The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Attempted to Write

I’m a communicator.  I love to talk and I love to write.  Ask me to write a blog post, and I 95% of the time I can come up with something to say.  Heck, I write 5-6 days a week, clearly I am not one to be at a loss for words.

But, ask me to write a letter to birth parents and I’m at a complete loss for where to even start. The adoption process in our province requires us to write this letter (once we get to the USA side we will also have to put together a photo album).

In fact, writing this letter is the hardest task I’ve faced so far in our adoption journey and may literally be the hardest thing I have ever attempted to write.  So, for a few weeks now I’ve been mastering the art of procrastination.  (Fortunately/unfortunately we are waiting on other adoption things right now, so my procrastination is not holding anything up).

Many parts of the adoption process have been daunting but doable for us – like selecting which races we are open to and what substance we are willing to accept. In fact, it was relatively easy for us to make these selections as they were fact based decisions.  We were able to research and for the most part find scientific evidence to support our decisions.

Alas, for me, writing this letter is just not that simple.  There are no boxes to check and data to evaluate.  No amount of research will provide me with the answers on how to use the English language to share what is in in our hearts.  Simply this letter is subjective and straight from our hearts, which also means its outside of our research based comfort zone. And to make matters worse, I have built this letter up in my mind to be the most important part of the entire adoption process because it will create everyone’s first impression of us and ultimate determine our fate as parents.

So, I sit and I try to come up with the right words.  But I’m stuck.

How do we tell someone that we’ve never met that Mr. MPB and I will make excellent parents and we want to build a life for our child that will include them so long as they want to be included so long as it is a healthy relationship and does not put the child in danger.  And we want to build an inclusive family which respects and honours our child’s heritage.

Where do I start trying to tell someone that after all we have been through in life, all we want is to share our love with a child, to help them grow and learn.

How do I tell someone that we intend to raise our child to value fun and yet to have strong moral convictions while understanding the difference between right and wrong.

How can we possibly explain in words that all we want to is to provide a child with every opportunity, yet at the same time we want to help them learn responsibility.  While we will likely be able afford to give them the material things they want, we wont.  Instead we will encourage them to save their allowance to help them learn the value of a dollar.

For that matter, How do we show that we plan to strive to find a balanced approach to parenting that we feel neither of our parents ever achieved?  We want to take the best of both of our parents and limit the worst.  For example, how do we say that we want to support our child, encouraging them through the thick and thin.  Yet, we will not lead their lives for them.  Instead, we will strive to find the balance between allowing our child the freedom to make their own mistakes, and yet offer a guiding hand (and discipline) when one is wanted or needed.

It’s easy to say that we will love and protect our child to the best of our ability, but what words give that sentiment justice?  How can simple words convey just how important it is to us to do everything within our power to protect our child.  In our sad and short parenting experience, we have done that, and it breaks out heart that we have experienced failure.

It’s also easy to say that we love the outdoors.  We clearly love to go camping, hiking and traveling.  But, how do I convey that we want to share these passions with our child, yet if they don’t enjoy the same things, we want to nurture their passions?  Maybe they will love hockey, maybe they will love playing the violin, maybe the will love video games or maybe they will love to paint.  Maybe our child will want to become the next football star and we will support them in that, but we will never push them towards success at all costs.  Along the same lines, the idea of having an academically inclined child fits our personalities, but this isn’t a guarantee (adoption or not).  We know this about ourselves, and we also know there is no way to to predict this and all we can do is love a child and encourage them to pursue their passions so long as they are legal).  How do we convey this in a way that makes some sort of sense, and doesn’t make us sound completely arrogant?

Simply, how do we say all our hopes and dreams for our child and our family, knowing full well that the world does not promise anything?  Knowing that regardless of our hopes and dreams, we may fall short from time to time.  And there may be circumstances beyond our control, in which all we can do is support our child and our family through the hard times.  How do we acknowledge reality without dwelling on it?

