Outreach Letter to a Birth Mother on Behalf of an Adoptee



Dear Birth Mother:

The White Oak Foundation is a non-profit-making organization which provides post-adoption assistance to adopted persons who were born, adopted or are currently residing in Illinois and their birth and adoptive families.  A copy of our brochure is enclosed with this letter.  

A couple of months ago, we were contacted by Linda H., a nearly 38-year-old adoptee who was born at Mother Cabrini Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, on December 10, 1962.  Unfortunately, the non-identifying and medical information that Linda has been able to access regarding her birth family is extremely sketchy.  Other than her birth mother's surname and year of birth, Linda knows absolutely nothing about her origins and even less about her genetic heritage.  And, like the majority of adoptees, she not only has an incredible thirst to know who she is, but she also has a vital need to know if there are any genetically-linked diseases and conditions which she should be aware of.

According to the information which Linda was able to access regarding her adoption, her birth mother's maiden name was Porter and she was born in Chicago in 1944. After searching a number of publicly available databases, we found only one female with the surname Porter who was born in Chicago in 1944—Pamela Joy Porter. This was the process that led us to you.

Despite the many precautions that were taken to ensure that this letter arrived in the correct mailbox, there is, of course, the remote possibility that this communication has been sent to you in error.  If so, please simply complete the attached form and return it, along with the enclosed letter and photos from Linda, in the provided self-addressed, stamped envelope. If you are aware of any other family members who might be a match for this search, please include that information in your response.

If, on the other hand, the particulars of Linda's birth and adoption strike a familiar chord, your reaction to this letter and the enclosed note may be one of joy, dismay, or a little of both.  As a birth mother (who was happily reunited with a daughter surrendered in 1967 in April of 1996), I am well aware of the wide range of emotions that this letter may provoke.

It is very possible that, like an estimated 90% of birth mothers, you have often wondered what became of the daughter you surrendered for adoption, and long ached to know if your daughter shared your desire to reunite with the past.  If this is the case, this letter is probably very, very good news. Please feel free to call me at the number at the top of this letterhead for additional details.

It is also possible that, like far too many birth mothers, you were encouraged to deceive family and friends about this 1962 birth, and that, as a result, few in your immediate family are aware of this painful chapter in your past. If this is the case, you may not be comfortable contacting Cathy directly at this point in time, and can either complete the attached form or call me to explore how we might approach this in as discreet a manner as possible.

The third possibility is that, even though I am certain you have often thought of your daughter over the past 39 years, you just do not feel that you can consider a reunion at this point in time. Although Linda will undoubtedly be very disappointed to learn this, she would, of course, be totally respectful of your wishes with regard to any possible contact. Again, you have the choice of either contacting us directly or completing the attached form and returning it to us. However, should you choose not to pursue this matter, I would like to strongly urge you to complete the medical section of the enclosed questionnaire.  Although the majority of adoptees have an understandable curiosity to know their birth roots, they all have an important—and compelling—need to know their medical background. Any medical history you could provide to Cathy would be greatly appreciated and could not only allow her to take preventative action, but could, in many cases, also prolong or save her life or that of her young children.

Although I certainly have no way of predicting your reaction to this letter, I can tell you that, if you are the birth mother Linda has been attempting to locate, you have every reason to be extremely proud of the daughter you brought into the world in 1962. She is an attractive, intelligent and accomplished young woman who will, whatever your decision, be very relieved to learn that her long search has finally come to an end.


With best regards,


Melisha Mitchell
Executive Director
The White Oak Foundation