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Dear Birthmother

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  194 ratings  ·  32 reviews
This is the third revised edition of the open adoption classic recommended by the Child Welfare League of America. Gently provocative, warm and convincing, this open adoption guide includes actual letters between adoptive parents and birthparents, and between the latter and the children they have
Paperback, 196 pages
Published May 1st 1991 by Corona Pub Co
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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  194 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Jan 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended to me as a "classic" in adoption literature, and I would have to concur with this assessment. Originally written in the early 80's, when open adoption was an extreme rarity, the book does a great job of alternating anecdotal information with letters between birthparents, adoptive parents, and adoptees. It gives a great glimpse into some of the myths and fears held by various segments of society & talks about how to overcome them. I would strongly encourage anyone involv ...more
I would recommend this book for three classes of readers:

1) Those interested in an historical perspective on the switch from closed adoptions to open adoptions as the norm for adoption agencies in the United States

2) Those who want to understand the myths that often cloud the adoption process for adoptive parents and their children, and want to discover recommended practices for countering those myths

3) Those hoping to read a great number of loving, vulnerable, and emotionally charged letters be
Brian Eshleman
Jul 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
Like Foxe's book of martyrs in that the emotionally intense becomes about is repetitive of the phonebook. The authors lay the groundwork with a good case for dismantling the false assumptions that going to the adoption process. They put skin and muscle on that framework with real-life stories. This is an awfully promising beginning, but the form that they create doesn't really move from there. Over, and over, and over, you read basically the same letters exchanged between birthparents an adoptiv ...more
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
a compassionate and caring plea for openness in the standard adoption process. enjoyed this read
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Be ready to cry happy tears through the whole book
J.S. Bailey
Dec 07, 2020 rated it liked it
This book contains some important points about adoption, but it feels VERY outdated and repeats itself a lot.
Feb 03, 2019 rated it liked it
This book has three fundamental flaws:
1) It's completely outdated. Open adoption is de rigueur now.
2) Way too "God" heavy! Not everyone believes that "Christ" or "God" is behind their adoption placements.
3) There is zero actual research other than what the authors claim in "their experience."

I'm still glad I read Dear Birthmother since it's allegedly a classic and there were a couple insights that were helpful to me as an adoptive mom. Interestingly enough, I think the best reader for the book
Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone and everyone!
Recommended to Rachael by: adoption agency
Shelves: adoption
My overall impression is positive. The book is an introduction and argument for open adoption. Not semi-open, but open. The authors are attempting to overcome 'myths' common in American society about adoption and offer a new definition of adoption.

The authors suffer from the common problem of imprecise language. At one point the authors state 'the fourth myth is also designed..." The myths are designed??? As in someone sat down, thought it out and said, 'ya know, I think these are the things ab
Joshua D.
Oct 01, 2012 rated it liked it
This is generally considered an adoption classic and required reading in working with many adoption agencies. What made the book unique is that it is one of the first books arguing for the benefits of open adoptions (continuing contact with birth parents). It is now in it's third edition.

The first part of the book deals with "the four myths of adoption":
- "The birthmother obviously doesn't care about her child or she wouldn't have given him away."
- "Secrecy in every phase of the adoption proces
Deborah LaRoche
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I gave this book four stars not because the writing is particularly amazing, but because for anyone going through the adoption process, this book helps breakdown some of the myths and misconceptions of open adoptions.