As a first introduction, a letter seems unbelievably impersonal, and yet it will be the very first thing any birth mother will know about us.  So, how the heck do we even start to write this letter and put words to all these emotions.  How do we eloquently explain say all of this to a perfect stranger?   How do we be true to ourselves without exaggerating anything?  How do we present ourselves in a good light?  Part of me feels like I am writing a cover letter for a job, and another part of me feels like we have to sell ourselves in this letter (and eventual photo album), and I hate that idea.  It just feels way to impersonal.

They say that first impressions matter, but in this situation first impressions are simply critical!  And knowing all of this, I feel very overwhelmed.

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57 Comments on “The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Attempted to Write

  1. Wow – this is a tough one!!!! I’ll bet you have so many thoughts and wishes in your head, but trying to get them down on paper sounds so daunting. I’m sure that your love and wish for a child will come across as you write, really hope you can say everything that you wish to say xx

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    • Daunting is a pretty good word to describe it! I’ve spent more time staring at a blank word document then I would like to admit, and I am no closer to figuring out how to say what I want to say.
      Thanks for your confidence in me, I’m hoping we do figure it out eventually.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is hard however you are a beautiful writer, share what comes to your heart … Write what youve just shared with us. Sending you strength to let the words flow liked you just showed to us. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your encouragement. I think I’ve let my mind build this up to be much bigger then it needs to be, I’m hoping to try to simply things and not focus on the big picture. Maybe that will help.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You will do great! Just the fact that you are questioning all the different angles is quite amazing. Instead of a letter going to bio parents, ours went to the Haitian government. I think that was actually a little easier! I feel you are so intentional, intelligent, and compassionate…you will write a wonderful letter no matter what words you choose. Good luck and have fun!

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    • Oh, we have to write letters to our agency in the US as well – probably similar to your Haitian government letters? I’m not even stressing about those letters right now because I just don’t see them as mattering as much. Who knows, maybe I’ll stress about those once I get the birth parent letter done? Or maybe it will be easier since I will already have one to copy from?
      Thanks so much for your encouragement! I hope the words come to me sooner rather then later. 🙂

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  4. Yeah, this is hard. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, as well as the adoption book. It’s scary. Like, really scary to only have a page or whatever to put yourself out there. But I think Shakespeare had it right: “To thine own self be true.” As much as you can, just be yourself and speak from your heart. I think if you are exactly who you are, that will attract the right birth mom and the right baby for you and Mr. MPB. I know this is all WAY easier said than done. I’m going to be freaking out, too, if/when I write one of these. But remember how worried you were about the home study and then it was fine? I think as soon as you get a draft out of your letter you’ll feel much better! Good luck. I’ll be thinking about you. You are obviously an accomplished writer yourself, but if you ever want a second set of eyes for proofreading and/or constructive feedback, I’d be happy to take a look at it over email (my day job is as a writer and editor, so I’m not just randomly throwing that out there haha).

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    • Yup, this letter is hard! I love your (and Shakespeare’s) practical advice – we really do have to be true to ourselves in this letter, that’s probably one of the most important things actually as it’s only fair to the birth mom to read the truth and make her decision based in truth.
      And I may just send you a copy of the letter for a second set of eyes! Mr. MPB will obviously read it, but he’s much more of a numbers guy then a word guy, so your experienced eyes maybe very useful!! Thank you so much for the kind offer. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Is there a page limit? I think you need to write from your heart. Feel free to edit, rewrite and edit again until you are convinced you’ve nailed it. Then, trust that your written words will speak to the heart of the “right” mother.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Typically it’s 2-3 pages long. I suspect you are right, i will write multiple drafts of this letter. It will be edited a million times over! And eventually Mr. MPB will decide it’s finished to prevent me from obsessing endlessly over it. 🙂

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  6. I would write the letter as you’ve written this blog post–convey that you’ve agonized over what to say because your heart and mind is so full of things you want to share.
    You are a beautiful writer. I wouldn’t be too wordy (lest the birth mother be intimidated by vocabulary) but since you are an intellectual I wouldn’t oversimplify or “dumb it down” too much either, because that wouldn’t be authentic.
    Put your heart and soul into it ❤
    XOXO

