1st family/birth mother updates
As part of our adoption agreement we went with the "agency standard" of photos and letter every 3 months for the first year and then twice a year until Charlie is 18 years old. Our adoption is considered semi-open; we have met Charlie's first parents (both the birthmother & birthfather) as well as his full sibling plus one half-brother. Charlie's birthmother chose the semi-open adoption; we offered full open adoption (with the support of our agency) to her but she declined it.
I am faithful in sending our update letters and photos as promised. I have decided this year to increase the frequency of my updates to encourage a more open relationship (such as it can be via agency contact) while honoring her original wishes.
I always send tons of pictures of Charlie in my updates. I mean I usually send on average 100 pictures a year. I include photos of Charlie with his extended family, friends, school, soccer, other activities and just everyday life photos. I admit writing the letter is more difficult for me than picking out which pictures to send. I struggle with knowing what to say, how much to share about our lives (mine & Robert's) in addition to Charlie's, how much detail about our daily lives, etc.
Recently, I sent my usual batch of pictures to our agency via email. I also informed them of my intent to send more frequent updates which made them very happy. I was astounded though by the following comment from Debbie (one of the agency social workers):
I think I need you to give training classes to our other adoptive families. I wish all of them sent photos like you do. Sometimes I feel like a private detective trying to obtain photos for some of these birthmothers. Please know that I appreciate you and your thoughtfulness.
This is not the first time Debbie has voice such sentiments to me, either in email or in person. I guess my question has many parts. Or more appropriately, I have many questions?
Is there such a thing as too many photographs sent in an update letter? Where do you draw the line in how much you share with your child's first family? Stuff I don't share with other family members? Part of me wants to keep everything light & happy-go-lucky, leaving out stuff like Charlie's recent diagnosis of ADHD. Or that he still doesn't poop in the potty at age 5 1/2.
How much information and how many photos do you include in your updates to your child's birthfamily?