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Tell me again why we should include photos with indirect contact for the BP's to view?

(14 Posts)
Bringonthesunshineplease Fri 21-Nov-14 16:34:58

Ok need some sensible guidance and this is the placesmile . The paperwork for matching panel for our children that we signed stated indirect letter contact xxxx times a year no photos. After matching panel and at the intro's planning meeting the chair raised photos and seemed keen to make photo's be included with letters. The childrens sw was asked to to a risk assessment and advised at the intro's review meeting there were some concerns and if photos were to be sent they should only be viewed at the office and supervised. We were not accompanied to the intro's review meeting by our sw who was on leave and were not asked our view. It then seems the chair seems to think that its agreed for photos to be sent to be viewed by birth family but not to take away although she said in her view this is cruel and perhaps worse than no photos. Moving on it seem's that an assumption has been made we will provide photos and at the time of the meeting and intro's review meeting this was the last thing we were thinking of. Now we have had the time and opportunity to discuss we both agree that we do not feel comfortable sending photos and have pointed this out to the children's sw pointing out that we signed up to no photo's for the matching panel paperwork.

We will shortly be submitting the AO and wanted to be clear on our feelings. The childrens sw has come back saying they feel we should reconsider for the benefit of the BP's. It will also likely be raised at the next IRO review. I'm wondering what peoples experiences have been? We have various concerns including how supervised the bp's viewing the photos would be. It only takes moments to use a phone to take a photo of a photo if the opportunity presents. Say someone interrupting for example.

Our general feelings are that if we say no photos but if contact goes well and the bp's seem to accept the situation then it leaves us room to decide to include photos at a later stage if we feel its appropriate even if they are not current ones. But if we agree to the sw's request now we can not later come back from that if issues arise.
Really just getting this off my chest and looking to how how the sending photos etc has worked for others and what you would do thanks.

slkk Fri 21-Nov-14 17:09:06

We have said no photos and this has not been questioned. As I understand it, you as parents are free to alter/ stop contact at any point if you feel it would be better for your children.

Angelwings11 Fri 21-Nov-14 18:11:35

We don't send photo's and this was set in the contact arrangements at MP. I am really surprised well not really with SS that they have changed this....and without really discussing it with you. Unless contact is specified in at court (when you go for the AO), SS can't really force you to do it. At the end of the day, it has to be in your childrens best interest.

Angelwings11 Fri 21-Nov-14 18:13:56

I forgot to add, that I agree with your last statement. If contact is going well, then you could reconsider. I do recall another thread sometime ago, where an adopter actually did this (I can't remember who the OP was).

Lilka Fri 21-Nov-14 18:33:16

The childrens sw has come back saying they feel we should reconsider for the benefit of the BP's

That says it all. She hasn't asked you to reconsider because she thinks that in your case, your child will benefit. It's 100% about what she thinks they would benefit from. I'm not sure where the child is in that statement.

That's not the purpose of contact. Contact is for the child primarily and birth family secondarily to that, not the other way around.

If you aren't comfortable with photos, then don't sent them. As you said, you can always revisit the idea in a few years time if it's all going well. Right now, you don't even know whether they are going to participate/send letters back to you.

I have exchanged photos, sent directly to DD2's birth mum, and it's worked fine for DD2. Mum also used to send a photo back. DD's letterbox photos are now on Facebook, but not as profile pictures, so the whole world can't see them.

Devora Fri 21-Nov-14 19:04:02

Never underestimate the lack of joined up thinking that may go on in these processes. We went from being asked to meet bm to being told that bf had threatened to torture her for information, but did we want to go ahead anyway; from being advised to change dd's name as "He's dangerous and will hunt you down" to being asked if we would supply photos to his family members; from being told dd's relatives were completely unsuitable for kinship care, to being told dd's new sibling has been placed with those relatives. It can be really hard to make sense of and even harder to help our children to make sense of.

I am outraged on your behalf that we would be placing the birth parents' wishes ahead of consultation with you. I think that, until the adoption order is finalised, you should say, "I don't feel able to make a decision on photos yet, but I will consider this very carefully with dc's best interests at the forefront and in close consultation with you". They're not going to disrupt the adoption over it, are they?