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you make excellent points!! And I will both convey that we’ve agonized over this letter and work really hard to be straightforward with the text while not oversimplifying.
      My goal is to have a draft completed by the end of the weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I think you just said a bulk of it in this blog post. If it helps you, try making a list of your points, then grouping them, and then just sitting down and writing from the heart, with those points as prompts. Don’t expect it to be perfect right off the bat, and expect to do several edits/revisions with breaks in between. It will come to you. I know it’s a lot more pressure than blogging, but you have demonstrated that you are quite comfortable communicating this way. You got this girl.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I LOVE your idea – that’s how I used to write papers at university, so it shouldn’t be too hard for me to do it again, even though its been a number of years since I wrote a paper for university. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. There are lots of great nuggets for that letter in this beautiful post. Wishing you the best of luck!

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  9. As someone who has been the audience for these types of letters, my suggestion would be to focus more on who you are (what are your personalities like, how do you spend your time, what are your favorite things to do, what is special or unique about your family), rather than to get too intellectual about your intended style of parenting. In my experience, feeling a connection to someone was far more important. I don’t think I read a single letter where anyone described their desire to be a mediocre parent, or love their child only conditionally… We are aware that everyone is going to try to say the “right” things (and not inauthentically, but rather because most people do strive to parent well!) and if you spend too much time talking about that, you’re not going to “stick out” in the crowd. What I wanted to find was a family I felt like I could relate to. And later, as we chatted and spent time together, there was plenty of time to hear about their specific views on parenting. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to sum up your most important values and how that will influence how you parent, but really, I wanted my daughter to be raised by people who I liked. What initially attracted me to the profile of the people who would become my daughter’s family was that they were clearly dog people (like me).

    Liked by 3 people

    • THANK YOU for sharing your insight!! I am beyond thankful. Mr. MPB even read this comment and was really happy to have your suggestions. I like the idea of mentioning our core parenting values (i.e. love, respect, integrity and honesty) and really focusing on who we are as people (i.e. I love to read, Mr. MPB loves fishing) and as a couple (i.e. we love the outdoors, our dog, traveling, etc.).

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  10. Hint: You just did some brainstorming writing in your blog post. I have read many of these letters online. It is very difficult to know what to put in it and if it will really matter if the birth parent(s) have already read a lot of them. I think authenticity and honesty are keys that you will not struggle with. I cannot even imagine how overwhelming this must feel. I know you can do it though!!! Much love to you!

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    • I am so glad you spelled out that hint for me! I didn’t see it, until many of you pointed it out! You are right, in this post I talked about our passions, our future dreams and how we plan to raise our child. I guess I just need to re-frame it, built the content up a bit and string it into a real letter.
      My goal is to have a draft done by the end of the weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh gosh girl! I can’t imagine how tough this must be. After I read your post I sat for a bit trying to figure out what I would say in a letter and I came up blank. How do you put your life in a letter and try to convey your thoughts…feelings…desires…hopes and dreams? I have no idea but what I do know is that you are such an amazing person who can convey your words so beautifully. So I have no doubt that the letter you write will be amazing! Love ya sugars! xo

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    • Tough is a great word! Like you, every time i think of this letter I come up blank too and I just keep staring at a blank white screen. I start to panic about how important it is, and how hard it is to sum up our lives and our dreams in a simple letter, and I end up getting no-where quickly.
      I think I need to break it down, simplify and completely ignore the importance of the letter. Then, maybe I’ll be able to write something worthwhile.

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  12. I would say you’ve already got a great start to your letter just by reading this post. You’ve already done a wonderful job expressing yourself. That said, I can’t imagine how overwhelming it would feel to have to write a letter like that. Praying that you find the perfect words to share the love in your hearts!

