Open Adoption: Writing to the Birth Family


In foster care adoptions, openness is a rarity and not usually the norm. Usually, birth families lose parental rights for a variety of reasons that make it unsafe to continue contact.  However, our situation is a bit different: our agreement is for a semi-open adoption.

Last September, the birth mother of our 20-month-old foster son, Lil Bit, voluntarily relinquished (signed over) her parental rights. With the advice of an attorney, she negotiated to do so with a legal agreement.  In this agreement, in May of each year, we are to send an update letter with photos. (In August, she may visit Lil Bit with a one-month written notice)

The photos were easy, especially since Shutterfly gave 50 free prints as a Mother’s Day gift to its customers. (Yes, I’m frugal) The difficulties for me lie in writing the update letter.

A few events have occurred regarding Lil Bit I’m not sure the birth family should worry about.  For instance, on Valentines’ Day, Lil Bit was hospitalized again for RSV and pneumonia. Would the birth mother worry about a past health issue after it’s been resolved? Also, Lil Bit is speech-delayed and receiving speech therapy through Early Childhood Intervention (ECI); however, he is beginning to talk more. I want her to know that her precious child is, in fact, doing well.

Dear Friends,

Is is wrong to want her to know only the positive aspects of his life and not include the negatives? What would you include in an update letter to the birth family?