Dear John Letter to Birth Mom

August 15, 2007 at 3:14 am (Foster Parenting)

Today I sent the dreaded “Dear John” letter to my son’s birth mom.  I had pictured in my head since early on in this process that we would have an open adoption.  I would be the pick up the socks, give you a curfew everyday mom, our network of friends would be grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles and his birth family would be in that mix.  It would certainly be awkward at times but no more so than I imagine many family’s holidays and get togethers are especially the other more traditional blended families (divorce, etc.). 

In many ways I don’t think society is up to speed on open adoption yet so that wasn’t helpful.  Aside from our first social worker who I think through spending time with birth mom as I have, grew to really care about her – everyone else has been appalled I guess is the best word to use.  No one in my life has thought this would be a good idea.  I have done a fair amount of research on how it is and isn’t working for other families through the adoption blogs, etc.  And felt it was what was best for the adopted child, especially since for our situation with foster care where I have interacted with birthmom regularly through out a good portion of his life – we have done joint doctor’s visits, all the court and DCFS stuff, celebrated his birthdays together, etc.

My adoption social worker has not liked the idea from the very beginning and has been condeming it and trying to convince me to stop having visits with birthmom.  Back in probably January, my son started getting really distressed at the end of visits.  He had been seeing his mom for over a year, multiple times a week that first year in foster care and was never distressed.  At first I dismissed it as being over-tired, hungry, over stimulated etc.  However, the distress continued to increase to the point that I have now decided to stop visits.

I am not 100% confident that I am doing the right thing but I have gathered information, talked with lots of child development people and been objective through out the decision and this seems to be the right decision.
I am now waiting for the hate mail and calls to start from birth mom and family.  I will need a lot of strength to get through this time.  Especially since I can not be sure that I am doing the right thing so that will be a fairly easy veneer to chip at.

To date, this was definitely the most emotionally difficult thing I have had to do.  I sure hope I made the right decision and that I can endure the coming attacks with grace and love.


  1. Cuzzin Carrie said,

    It’s natural to want family. That’s why so many people (me) move from far away back to where family is when you get married or have children…You want to be near family. But if your family isn’t acting in a way that is beneficial to you and your son then it is a grieving process that you must go through and mourn the loss of what may not ever be. God doesn’t want the type of family relationship you currently have, either. He wants you all to be close, just as you do, but until/unless everyone else wants that, too, you have what you have…You can’t change your Mom or Dad, they have to want to. Hopefully with prayer and encouragement from the extended family they will. Until then, stay in contact with us, Auntie Jo, my mom, Don and Evie, etc…It’s very hard to stay in touch with you in a close way when we only know what is going on with you when you let us in and tell us. If you lived back up here family would be around you – (the extended family). You know they would be all over your son at any family function and they would help you when you 2 would be in the same place as you parents. I know you don’t have the option to leave where you are yet, but when you do, I hope you will consider moving back this way so we CAN be more of the family you are desiring. The aunts and uncles are getting older – we need to start doing more family functions before they move on to Glory…

    Lots of love-

  2. Cuzzin Carrie said,

    Sorry, the above response is to the feed on the other section..I don’t remember how to get there… 🙂

  3. solomom said,

    Thank you for your support. I had been thinking about moving back up to the cities, then all this happened with my parents and I had sort of abandoned the idea. I won’t cross it off the list entirely – I have been leaning toward Madison wehre my good friends live. That would at least put me close enough to take part in some of the family functions.

  4. juli said,

    you are brave for making yourself available to what God will do in the life of your son, and his birth mom. you are playing the part you need to play as you remain open to the Holy Spirit – no matter what the response that you experience. your openness to her has been brave and loving beyond what many would be willing. these things never come without a cost. you are brave. you are beautiful. you are strong – you are a child of God! …and you do not know the whole story – you do not know what God is doing, what He is putting in place. you do the best you can – it IS good enough. it is what God has given us to do.

    you are a hero!

    i just heard a quote read from a letter of Mother Teresa’s – doubting God…questioning…and i’m reminded of how the disciples responded to jesus when asked if they would turn away…”where else would i go”. sometimes, that’s all we have – and it’s good enough.

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