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Unsure and unsupported.

(29 Posts)
StupidMistakes Fri 07-Feb-14 20:30:36

I received an email two weeks ago regards of my first contact letter from my ds who is with his new mum and dad. They gave me a date about a month ago of 10th February to expect my letter by, but would have to confirm with the adopters and let me know. I therefore emailed the social worker over a week ago to try and find out whether that date had been confirmed or not, and to ask how I would receive my letter, ie would I need to go to social services to collect or would it be posted on to me.

I have received no response so now don't know whether to expect a letter on Monday or shortly after or not. I also have the added stress of an operation on Wednesday next week so I was so looking forwards to it and to be able to write back to our ds <I think of him as being all of ours, as I am still his birth mum but they are his parents if that makes sense to you?>

I don't know any of whats happening and despite asking am getting no where. I have found myself some counselling without social services help, but I am concerned there has still been no agreement drawn up and no sign of it being done, its like its all been forgotten about. I am now considering do I phone my solicitor and get them to push as my voice doesn't seem to be getting heard?

Moomoomie Fri 07-Feb-14 21:01:34

Hi SM. sorry to hear you are feeling sad.
Just to let you know our experience with letterbox. We write two letters a year, summer and Christmas, we don't have an actual date as such to send them by, I make sure I send the summer one in June and the Christmas one in time for them to receive it before Christmas.
So, if your sons new parents have not been told an actual date, they may not know you are waiting expectantly.

Sadoldbag Fri 07-Feb-14 21:02:21

Your not gonna like this op but if the adoption order has been already granted then

you or ss can make the parents keep letter box contact as they are now the legal parents

Also do you think getting solicitors involved. Would make it more or less likely they would right and let's say you. Did and the court could make them *how likely is it that the letters would be meaningful in any way. When forced.

floatyjosmum Fri 07-Feb-14 21:14:18

As moomoomie said the adopters may not know that you have been given a date. I would speak to them on Monday and ask for a copy of the agreement.

Usually months are agreed rather than specific dates so this doesn't happen

If you don't get it do seek legal advice - even if the adoption order has been granted you can apply for leave of the court to apply for a contact order - this can be for letterbox contact only.

Devora Fri 07-Feb-14 21:16:03

StupidMistakes, I can imagine how painful this is for you. I have an almost unbearable image of you sitting by the postbox on 10th Feb, waiting for that letter to pop through.

Obviously I don't know what will happen for you, but some reflections from my situation as an adopter:

- I couldn't tell you what date has been agreed for my letterbox contact, though I vaguely remember the month.

- I do send my letterbox letters, though not to the precise day; I probably get them within 2 or 3 weeks either side (though if the birth parents had left a contact address I'd be more prompt - as it is my letters are just going into a filing cabinet)

- The Letterbox office are really hard to get hold of and never reply promptly to my messages. For example, it took me a long time to ascertain (a) whether the birth parents had signed the contract, (b) whether my letters were going to the birth parents, and (c) whether the birth parents had responded

- If I forgot about my Letterbox letters, I very much doubt the agency would remind me.

So I think you may have to be very patient and persistent in getting a response and getting the information you need. Don't assume yet that the adoptive parents are not going to honour Letterbox. And don't threaten legal action. Sadly, at this stage of adoption both sets of parents are far from being top priority for an overstretched, under-resourced adoption agency.

I really hope you get your letter. Good luck.

Italiangreyhound Fri 07-Feb-14 21:19:44

SM I really hope the adoptive parents will stick to letter box as arranged and that it will become easier as times goes on.

I hope you will find some help with your quest to find out when it will be!

I hope the operation will go well.

I also really hope the adoptive parents will see how helpful it will be for this little boy to have this connection maintained.

It must be very hard to start writing letters, on both sides, and I sincerely hope they and you are offered some support with this.

I have no idea whether getting a soliciter involved would be helpful or not, is there someone else you could speak to first? Your social worker, or someone else in the 'team'? In our area there is (I believe) one person whose job is to deal with letter box letters and they work with birth families etc.

Whatever the legal requirements on adoptive parents may be I think it is only right that they should stick to their agreements unless it becomes an issue of what is in the best interests of the child - and clearly as this is all a very new arrangement there is no reason to think they would have already felt differently.

SM I just hope you will get your letter soon.

I am sure it is no real concellation but reading about your struggles with this has made me more aware of the importance of letterbox and if we are every place with a child I will take this commitment very seriously.

Lilka Fri 07-Feb-14 21:22:33

Of course that makes sense, he is theirs and your son.

I'm sorry to hear SS still haven't sorted the letterbox out. If there is definitely supposed to be a letterbox agreement document for you all (I had one with DD2 and Ds's birth mum, but not all LA's do them), then I assume SS have left it because it's non-urgent. However, urgent or not it needs doing, so I would keep on reminding them that the agreement needs drawing up until they do it. But I'm not sure if your solicitor bugging them to organise it or not would get them moving or not, so I can't advise you there, I wouldn't want to say the wrong thing. I'm sorry about that.

Neither you nor the adoptive parents should be hanging in the dark wondering exactly when this is starting (if they are)

It's entirely possible the letter will be with you in the next couple of weeks and it's just slightly late, its possible SS didn't give the adoptive parents such a specific date as they gave you.