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    • Thanks so much for your encouragement. I think you are right, I will use this as a starting point – it talks about what we are like, what we want our futures to look like, and how we hope to raise our child. I guess those are probably the big points we should hit in the real letter.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I think maybe you should use this post as a starting point…an outline, sort of. It seems like you have everything “listed” here that you want to touch on in your letter, so it will help you organize your thoughts and make them flow. Is there a minimum/limit on what you can write? I’d say just write from your heart and you will be fine…you’re a beautiful person, and a beautiful writer, so whatever you come up with will be perfect. And honestly, if anyone doesn’t like you or get what you’re saying, I think there’s something not right with them! You’re always so clear and raw in your writing, they would have to see how amazing you guys are. We can proof read if you need us to 🙂

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    • Thanks so much Amy for your constructive advice! We are told the letters are typically about 2-3 pages in length.
      And I think you are right that I should be letting go of some of my anxiety about this letter to realize that if someone doesn’t like us or get what we are saying in the letter, then it’s not the right fit anyways.

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  14. It would be incredibly hard. All I can think of is somehow you’ll manage to capture the essence of you on there. And be honest. Honesty and truth always win in the end

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    • I absolutely agree about being honest and truthful! I am slightly afraid that I might just be too honest, because I tend to have no filter sometimes.
      My goal is to have at least a draft done by the end of the weekend. 🙂

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  15. As some of the readers mentioned, be who you are is the best. The sincereness and kindness will touch every heart. I know how hard it must be but believe you can do this.

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  16. If you’re really struggling a great technique is to write it in the third person then convert it back to first person when you think you’ve got it nailed. But as many other have said you write beautifully and I’m sure the warmth will come across there as much as it does here.

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    • I tried that a week ago and Mr. MPB made fun of it when he was reading over my shoulder. (Not in a mean way, just in a that sounds really odd kind of way). Maybe I should give it another try?

      Liked by 1 person

  17. My goodness, what a difficult letter to write. I think though that the way you’ve expressed what you want in this post is brilliant – maybe it should be something similar? It shows you as caring and supportive parents with a child’s best interests at heart, but also nervous about being “good enough” and communicating just how much this really means to you both. Not an easy thing to do, but you are good with words – I think you will write something just beautiful xxx

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    • It is a difficult letter to write! I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t expect it to be this challenging.
      I think I’m going to try to take parts of this post – the hopes and fears and wanting to be good enough. And, then I’ll add a lot more about what we love to do and how we like to spend our time. Hopefully I can do it without staring at a blank word document for the entire day. 🙂
      Thank you for your thoughts on how to tackle it – I think you are spot on!

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  18. I’ve thought about what I would have said if my wife and I had gone down the same path you did. I think the most important thing is to present an accurate picture of who and your husband are not who you think an expectant mother wants you to be. If you do that I’m sure you’ll be fine. 🙂

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  19. Yeah, that’s tough. It’s so hard to sum up who you are and what you want your family to be in 2-3 pages. 203 pages, maybe… (Though the idea of writing a Family Manifesto is appealing.)

    Have you thought of asking for suggestions from your close friends or family? Not that you’d ask them to write a recommendation for you, more like asking for ideas or stories that typify who you and Mr. MPB are and the kind of things you find important. I’ve always found that my friends see qualities in me that I ignore or take for granted.

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    • I love your idea of a Family Manifesto! But, I don’t think any birth-parent would enjoy it
      We had not thought about asking for suggestions from our close friends or family. It would be interesting to hear what they have to say!

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  20. You are an amazing writer to start with but yes, this would be a daunting task for anyone. I would suggest being very direct. Tell facts and not as many feelings. I know you don’t want to seem cold but I think if I were a mom I’d want to know that my child is safe, happy, healthy and cared for. Good luck with this. 🙂

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  21. good luck with the letter and photo album. I remember when we were looking into adoption and how the possibility of those tasks seemed so monumentous!

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  22. This brought back so many memories! I remember being stalled and completely freaked out about the letter to the birth parents as well! There is no perfect formula or sequence of words, but you’re already doing what the birth mom will want to read-you’re writing from the heart. She doesn’t need perfection, just honesty like you’re already doing. Kudos to you for really taking this to heart!!!

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