The Letter: ‘Dear Expectant Parent’.
This is the step I save for last. I think it is the hardest. The Book is pressure. The Letter is something else. If you like tackling hard things first, start with the letter.
To my knowledge, most agencies use these letters as the first tool when an expectant woman is considering an adoption plan and choosing a family. Our agency puts them in a three ring binder with other families. As hard as it is to write the letter, I cannot even begin to understand how overwhelming it is for an expectant mother to be responsible for finding parents for her child by reading a letter.
The first time we made our letter, the result was kind of awful. We poured out all of our hearts. Every time we tried to make it look pretty, we felt dumb. How do you cutesy up a letter so meaningful? Making The Book look pretty made sense. It’s an album. It has pictures by default. There were endless templates to help with the design. (Spoiler: Use a template for your letter.)
Using what we learned from the last time, I found a template from Vista Print. It was in the flyer section. We ordered right from Vista Print. They had very fast shipping. I am very happy with the quality. However, if you use a flyer template, you have to order the minimum quantity required. (Yes, I have half a million copies of our letter.) After the fact, I found canva. They have template options and you print at your own location.
A few tips:
- Breath. You can do this.
- You will not make it perfect. I just found a typo in our letter. 🙂
- Who chooses you will love it!
- Please do not use our words or copy this letter in any way. The intention is to help other families find a starting point and inspiration.
- If you would like more details about our letter, email me directly. chrischelse at gmail dot com
***originally published November 2016***
November is National Adoption Month. This year, the theme is foster care adoption and older child adoption. I do not have any personal experience with foster care adoption or older child adoption. That is probably why I didn’t feel really connected to adoption awareness month this year. I was also extra busy with the life thing right now. I did, however, think a lot about what adoption has meant to me this past year, and how far I have come with adoption in its complex glory. I decided to write about all of the ways I am thankful that my life has been touched by adoption.
- The ‘Wait’: It’s not a secret that we are hoping to grow our family again through adoption. Part of the reason this blog has been neglected is because my time has been spent figuring out ways to get the word out that we are ready for our second child. I have stretched myself, gotten so far out of my comfort zone, and challenged everything I thought I had learned during years of infertility and our adoption journey the first time.I had thought that I had finally figured it out. Adoption was the answer to building our family so I had thought that growing our family would be easier the second time. I had felt kind of guilty about it too. I fought so hard to become Knox’s mother. I pushed myself, the people around me, and I challenged everything that I thought was true. I wanted to be 100% that I had done everything in my power to create a life he would be proud of.With #2, I felt like I was following the motions in the beginning. Call the agency, update the home study, the physicals, the fingerprints, make the book, write the letter, and get the online profile active. Then, after all the work, get the baby. Guess what? It hasn’t happened, not just for us, but no one in the pool of families ready to adopt have been chosen.I never wanted to create this blog and this site. I am very private. I have a super hard time talking about things that make me feel vulnerable. The ‘wait’ is what has forced me out of my comfort zone. I have a unique and special story that needs to be shared. I didn’t realize it until the ‘wait’. My second child is giving me courage. Our second child has already taught me so much about my strength as a mother.
By having to wait, I have found how immensely strong I can be. I have found my voice. My journey to Knox taught me about faith and perseverance, among countless other things. My journey to our number 2 is teaching me to find my voice and to realize my responsibility to my community. In the ways that I previously felt guilty, I now feel empowered. Like each pregnancy is special, each adoption journey is special. I love a child growing in my heart and I am doing everything I can to be the best possible mother I can be for them.
- I am thankful for this site. I understand that I have a lot to learn and I am capable of doing hard things. It is a skill that I value about myself. It’s because of that skill and being very stubborn that I figured out the personal work I needed to do to create this space. 3 years ago, I couldn’t talk about infertility. I got blotchy talking about adoption. Now, I’m writing about my feelings about adoption to 4 million people on adoption.com. I feel valuable in my journey to motherhood.
- I am thankful for all of the families waiting to adopt on this site. I was very nervous to reach out and ask if you wanted to be included. I really felt vulnerable expressing all of my dreams to change the world of adoption to you. Thank you for agreeing to be included. Thank you to everyone who answered my emails. Thank you so much more to everyone who wrote a post to contribute to this site and our community.
I know this is hard. The holiday season is not going to be easy if your waiting. I am challenging you to acknowledge how different and amazing you are because adoption is hard. What are you thankful for this holiday season?
***originally published November 2016***
Chris and I were asked if we would like to be interviewed for the July centerpiece in The Ann, a local magazine. For their July issues, the focus is on local businesses. This year, the topic is ‘The Ultimate Merger: Couples in Business’. We were super excited to be asked, interviewed, and have the opportunity to get photographed by an actual photographer.
This all happened at the same time we were launching this site so we decided to bring up open adoption in the interview. I am going to create a better world for my son and future children. This article was a step, and this site is a step. It was hard to put it out into the world that my family is built through open adoption, that I do not know what pregnancy is like, and that my son is my son. He is my heart and soul. His Birth Mother found me. She made me a mother. She knew him first. I cannot imagine life any other way.
Talking about adoption and what it means to me is scary. I cried after the interview, nearly giving my myself a panic attack. I wasn’t sure if the interviewer would get ‘it’. Would they use proper adoption language? Will they label my family? Did I just open my son up to being judged and labeled? Will I be portrayed as not his ‘real mom’? Being vulnerable is hard! Changing the world is hard!
I will make a better world for my son. I will create a world that I am proud of. I will stand up for women and their rights. I will work really hard to be brave for every woman who has placed. I will show that mothers are mothers no matter how they build their families, even when they are not parenting.
You can find The Ann around town this month.
Originally posted on 6/28/2016