Thinking of you, and I hope the operation goes well

Lilka Fri 07-Feb-14 21:26:01

There's a difference between using your solicitor to pressure social services to sort out the things they do have to sort out, like a letterbox agreement document, and actually persuing legal action, and I'm pretty sure you're talking about the former. I guess it couldn't hurt to ask your solicitor to send them something reminding them that the agreement still needs to be sorted out. It might be harder to ignore than you phoning up, but I'm really not certain

Lilka Fri 07-Feb-14 21:29:55

ps. Under our agreement, we had certain months letters were sent in, but it was only specific to the month. Once the letterbox co-ordinator received and vetted a letter from one of us, she would phone the other to tell them that SS had recieved the letter and it would be sent out in the next couple of days. So I never knew when in the month the letter would come until the co-ordinator gave me a couple of days warning

I know other LA's don't give any warning so a letter just drops on the mat one day.

cedar12 Fri 07-Feb-14 21:50:25

We agreed a month not a particular date. My la do send out reminders. I hope you get this sorted. Good luck

Italiangreyhound Fri 07-Feb-14 22:13:07

PS Yes SM of course agree with Lilka, he is your son and theirs.

StupidMistakes Fri 07-Feb-14 23:28:14

The adoptive parents haven't actually even applied to adopt our ds yet so legally he isn't theirs yet but after meeting them I am sure they will at some point when the time is right for them and ds they will adopt him. The social worker has said she strongly feels they will keep it up. It was included in final judgement that contact should be twice yearly.

I was thinking of the solicitor pushing really for some answers not actual legal action. They are seeming to forget that this contact in years to come may be very important to ds and in his interests.

His adoptive parents don't have my address but social services do despite me moving and I informed them as soon as I could (day after I moved) of my new address.

It has seemed throughout questions have remained unanswered. When my ds was first taken they said there's a possibility he wouldn't return to my care but then wouldn't discuss further what would happen.

Italiangreyhound Sat 08-Feb-14 00:58:30

Hope it sorts itself out SM. I think you are right to want to get it sorted at the start. Is there a charity or someone who can help you to remain calm, get things to go in the way that is agreed without resorting to anything that would have a negative impact etc. I also hope you are getting some general support, which would also help you to be able to move forward in a really good way for you. Thinking of you.

BookFairy Sun 09-Feb-14 22:43:19

You could try contacting After Adoption for support in making sure Letterbox contact is organised :

Best wishes thanks

audley Mon 10-Feb-14 12:42:10

Hi SM,
Waiting is agonising isn't it...
Just wondered if you had heard anything?
Perhaps you could contact the social worker again and explain that you are waiting in anticipation and have a hospital appointment coming up, so could they let you know the current situation.
I would also ask about having the letterbox agreement drawn up.
When I had letterbox contact with my birth daughter, the letters were sometimes late, eg I would expect one in April and if nothing had arrived by mid May I would call the social worker to alert her. Once, the letter had actually been sent to an incorrect address. The adoptive parents were informed and very kindly sent a replacement letter and pics. I have found that the sticking point is almost always the social worker, not the adoptive parents, and I feel justified saying that because I have been a social worker too and know how things can be missed, or not prioritised for good reason.
Good luck!

StupidMistakes Mon 10-Feb-14 15:41:59

I emailed her again this morning, asking about the letter, whether I can pick it up or will it be sent <I live less than a five minute walk from social services now> and when the agreement will be ready.

I don't doubt for one second its the system rather than the adoptive parents tbh, and that saddens me as there was so much emphasis on it being best for ds to have contact yet its not being put into place. Its like I have to keep asking for things and still get no where.

StupidMistakes Mon 10-Feb-14 16:13:31

Well I finally got in touch with the social worker and despite having been given a date it turns out they haven't yet spoken to the adopters in regards to contact letters. I was told that they were supposed to write their letter by 10th feb <today> yet I now know this isn't going to have happened because they haven't even been spoken to! I am a very frustrated and it feels like they are trying to cut me from my sons life, and its social services doing it not even the adopters!

audley Mon 10-Feb-14 17:18:07

SM well done for sticking at it and getting some answers. Sorry though that you have been let down like this. Did you get any clue as to when they may speak to the adoptive parents?
Thinking of you sad

Lilka Mon 10-Feb-14 17:19:02

I'm sorry Mistakes I feel sad and angry for you, it was incredibly unprofessional and frankly cruel to give you a date before having spoken to your sons parents and sorting it out. <hugs>

StupidMistakes Mon 10-Feb-14 17:25:13

Social worker said she will speak to them and let me know. I've been asking since November when it will be so they have had plenty of time. I feel angry as well because they have lost photos which I was told would be returned to me at the conclusion of proceedings ans now they don't know where they are

Italiangreyhound Mon 10-Feb-14 22:19:27

SM I am so [cross] and frustrated for you. I really hope you will get somewhere soon.

audley Wed 12-Feb-14 20:31:25

Hi SM, any news yet?

StupidMistakes Thu 13-Feb-14 09:31:59

I finally got some news, after phoning my solicitor and asking her to contact them and get them to do something. I am supposed to have my letter by the end of next week <though this time I am not holding my breath due to the last let down> and they have managed to get the contact agreement sorted and want me to sign it next Wednesday.

My op went well and I am recovering very well at home, and should be back to normal in a few days.

audley Thu 13-Feb-14 14:36:36

Get well soon and fingers crossed all goes to plan with your letter box contact.

drspouse Thu 13-Feb-14 15:19:12

To be perfectly honest after hearing from a lot of adopters waiting for/working on/being misinformed about letterbox... I would keep asking, but don't hold your breath. There's an adopter whose blog I read who has letterbox contact with some birth family members, and direct contact with others, and she has just written something about a missed letter and she has absolutely no idea why - the post is here.

She says she doesn't really know if they haven't written, which is a possibility as they are not always consistent, and there may be other issues, or it just hasn't reached them yet.

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