A note from the Author of

While we were in the process of adding our son, Charlie, to our family, we were contacted by about 15 different birthparents in the span of four months. Our adoption professionals found this an unusual response, which I guess it was. I had written an unusual letter, and was overjoyed that birthparents responded to it.

Almost as soon as our family began, the lawyers, agency people, and counselors started referring their clients to me for help with their dear birthmother letters. Then everyone in our pre-adoption support group asked me for help. That’s when I realized how much trepidation people bring to this process.

I was happy to help people, but it became quickly apparent to me that I could help far more people with a book than I could with my often-scarce time.

Nelson, Elicia, and Charlie (7)


So as a professional journalist, I wrote REACHING OUT in response to a very real need for authoritative guidance to this small, but very crucial step in the open adoption process.

I interviewed adoption lawyers, social workers, birthmother counselors, agency personnel, and birthmothers to shed some simple light on the subject. The book answers some essential questions: What are birthparents looking for? Who are they? How can you best communicate who you are to them? What will make your letter seem authentic, genuine, and heartfelt?

There are now, quite literally, thousands of what I call "book babies" out there. Every month or so I receive a letter from someone telling me how much the book helped them in their journey to become parents. Usually, they make me cry. Always, they remind me that this is perhaps the best thing I've ever done with my life.

I think you will find it a useful tool, and an enjoyable read. I hope it helps you find the child who is meant to be in your family. Real soon.


About the Author

Nelson Handel is a journalist and media professional whose print work has appeared in Family Circle, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Adoptive Families, Boston Globe Magazine, Radar,  This Old House Magazine, Yahoo Internet Life, Los Angeles Magazine, Offspring, Fine Gardening, The Walrus, and many others.

His work has also been heard on NPR's Morning Edition.

He gives workshops in Dear Birthmother letter writing at RESOLVE conferences and adoption agencies throughout the country.

A parent by adoption, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Elicia, and their son, Charlie.

Look Inside the Book!

  1. BulletRead an excerpt from "The Golden Rules"

  2. BulletForeword by Carole LieberWilkins, M.A.

  3. BulletTable of Contents

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