their child. You are such an amazing, loving and selfless being. Any child that gets to have you as their mum will be truly blessed and will live a full and happy life.

Tricia said...

I would really really REALLY like to adopt a newborn again. There are no guarantees even if I was a married couple with none or only one child etc etc but I am ever hopeful. A close call eighteen months ago but in the end it didnt play out.
Thanks for the kind words

The Kings said...

This is awesome. You are awesome. If I wasn't able to parent my own child I would pick you Tricia :)

Paula J said...

I agree with the others...that is BEAUTIFULLY written, and from the heart. You truly are an inspiration! Your letter makes me want to run out and find a baby for you! You are a really special lady Patricia, and agree with D, I would use this if I were you. It is honest and real, I would pick you!

Tricia said...

Hey Paula J

Ummm about that running out and finding me a baby...can I give you gas money or a Starbucks card at least? Do you say maybe have a timeline on when you might be doing that finding? Ya know...just so Im prepared and all....