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Adoption Angels: Contacting Family-Letter Templates

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Adoption Angels Project

Below you will find several letter templates you can use when reaching out to newly found birth family. These are examples of letters others have used successfully. You may need to make changes to your letter as it applies to your particular situation.

Short Form Letter One

This is only an example. Change the information as it applies to your situation.

Dear [Name],

This may come as a surprise. I believe that I am closely related to you as we share the same maternal (or paternal) grandparents [names].

I was born in [City, State/Province] on [Date] to [Name of mother]. I Believe [Name of mother] subsequently met and married [Name of her husband] and that they then had x children [names and dob listed].

My name now is [Name] as I was adopted and have married. I would like the opportunity to talk to you, but understand that you may be reluctant and may need time to think about what you have read here.

My address is at the top of this letter, my email address is [Email] and my phone number is [Phone number].

Kind wishes

Long Form Letter

This is only an example. Change the information as it applies to your situation.

Month day, year
"Dear [Sibling/Parent/Aunt/Uncle/Cousin/Relative],

I wasn't sure how to approach you and the [researcher/agency/Search Angel] I’m working with suggested writing a letter as it is the most comfortable way for people to initially convey this kind of news. I have wanted to speak to you for some time now and through the support and encouragement of my [maternal/paternal/extended] family, friends, and the [name of researcher/agency/Search Angel], I now feel confident about sharing this with you.

For the past [timeframe, e.g., months and/or years] I have been searching for my [paternal/maternal] birth family and my search leads me to you. I was born on [birth month, day, year] in [City, State/Province]. On my [adopted/biological] maternal side, I am the [position in family, e.g., third] child of the [number of children in household, e.g., initial six with Mom’s 1st husband] and [optionally describe any special family circumstances, e.g., one subsequent ½ sister from Mom’s 2nd husband, all raised together].

[Describe your life and any circumstances and/or feelings that caused you to search for your biological family. For example, the following is from an NPE’s letter to her paternal ½ sibling:

  • Throughout my life, my mother always claimed that I was her first husband's child, even though I am not very much like my five maternal siblings in personality or physical features. I was somewhat of an embarrassment to the family because many people, meeting my family for the first time, would ask if I was adopted (I looked and acted so different than my siblings!). My mother had blue eyes and my five siblings’ father had blue eyes, yet I have brown eyes. My mother always stuck to her story. From my earliest memories, and although I love my mother and siblings very much, I’ve always felt that I was born into the wrong family. I just never “fit” - an identity crisis that I have struggled with all my life.]

As I watched my [children/nieces/nephews/other relatives] grow up and have their own families, I thought a lot about what traits and characteristics they inherited from me and "my side of the family." When you are not told the truth about your family of origin, you lose that oh-so-important connection. Half your medical history, personal traits, etc., remain a mystery.

I believe from the information that I have gathered - thanks to DNA testing, and a recent admission from my [related relative or family friend, e.g., stepfather] that your [father/mother] was my biological [father/mother] [explain how the person knew this information, e.g., according to what my mother told him/her before she died] - that you may be a [state the potential relationship, e.g., half-sibling] of mine. I have enclosed some pictures of me at various ages in my life, which may or may not remind you of your family members. Many of my friends think I have facial similarities with the [surname] clan.

This letter may alarm you a bit and it is difficult finding the right words to say. The information I have enclosed is private and personal and I do not want to upset anyone. By sending this letter I know I have intruded, but I couldn't let the rest of my life pass staying silent knowing I didn't try to reach out to you.

At a minimum I would like to get medical information out of contacting my [maternal/paternal] family, as I suffer from some [explain your medical issues, e.g., chronic disabling diseases such as scoliosis, spinal stenosis, asthma], none of which are in the medical history of my [paternal/maternal] family.

However, my best hope is that you want to get to know me, my [state your family members, such as the number of children, e.g., four children and eight grandchildren] as family members. [Add a compelling sentence, e.g., That would make this identity crisis I’ve been trying to manage all my life all worthwhile!] I have no other expectations as I am a successful [describe your career/job history, e.g., computer science professional], financially secure, who has already raised my family and put my children through higher education. We would all like to share our lives with you. I would also like to know what my biological [father/mother] was like, as a [father/mother], a [husband/wife], a [son/daughter] and a [man/woman].

I am willing to pay for any DNA testing that you will agree to do that will scientifically confirm my testing and research results. I hope you will give me the opportunity to speak with you. I don't know what else to say. I hope you will contact me and give us a chance to speak to one another.

[Your name with potential relationship, e.g., Sibling/Parent/Aunt/Uncle/Cousin/Relative/]
[Your contact information, e.g., phone(s) and address]

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