Picture and Letter Correspondence with Birth Parents
How Our Agency Keeps Your Correspondence Confidential
American Adoptions asks all of our adoptive families to sign our picture and letter agreement, which promises birth mothers pictures and letters of the adopted child…
once within the first 30 days of birth
twice per year for the first 5 years
once per year around the child’s birthday from ages 6 to 18
How Do We Keep Our Identifiable Information Confidential?
Most of our adoptions are considered open, but we do take steps to protect your identifiable information, including your last names, home addresses and other personal contact information. If your child’s birth mother decides on a mediated, semi-open adoption for her child, your picture and letter correspondence will be mailed to American Adoptions, which is then forwarded to the birth parents, to preserve confidentiality agreed to in your adoption plan.
However, in more “open” adoptions (our agency standard), you and the birth parents may agree to send correspondence directly to one another, but only if both parties are comfortable with this relationship.
While American Adoptions will not share your identifying information unless you’re comfortable with us doing so, all prospective adoptive parents should know that birth parents may eventually learn their last name. It’s not unusual for birth parents to use social media to learn more about adoptive parents that they’re interested in, and many find out their child’s adoptive parents’ last name through this process or after connecting on those sites post-placement. In addition, both you and the birth mother may find out each other’s last names during the hospital stay or the legal placement process.
You may be wary of a birth parent learning your last name, but rest assured that this curiosity is nothing more than the natural desire to learn more about who they’re choosing to raise their child. In fact, by choosing to share your last name with the birth mother on your own, you can establish a strong, trusting relationship that ensures a more successful adoption for all involved. When a birth parent knows that you trust them enough to share this information, they will feel more secure in your relationship and be more likely to place their child with your family — and help create a stronger open adoption relationship for all involved. Sharing of this information will also allow for easy, direct picture and letter contact.
What Does the Birth Mother Want to See in this Correspondence?
When sending adoption pictures and letters, be sure to include a variety of photos of your child: school portraits, photos of your child playing sports, holiday pictures, and any other activities the birth mother would enjoy seeing.
Also, remember the birth mother chose your entire family, so be sure to include photos of your child with you and your other family members!
What About the Birth Father?
In some cases where birth fathers are involved, the adoptive family will be asked to send in more than one adoption letter and picture package so that both the birth mother and birth father can receive updates. The birth parents also have the option of sending correspondence back to the adoptive parents in the form of letters, pictures and/or small gifts.
Where Do We Mail Our Correspondence?
Exchanging adoption pictures and letters through our agency is easy. Simply mail your items to:
Attn: Pictures and Letters Department
7500 W 110th St. Suite 500
Overland Park, KS 66210
Be sure to include the picture and letter correspondence form that includes your full name and the birth mother’s first name along with your pictures and letters. This information is for internal use only and will not be forwarded to the birth mother. If you do not have this form, please contact Michelle Downard at 1-800-ADOPTION so she can send you the form.
Once received, our agency will repackage your pictures and letters and mail them to the birth mother from our agency address.
Even if you have a more open adoption with identifying information, we are still available to mediate this picture and letter contact, if you choose. If you choose to mail your pictures and letters directly to your child’s birth mother, your adoption specialist will make sure you have the right information prior to placement.
How Much Does This Service Cost?
All picture and letter correspondence is already covered in our adoption fees. This includes handling, packaging and shipping. Some adoption professionals charge families each time they mail pictures and letters to the birth parents.
If you have any questions regarding your picture and letter agreement, or when you are due to submit your correspondence, please contact Michelle Downard at 1-800-ADOPTION.
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