This is a letter to Anna Belle Illien who was one of the people, or at least her agency, Illien Adoption International Inc., responsible for my adoption about a quarter of a century ago. I have never reached out to Illien the person or the agency but it is one of the connections that I have with my past and so I have drafted a short letter to Anna Belle to see what stance she will take in my request of information and support. I know that many have had negative experiences with adoption agencies especially in regards to searching but I can’t deny the fact that they could be a resource if they find any interest in my endeavor.
I will plan on sending this letter out in a few weeks and would welcome and comments and suggestions that others have if they have done similar things. I like to think I am open to constructive feedback and so if you have ideas about ways you think my letter could be more effective with the goal in mind of getting information from Illien I certainly welcome your words of wisdom.
“Dear Anna Belle Illien,
First and foremost I hope that this letter finds you well and warm this winter. I am writing to you as an adult adoptee who is beginning the searching process for biological relatives in India. As early as 1986 my parents hired your agency, Illien Adoptions International, to help them identify and adopt a baby. In early 1991 with the help of Illien and coordination with Lutheran Social Services my family officially adopted me from an orphanage in Trichy, India (SOC SEAD) and I was naturalized as a U.S. citizen nearly a year later.
As I continue this process of searching for biological relatives I have come across many documents and records pertaining to my adoption process. Much of these items are correspondences with you in the late 80s and early 90s. Your agency and social workers were instrumental in connecting my parents with an Indian child, ultimately me. I am trying to piece together my past and had a few questions and inquiries I wanted to make of you and your adoption agency.
I would very much like to learn more about my past and my life and biological relatives lives in India. I do not know your personal beliefs or your agency’s stance on searching or reunion as it pertains to adoptees but am hopeful you will see my requests as non-threatening and genuine.
It is my hope that you understand and empathize with my desire to reconnect with the culture and potentially relatives from which I came. In all likelihood any records you and your organization have are the best records and information that exist pertaining to my origin and journey to adoption.
My requests are simple and I see them as a beginning to a conversation, not demands or ultimatums but an invitation to collaborate as I try to find my way back to a foreign place I called home a quarter of a century ago.
Thank you for your time and entertainment of this unusual request. I hope to hear from you shortly.
Ok, what did you think?
Should I include my requests in the first letter or should I save them to see if they respond to this initial letter? I feel like it is maybe a good idea to just send this “feeler” letter and then in a subsequent communication include the things I am hoping they will share with me. I am probably over thinking this but that’s what I get for waiting so long to start this process.