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Cards outwith letterbox

(12 Posts)
Whatutalkinboutwillis Thu 20-Nov-14 15:49:43

Ok I need advice. Ds has been home with us for over a year now and has just had a birthday.

Last year we accepted cards etc as we were only on intros. Fast forward to this year and more cards from birth family have been sent to his social worker. We have already done letterbox this year and I believed that was the only contact we were to have. It's been done out with the letterbox coordinator and sent directly to ds social worker. She has asked if we will take them and just put in his memory box.

I just feel the agreement was made and we sent photos and a lovely letter. I really don't feel we should be getting this too at bday and Xmas.
On another note though I know it's nice for ds to have when he is older just feel torn as to what to do. Any advice?

odyssey2001 Thu 20-Nov-14 16:27:48

My gut says to take them and put them in the memory box. Our son has been with us for a year and has not received anything. What I would give to have more than was agreed! Also rejecting them will just be too hard to explain one they are older.

Jamfilter Thu 20-Nov-14 16:48:47

I think it depends how you're using his memory box. If it's something you look at together often/now, then don't put them in there.

But like the PP, we get nothing at all, so I would definitely take them and keep them securely somewhere for later on. That way they can be part of structured, planned conversations later on.

Italiangreyhound Thu 20-Nov-14 16:56:06

I agree with Odyssey.

This is my personal opinion and ds has am only been home 6 months, Whatutalkinboutwillis. If this happened to me, and assuming the cards are perfectly fine - not in any way inappropriate, I would accept the card and show them to my ds. You mention 'them' (plural?), are there a lot, from multiple family members? You don't need to say as this may be identifying! But if there were a lot and you felt it was too many I would take that up with the social worker. If it is a small manageable number of cards I would give them to my ds and say how nice it was to get them this year. I think I would say that we may not get them every year but isn't it nice to get them this time and shall we put them away safely in the memory box. Because they have come so far before Christmas I think it is a good thing. You don't need to display them, and possibly have a painful reminder for him, or you, or anything (if there is anything) and he can put them safely into his memory box.

That's how I feel but then my ds had a relatively straight forward and not too traumatic experience of his life with birth family and he personally feels quite positive about them and very positive about being with us. If the situation were more complicated I may feel very differently.

Kewcumber Thu 20-Nov-14 18:13:24

In your position I would absolutely accept them - I don't particularly see the downside as you aren't committing to continue doing so in future.

What you do with them is really up to you and will very much depend on both the age and experiences of your DS and the nature of the cards.

If they would be very confusing to your DS ie signed Mummy or Daddy if you don't use those terms for his birth parents for example or if they are very gushing when that really isn't his experience of them in reality.

DS has no contact with birth family and I suspect that he would both find it quite reassuring and quite confusing so I suspect I would at a younger age have out them away for him to look at when he's older if they are appropriately phrased. If it raises a lot of issues I'd be tempted to put them away so that Christmas and birthdays don't become a tangled web of him trying to process how he feels about his birth family and spoil his birthday/christmas.

I would also suggest that in future they should all go through letterbox co-ordinator - thats what they are there for! Perhaps they can pass everything on together once a year.

Kewcumber Thu 20-Nov-14 18:16:43

And yes to how you would explain refusing them later... they kind of belong to him not you, though you are the guardian of what is best for him there will come a time when he will be able to say why would you not keep them for me?

Of course if you have a good reason ie - they were violent etc then fair enough but otherwise I think just saying no on the basis they are doing more than you agreed to is hard to justify unless you're being bombarded with stuff.

excitedmtb Thu 20-Nov-14 20:02:23

The other option you have is just to keep these on file with the agency for your DS when he is older OR elect to only receive any items at your postbox time. This means cards will be late etc....but you will still have these to read with your DS, as and when you feel is the right time.

Our postbox rules (not laid down by us) state that no birthday or Christmas cards are allowed therefore LA will not accept these.

Lilka Thu 20-Nov-14 20:16:55

I think the issue here is that the social worker is accepting things that aren't going through the letterbox system, and that defeats the point of having that system with the checks and rules about what can be sent etc.

So I think I would have a word with the SW and ask her not to accept anything from birth family again but direct them to send anything to the letterbox co-ordinator.

Then for future years make sure the letterbox coordinator knows what and what not to accept. You shouldn't be put in the position of having to refuse things yourself or have to explain that later, social services should be doing that on everyone's behalf.

I have to admit, I'm a bit wary of sharing cards because they set up the expectation for the child that future cards will be forthcoming and we all know that often birth families don't keep the writing up. So that then results in the child feeling this flood of emotions around the contact not arriving, right at the worst times (christmas/birthday). I used to worry that DD2's cards wouldn't arrive...and indeed one year the letterbox coord caused her birthday card to be late, cue her being very upset wondering why mum didn't write to her on her birthday of all days, and me dealing with all that emotion and fallout. Thank goodness her mum did write every card on time which a lot of family members don't do.

I think my inclination would be ask to be told the content/wording of the cards, and based on that make a decision. Either have them kept on file, or sent on to me to be kept safe and shared when I judge it to be appropriate.

Whatutalkinboutwillis Thu 20-Nov-14 20:18:21

Thanks ladies I have emailed the social worker saying we will accept the cards (not sure how many) but would prefer if anything else was sent it should be held and sent to us at letterbox time.

I agree they are not mine to say no to but this is the second time it has happened outwith letterbox. Would just prefer to not have things drip fed to us so I think it's fair to ask its all done at the agreed time.

Thanks for all the advice

SoonToBeSix Thu 20-Nov-14 20:27:22

I hope that doesn't put off the birth parents sending a birthday card if ds birthday is not near letterbox time. I was an adopted child and would have loved to have had birthday cards in a memory box. It meant a lot to me to find out that by birth mum did still think of me as I was growing up although sadly letterbox contact was not common in the 80's. If you are just putting them in a box and not showing them to him then it won't affect your ds at all when they turn up.

UnderTheNameOfSanders Wed 26-Nov-14 09:43:12

My DDs receive Bday and Christmas cards, but they are sent with the preceding letterbox contact and I store them until the right date. That way I know they've arrived safely and it is less for the BM to organise/remember.

OP - if you are going to accept them make sure you are clear whether they are allowed to say Son/Daughter on and how they are signed.

Angelwings11 Wed 26-Nov-14 15:53:03

I think that Lilka makes a whole heap of sense here (and she generally does!). Systems are in place for a reason.

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