Obviously, we’re on a bit of a writing kick. We can’t stop writing about writing (ha ha). And today we want to talk about a different kind of writing: writing letters to your child.
Really, the title of this post is a little dishonest, because nothing anyone writes is ever perfect, and that’s a good thing. Marc Jacobs once said, “Perfection is just... boring. Perfect is what's natural or real; that is beauty” (who knew fashion designers were so wise? Now if only his purses were affordable). The point is that when you sit down to write a letter to your child, there’s no use in agonizing over trying to make it absolutely perfect. Whether you have been writing to them their whole life or are hoping to reunite after a long period of absence, the important thing as that you’re writing, not whether the letter is “just right.”
To help ease the stress that comes from trying too hard to be perfect, here are some tips to keep in mind once you sit down to write.
Don’t overthink it. If you put too much thought into this letter, you run the risk of becoming so overwhelmed that you never even get started. Remember, even if you only write three sentences, those three sentences will still be more than what your child has right now. They don’t need you to give them the answers to life’s biggest questions; they just want to be able to hold up a piece of paper and know that it’s a letter their birth parent wrote especially for them.
Keep it simple. You and your child are certainly connected in a deep and meaningful way, but they do not know very much about who you are as a person, so just start with the basics: your hobbies, your family, your job if you have one. What do you do every day? Who do you see? What is your neighborhood like? What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Think about when you were a kid and you met someone new. You weren’t interested in their deep-seated beliefs or their underlying motivations; you just wanted to know what kinds of foods they liked to eat and whether they enjoyed the same kinds of movies you did.
You don’t have to say it all. Many of our birth moms worry about telling their child about the difficult things that have happened in their lives. Some of them are particularly afraid to talk about their child’s birth father, especially if he was not officially a “partner” or if he was violent or abusive. There’s no reason to share things that you aren’t comfortable discussing. When you meet a new friend, you don’t tell them everything about your entire life in one fell swoop! First, you chat about the basics. Someday, when you know your child a little bit better and they are old enough to understand, maybe you’ll be able to talk about some of the hard times in your life and how they may have impacted your adoption decision. But right now is just the beginning.
Have you ever written a letter to your child? What did you write about? What advice do you have for other birth parents?