Italiangreyhound Fri 21-Nov-14 19:36:29

I agree with Devora, her wording of I think that, until the adoption order is finalised, you should say, "I don't feel able to make a decision on photos yet, but I will consider this very carefully with dc's best interests at the forefront and in close consultation with you".

Sounds very good.

Just so you know a similar thing happened to us! We were told no photos then when we got to the meeting you have at the start or part-way through introductions, (can't remember which), someone, can't remember who, think it was the panel chair, said for photos to be sent.

I felt rather backed into a corner and agreed. I agreed because in our situation we felt that there was very little risk from birth family, either birth parents or extended family. By very little I mean that we knew of no risk. We have now started letter box contact and have sent our first photos and received a letter back. I am happy with our decision, although I did feel pressed into it and I still feel there is no risk and for us the photos is the right thing. However, I feel angry on your behalf because photos are not always a good idea or in the best interests of children.

I feel it is wholly inappropriate of that person to say of viewing photos and not taking them away that ... although she said in her view this is cruel and perhaps worse than no photos. Luckily, it is not her place to say which is cruel! Viewing photos is offered, presumably, when it is felt that to let birth parents keep photos is inappropriate/not suitable/risky or whatever!

Anyway, good luck with whatever you decide in the best interests of little one.

excitedmtb Fri 21-Nov-14 21:07:11

You have signed a contact agreement which states no photos. This is what you have agreed and for any SW to suggest that you should change this for the benefit of the birth family is just beyond comprehension.

We don't send photos as per our agreement. We were handed a piece of paper at intro planning meeting and not even given a chance to read or think through properly. Had we done so, I would also have said no to photos from BF (not just because we dont fancy getting these....we have good reason for not wishing to have pictures).

Do what makes you feel comfortable and like you say, you can always reconsider this in the future.

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Fri 21-Nov-14 21:38:11

We were in a similar position. Right before we put in for the AO, all of a sudden DD's SW was talking about photos, when this had never been even mooted before.

The question I kept asking was, "How is that in my DD's best interest?". I was told that contact is for the benefit of the birth parents!

We stuck to our guns and SW backed down. At the end of the day, we are the advocates for our children and we felt that not sending photos not only gave her the most security, but also the most freedom in the future.

MerryInthechelseahotel Fri 21-Nov-14 21:40:42

I would agree not to go along with the photos if there is any chance, and it sounds like there is, of future problems because of this. Just keep saying that obviously the safety of dc is your priority. They can't argue with that. Good luck.

Bringonthesunshineplease Fri 21-Nov-14 21:41:25

Thanks as always for the helpful guidance and support! Glad to hear in general we are not being unreasonable. Needless to say if the courts indicates photos are to be sent when the AO is heard we would do so but as it stands for now we feel we need to focus on whats in the best interests of our children.

BTW Devora thanks for the wording- its perfect!!

KristinaM Sun 23-Nov-14 08:32:38

Social workers only have an opinion. It's the courts that make any orders.

In the absence of any order by the court, you are free to do what you think is in the best interests of your child. Once you have an AO you are the legal parent, SW have no locus .

You may chose to listen to their opinion, as you might listen to your best friend or your mother or anyone on here. You woudl assess their knowledge, experience and biases.

Doubletrouble99 Sun 14-Dec-14 00:00:39

The crux of this is of course that it has to be for the good of the children and no body else. We came to realise that the children's SW is really not that at all she is in fact the BM's SW and in our case we felt was far to emotionally involved with BM. I would always err on the side of caution once the jack is out of the box it can't be put back in. I have heard too many stories of MBs putting photos of ACs on face book as their profile pic.
Too often we are told muddled info as to how risky the BF are toward our children. It was only after some years did we find the true picture of generational sexual abuse in our LOs BF, the criminality of BM and her hither too unknown to us, very fragile mental state. So there could be no telling what she may have done had we not been vigilant.

Silver1 Mon 15-Dec-14 12:53:12

What you don't want is for the court to make the contact order because that makes it harder to review in the future without leave of the court- but rather that an agreement is in place for the adoption order.
I think that SWs might tell you to "do it for the birth parents" but most of them know better than to tell that to the judge! So as others have said- you want to stick to the agreement in place, that has been signed by all parties.

We are no photos- but I know the LA do have some adopters on photo on the file, those adopters that we have met who have contact photos on file have a very different life story for their children than we do for ours, and I don't know if that muddies the waters a bit.

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