Sometimes I have issues that I don’t even realize I have! While reading the forums, I came across a thread in which an adoptive mother was asking for advice. She had received a thank you note from her child’s birth mother’s parented daughter, thanking her for a recent gift. The (birth) mother had written the letter for her daughter who was not yet old enough to write. She had signed it with the following closing:
Hope to see you again soon, Name.
The adoptive mother was asking whether or not she was being manipulated by the birth mother through the child to have another visit soon. I cringed.
Nicholas spent some time coloring pictures for the Munchkin and JD last week. I got around to writing a brief note, sealing all three pieces of paper in an envelope and dropping them in the mailbox just hours before reading this thread. The note was “from” Nicholas. It was signed with, “Hope to see you soon.”
Talk about a bad feeling in your gut.
To be honest, there were no manipulative reasonings behind the choice of words to close the letter. I didn’t even think twice about it until I read the thread. Now? I’m freaking out! What else have I said in the past, through my own voice or through Nick’s notes, that could have been taken in the wrong context? What words are of a dubious nature?
Is it okay to sign a letter with “love”? Or is that stepping too far into territories that birth parents and their family members are supposed to stay away from? “Sincerely” would come across as cold and detached, wouldn’t it? As would doing something like signing your name without any form of a closing. Is there a way to write anything without the intent being questioned?
It’s things like this issue (and multitudes of others) that leave birth parents with a constant feeling that they are walking upon eggshells. When even the choice of wording in a closing of a brief letter is questioned, how are we (as birth parents) ever able to feel secure in our roles, in what we do or how we do it? These are times when manuals would be nice.
And so, the questions remain: Have you said anything in a letter to purposefully manipulate your child’s adoptive parents? And, on the flip side, adoptive parents: has your child’s birth mother (or birth father) ever written anything in a letter that you felt was purposefully manipulative? How were the situations handled? What is and what is not okay to write in a letter concerning things like legitimately missing a child or wanting to see them soon?
The questions are endless, aren’t they?
For more, read:
1. Nice Notes.