In fact, if the phrase "open adoption" immediately brings to mind the most recent Lifetime Movie about a birthmother stalking her child on the playground, then yes, I would strongly suggest you read this book. Turns out, the more the birthmom knows about the adoptive family into whi
Jul 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
I think this is a must for anyone looking into the adoption agency (I guess that means I agree with the agency we are working with's decision to make it required reading.) I felt this book leant new insights into the worlds of the adopted, the adopting, and birthparents. That said, this book is definitely opinionated with an overly positive slant, which I found, aside from annoying, distracting from the true message. I wish there would have been a little more objectivity in the selection of stor ...more
Amy Cummings
Feb 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: adoptive parents
Recommended to Amy by: Catholic Charities
This book was our only required reading when my husband and I adopted our eldest son. It helped me not to be so afraid of having his birthmom in our life, and provided guidelines as to when and how to forge that relationship. I also really enjoyed reading the included letters between birthparents, adoptive parents, and adoptees. It helped me to read other letters to birthmoms when I sat down to write my first few to our son's first mother. This book gave me a deeper appreciation of the difficult ...more
A good, informative book, but definitely showing its age. It was published in 1982, and in the subsequent 27 years there have been such advances in adoption procedures, counseling, etc. that another revision may be warranted. That being said, it is certainly one of the best books I have read on adoption to date, which shows that there is really a shortage of good, solid information on the positive results of adoption. I would recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone interested in, researching or co ...more
Nov 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adoption
This was one of our assigned readings for our adoption home study. This book opened our eyes to the beauty and positivity in open adoption. As another reviewer mentioned, the author is definitely advocating for the most open of adoptions, and understanding that going in is helpful. It was great at helping to dispel myths about open adoption relationships. I especially appreciated the last chapter of the book, which methodically walked through different acts within an open adoption: sharing photo ...more
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book very much so. It was written with compassion for all sides of the adoption triangle. It explores the open adoption relation and exposes the myth theories with actual truth realities. The personal letters were a great addition to show first hand how people in this community feel, heal and process their role as part of the adoptive community. I would recommend anyone who is considering relinquishing their parental rights to read this book prior to so that they may make an infor ...more
Aug 10, 2008 rated it liked it
I'm glad this book is out there, and from the reviews it sounds like it has served it's purpose a few times. The stories and letters are touching -- the only reason I gave it three stars is that I didn't learn anything from it. My partner and I are very comfortable with the idea of open-adoption and that our child will have birth-parents as part of his or her life. We were assigned this by our adoption agency, and is seems like a good book to have adoptive parents read, but we didn't really need ...more
Aug 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Two adoption professionals discuss the benefits of openness in adoption and dispel many myths about domestic adoption. The authors' perspectives are based largely on their own experiences. The book should not be considered a research-based guide, but it is interesting and insightful to read the many letters exchanged between adoptive parents and first parents, which are included in the book. Some of the information about open adoption is very dated, but the overall myths are still prevalent, and ...more
Aug 10, 2009 rated it liked it
A clear and compelling case for open adoption (as opposed to a more traditional system with sealed records and no contact and all that). I think I'd still recommend it to a reader already convinced about open adoption, though, for the perspective of the many letters included in the book, written mostly between birth parents and adoptive parents but with a few adoptees, birth grandparents, and adoptive siblings thrown in for good measure. ...more
Jun 29, 2008 rated it liked it
This was written a while ago, most letters were from before birthmothers choose the family for their baby. I really like it because there were letters from real people and I feel like I understand birthmothers better. Everyone involved in adoption should read this... I got it from the library or I would be lending it you!
Feb 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adoption
book jacket description -

"This is the third revised edition of the open adoption classic recommended by the Child Welfare League of America. Gently provocative, warm and convincing, this open adoption guide includes actual letters between adoptive parents and birthparents, and between the latter and the children they have."
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013, adoption
A lot of good information but the copy I read (the only one our library had) is from 1983 so it's kinda outdated (they talk about meeting birth parents as being revolutionary and controversial when we met our sons birth mother many times and it was no big deal). Made me excited to communicate with his birth mother though. ...more
Emma Juday
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I greatly appreciated this book. Before reading Dear Birthmother I knew VERY little about open adoption, just the concepts that adoption is born out of loss and love. I learned a lot from this book and appreciated it's positive but still blunt honesty. This book is a good starting point on the journey of learning about open adoption. ...more
Nov 01, 2009 rated it liked it
this book really challenged my view of birth parents. i was broken for the reality of what this means for them. it allowed me to see our sons birthmom for who she was - his VERY first mom that loved him dearly.
Jan 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Must read for anyone considering adoption or for anyone who wants to better understand the concept of "open adoption". This book does a great job of getting to the roots of fears as well as explaining where birthparents are coming from. ...more
The structure of the book is a bit odd in terms of the sequence of chapters, but I like the balance of informative writing and anecdotal letters. I also appreciate the level of openness communicated and the discussion of how the relationship will evolve over time.
Holly Beadle
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adoption
A must read for families considering adoption. Opened my eyes to the prevailing myths of our culture. I know every situation won't work as well as the examples in the book, but good to be educated about the possibilities. ...more
Dec 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
Good book, really interesting and touching. Would recommend to any one pursuing any form of adoption to expose you to the myths about open adoption. I could really relate to this book.
Feb 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Required reading! It's good, but outdated. It is what it is. ...more
Oct 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Monique Abbett
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
After reading this book, I wished even more that my children's adoptions could have been open adoptions. A must-read for every adoptive parent. ...more
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