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Hello. I'm looking for feedback and advice from those of you who are in contact with birth mothers through letters and photos, as well as from birth mothers who have received letters.

I write my daughter's birth mother twice each year and send photos (at her request.) I am delighted to do this, and really glad that she wants photos. Although we have not met in person, I hope to meet when we go back to Guatemala in a couple of years if she is open to it. I have not received communication back, but I know through intermediaries that she does receive them. It is possible she is not able to write back due to illiteracy. My goal is to keep the door open for future contact, and to respond to her request for photos.

I just finished another letter, and I need a little feedback. It's hard to write a letter to someone I don't actually know, about something so important, that is translated into a language I speak poorly! I try to keep the letters brief and focused on sharing some concrete information about Anna - what things she likes to do, her new day care, how beautiful and happy she is. I always include best wishes for Anna's birth mother and her family, and in this case, wished her a Merry Christmas. I have stayed away from sharing deep feelings because of the translation issues and because I don't want to impose on her - she only asked for photos, after all, and I assume it's my daughter she most wants to hear about, not me. However, I do try to have a friendly tone, not cold.

What do you think? I guess I just need reassurance about my approach.
 

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I think your handling it well. I mean you know she is receiving your letters, so that is a big relief. I wouldn't worry too much about not getting a reply back. I know that our birth mom is unable to read or write so all of our adoption documents are signed by her thumbprint, it may be soemthing similar. I do know of a few courrier services that go to Guatemala to hand deliver packages, letters, and they also let the birth family know that if they want to resend soemthing back to you they will deliver it, at your cost. Maybe she is worried about how to send soemthing back and if you could read it? On the other hand I have talked to a few people who said the adoption mentality is really different there vs. here. So she may content with what she is receiving.
 

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This is something I struggle with as well. We send letters to DS's bio family in Ethiopia, and have recieved letters from them as well. It's really hard for me to know what to write. The first time we heard back from them, they told us how grateful they were to hear from us, and how happy they were that we were providing DS with such great care. They were especially impressed with DS's small family birthday party. However, they also expressed concern with such rather typical childhood experiences such as DS climbing an apple tree and taking swimming lessons- they were afraid for his safety.

So I'm really not sure how much to tell them about. Apparently, there are cultural differences and differences about what constitutes a good or beneficial decision. For example, I thought that by telling DS's family that he's been active, riding his bike and climbing trees, that it would be an indication that he is a healthy, active, vibrant child. But instead, it scared them.

We recently sent a letter to DS's bio family. I wrote a brief synopsis of what DS has been up to, but most of the letter was an account of DS's week. I thought that perhaps his bio family would like to know what DS's day-to-day life is like. Now I'm afraid that I again sent too much info, and his bio family will disapprove of DS's activities. We haven't heard back from them, and I'm actually a little afraid of what they will say. I know that if I was in their position, I would want to know as much about the child as possible- I try to imagine how they feel. But on the other hand, I don't want to upset them either.

We do communicate in English- members of DS's bio family are highly literate and communicate in English (not their native language) very well. Although there is a little bit of a language barrier, it's not a huge problem. So we do discuss feelings to some extent. I do feel I can communicate about deeper issues without problems.

While I'm struggling with how much info to share with DS's family, I do know that they appreciate receiving pictures. Although I can tell them that he's doing well, seeing pictures is proof that he is indeed happy, healthy, and growing. In their letters, DS's bio family told us of showing DS's pictures to their family and friends, telling us that their friends were surprised that DS was being so well taken care of. Truly, the pictures are highly valued.
 

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I had/have a similar relationship going on with my daughter's adoptive mother...although the adoption was closed in the beginning, when my daughter was about 2, we opened it up some...

That was 9 years ago, and our communications a fewer and farther between, but I know that when I do hear from her mother, I enjoy hearing about the whole family. She always makes sure to give me the highlights and details of my daughter's accomplishments and milestones, but she also tells me of their family goings-ons...and it makes me feel better.

It is nice to know the things that make them a real, a normal family...that they are not this perfect, television version of the Great American Family...you know, the kind of family that I will never be a part of, the kind of family that my other children will not grow up in...the kind of family that knows the reality of enduring the good and the troublesome, so that my daughter will have a genuine expectation of the world...

I think that sometimes birthmothers have this idea that we're sending our babies into some Rockwellian perfection, tv sitcom, "Father of the Bride" family that will shelter and protect our children from the smallest discomforts of the "real world"...you know, the kind of life that we'd never be able to provide for our children...

For me, knowing that my daughter's family is just as real and unperfect as the family I'm raising at home makes me feel better...I don't know why. I can't really explain it...it just does.
 

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I totally understand where you are coming from...
When DS was born, I spoke with his BM who asked for pictures at birthdays and holidays. She was going to call with a new address as she hoped to be moving soon and could not get the letters at her current home. We never heard from her.
So, instead, I send the letters and photos to the attorney who she originally contacted, on the theory that if she lost our number, his is the one she will have. So far, she hasn't requested the pictures from the attorney.
So - I feel I owe it to DS to continue to send the letters. I have never been a good correspondent, as lost friends from high school and college can attest! I'm usually a month or so behind... I hope that if she starts asking for the letters, I'll get more punctual!

And, like you, I never know what to say! Right now, DS is only 1yo, so I say something about his favorite things (wheels, sticks, the park) and what he's doing developmentally. As he gets older, I plan to involve him with what we say.
I figure even if she never asks for them, the packet will make a nice time-capsule for DS when he gets older.
Good luck!
- Cyndi
 

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I'm also in the situation of writing to a birthmom we will likely never hear from again. I found out last week that the agency isn't even forwarding our letters to her, because the mail came back undeliverable to the address she gave them. So now I'm writing letters that will sit in a file somewhere for months or years until she decides she wants them. It's definitely a challenge to write in this situation.

With my ds, I wrote long, detailed letters about all the things he was doing, even as an infant. With my dd, I find it hard to find time and energy to write, and my letters are lacking in the quality of those I wrote to ds's bmom. I haven't been sharing deep feelings this time like I did with our first bmom because I don't have a relationship where I feel comfortable doing that. I love her dearly, but ours was kind of a "fly by night" meeting, and now I know she isn't actually reading the letters. It's kind of awkward to share deep feelings.

I think your approach sounds fine. I would say that if you do feel an urge to share something more personal or emotional, do so. I believe we get impressions about things for a reason, and maybe there would be times when she needs to hear more depth from you.

One thing that I do is that I keep a piece of notebook paper by the computer, where I jot down things about the kids that I want to share in letters. With my ds, it's the funny things he says and does. With dd, it's just little things that I notice about her that I want to include, but would probably forget about if I didn't write them down. Then when it comes time to put a letter together, my mind is jarred because I've recorded the memories.
 
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