By: Jason Holling
It’s just a letter, how hard can this be? But this letter was the most important one we would write on our adoption journey. This letter goes on file with our agency, Independent Adoption Center (IAC), and is sent out to birthmothers who request approved family profiles that are looking at adopt. The letter, called the Dear Birthmother Letter, is one of the key things used by birthmothers to learn more about us as a family, our beliefs, lifestyle, etc. The letter for those that have not seen it looks simple, but the choice of words and photos is very challenging.
We thought we were well ahead of the game on the letter and had started writing it last fall, long before we signed up with out agency. We would go to a quiet spot on Saturday afternoons and read other profiles online…jotting down quotes we liked or design ideas. When we attended training at our agency in February, we realized we had a lot of work left to do to complete the letter.
We got to work with an editor that helped us clean up the text and present us in the best possible light. Although he was very nice, it was a stressful process of back and forth edits. The text took 3-4 weeks of edits before we had it right to put into the letter. Justin and I would rush home the night the edits were due back to us and stay up late to make the corrections so we could resubmit our letter and get back in the queue for review with the editor.
The photos were probably the hardest part for us to complete. We had over 80 photos that we liked – but only about two of them made the first cut for the letter. The photos need to show our lifestyle so the birthmother can learn more about us. We ended up hiring a photographer to help us with several of the photos. Even though it was freezing and our teeth were chattering in several of the photos, we think they turned out great.
After a few months of writing, photos, and editing we got the approval in early April to print the draft copy of the letter. The draft looked better then we could have imagined, and we ordered a bundle of the letter to send to our agency to put on file for birthmothers that called in for approved families. It may be just a letter…but every word and photo was carefully and deliberately chosen.
Read more about Jason and Justin’s journey to become parents on JasonandJustin.com.