As I have discussed, we had a lot of questions about who to ask and how to write to our adoption letters of reference. Once we had chosen our references and basically figured out what was in them we still wanted to know how much instruction we should provide.
I put myself in their shoes. If someone asked me to write such an important letter, I would want a couple of things:
- Guidance on what the letters are. Sure, I can use Google but it would be nice to hear from the person asking me to do them a big favor
- Specifics on anything required (like how to address the letters and the proper way to get them notarized)
- An easy out. Maybe I don’t want to write this letter but now I feel pressured and I don’t want to say, “Well, I don’t think you’ll be good parents so I’m not comfortable writing this letter.” I mean, I’m going to assume you’ve picked people who won’t have that reaction, but you never know.
So, we put together a thank you letter with a couple of bullet points and when we asked our references to write the letters (two in person and one via e-mail), we gave them the letter. Here’s a copy for you to read (PDF). Like everything else on this blog, it’s not the necessarily the right way or the only way to do it, just an example of what we did.
I also googled around until I found a couple of fairly simple sample letters of reference and gave them a copy in the event they wanted confirmation about how these letters are supposed to read. Here are the two sample letters we provided our references (PDF). These were not letters I wrote about us, since it was important that the letters be genuine and we wouldn’t have wanted any duplicate language to appear. The samples I found came from a forum on Adoptions.com (from 2003 mind you) and I especially like that they listed the exact language necessary for the notary to sign.
Now that I have reviewed our whole process for obtaining the letters of reference, I’d love to hear abut your experience. Who did you ask? How much or how little guidance did you provide? Did you need more than three (we’re looking at a couple of agencies for placement that have indicated they will need five letters!)? Did reading a copy of our request letter and the sample letters help you at all?