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Direct Contact With Parent

(21 Posts)
oasiswaterpool Mon 03-Aug-15 19:23:20

We have been shown a profile of a child by our SW and asked if we are interested in showing an interest. We said yes we are interested but now I cannot stop thinking about where it said 'possible direct contact with birth father'. I know that this is a recommendation for a few children but I don't feel that good about it. I would be more than happy to help the child understand birth family, see siblings and letter box contact with birth mum and grandmother but direct contact with father leaves me uncomfortable. I just think it must be so confusing for the child and worry she will never feel like ours. Any experience anyone??

Hels20 Mon 03-Aug-15 20:18:42

No experience but I know someone who was asked to have direct contact with a sibling....she was very reluctant but went along with it for a bit actually really liked the sibling (who was 16 years older than her adopted daughter). She actually ended up increasing contact and the sister said that she was so glad that her little sister had ended up with the adoptive parents as unlikely her life would be f@@ked up like hers had been.

Guess I am saying - there may be good reasons. (Sorry - there must be good reasons.)

I don't think - once a child is adopted - you can be forced to have contact unless it is court ordered. Is it worth meeting him?

I am not sure I would know what I would do in your situation and a birth sibling is v different to a birth parent. Can you see whether it is something that is an absolute requirement or is it something the SS would like you to consider?

I do also think it depends on age of child. If child is over 5 and has lived with/had a significant relationship with the birth father and he isn't reason why the child is up for adoption then I can see why SS might think this is a good idea.

But why can't child live with BF and wouldn't that always be the child's question?

Sorry for rambling. Am sure someone with an experience of this will come along soon.

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Mon 03-Aug-15 21:17:33

I'd want to know why SS thought that it might be a good idea, and things like frequency etc that they had in mind

oasiswaterpool Mon 03-Aug-15 21:48:12

Yes, CloserToFiftyThanTwenty we would be asking those type of questions. Am really jumping the gun here are we haven't even been shortlisted but made me really think what direct contact would really mean as to me it seems so much more potentially difficult for the child and adopters than sibling contact.

StaceyAndTracey Mon 03-Aug-15 22:09:10

I think sibling contact can be very difficult if the sibling has remained with the birth family . I know a child who had this with two siblings, one has remained with each side of the extended family .it was terrible for this child knowing the others had been kept .

Also one sibling still had direct contact with the birth family member who had abused the children very badly , and use to pass on messages to the child through the sibling

So lots of security issues as well sad

I don't know of any birth parents who have actually stuck with direct contact aftre more than once or twice . I admit it's not a very big sample size

researchbookworm Thu 06-Aug-15 16:56:14

If it helps I read a research study that had followed adoptive families over 20 years and assessed different methods of contact. Direct contact came out as having the greatest satisfaction levels for all parties I.e. birth parents, adopters and the child. It actually left me wishing we could have direct contact- as it turns out it's going to be letter box. I think a big part of the success of it for the adopters was that it meant the AC had a realistic understanding of their birth family and didn't fantasise about them being better than the reality. Also, presumably it means that the Bf is not a threat to the AC in any way which is always a relief!
I'm not saying it would be an easy relationship to manage but it would ultimately feel normal and you wouldn't have to deal with the big suspense of what will happen if the child instigates contact via Facebook or something, or just through the post adoption routes when 18...
Good luck with it if you get picked :-)

selly24 Thu 06-Aug-15 20:05:40

Thanks for your post bookworm! It has made me view direct contact in a different light.

Hels20 Fri 07-Aug-15 18:31:20

Oasis - the thread on here - 7 weeks in and drowning - might give you a tiny insight about contact with birth parents. Very different situation to yours but I think it gives a little indication of the emotional challenges a child might face.

Kewcumber Sat 08-Aug-15 11:32:13

research if the study is one of the ones done in America then you have to bear in mind that these are all adoptions of relinquished children. I think the dynamics of contact with children who were removed would be way trickier but I've never seen a study involving removed children. If I'm wrong and you have found such a study I'd love to look at it if you can remember where you saw it.

I also think it is difficult to be confident about birth parent contact in the early days of parenting your child. I searched for DS's birth mother in the 6 months after having him and was terrified I would actually find her. I was doing it because I knew it was the right thing for him. 9 years on I'd really welcome contact and think it would really benefit him.

researchbookworm Sun 09-Aug-15 00:22:01

It was def a UK study- I'll see if I can find it again...

researchbookworm Sun 09-Aug-15 00:36:39

I just found it! You've no idea how long I've been looking go it- told our SW about it when I first read it about a year ago and had been unable to find it ever since! Anyway- it's here:
www.uea.ac.uk/contact-after-adoption/stage-1
There's loads of info on there. Having briefly re read it I had misremembered some parts of it but it's still really useful and relevant. Enjoy :-)

researchbookworm Sun 09-Aug-15 00:44:44

(It's stage 2 of the study where they compare direct and letterbox contact- at this stage the families were about 4 yrs into their adoptions)

researchbookworm Sun 09-Aug-15 00:48:55

I completely agree about the confidence thing Kew- we are due to meet our future AD's BM next week and I'm really pleased that we will get to meet her but also grateful that we won't have to meet again for many years. It's one thing knowing that ongoing direct contact could be great, a very different thing having to commit to it!

NanaNina Sun 09-Aug-15 01:03:16

You need to talk this over with your social worker OP and find out what it's all about. It does say "possible" and your wishes and feelings will have to be taken into account. Direct contact in adoption is still quite unusual I think, but until you've discussed it all with the social worker you are in the dark.

Kewcumber Sun 09-Aug-15 10:28:30

Thanks research I'll take a look at that.

Kewcumber Sun 09-Aug-15 10:39:05

Very interesting.

I wish they had kept that study going as there was a comment that because of the young age of the children they were often not really aware of the implications of the visit. It would be nice to know how it changes as the child gets older and has their own opinion.

I know some of the American studies found that direct contact was difficult in pre-teens.

Direct contact is still relatively rare 15 years after that study finished - I assume it's naturally limited by the willingness of both BP and AP to commit to it.

researchbookworm Sun 09-Aug-15 11:47:51

Actually it was only completed in 2013 as they wanted to do exactly what you said in terms of the children being able to reflect on contact from an adult perspective. If you follow the links back to the main uea website you should be able to access the reports from all stages of the study.

2old2beamum Sun 09-Aug-15 16:39:56

Our DD was relinquished shortly after her birth due to her complex health needs and learning disability, At the adoption hearing it was decided that BP's should have twice yearly contact. Due to DD's intellectual disability we felt it would not be stressful to her. She has lived with us for 7 years and contact continues.

At first it was supervised but this was useless we were all on tenderhooks and went it alone after 2 visits. DH is not that happy but I am quite laid back. As long as it does not affect DD we are quite happy and I am pleased to welcome them to our home.

DS another story no way is she welcome in our home!! Each child's situation is different.

Tokoloshe Mon 10-Aug-15 13:10:15

This thread shows one person's experience of direct contact with a birth parent:
adopterssupportuk.freeforums.net/thread/4004/watch-space

Kewcumber Mon 10-Aug-15 13:40:11

I read that - interesting (albeit only one case) but I remember that the american studies concluded that the biggest single problem was with birth parents not sustaining contact often if their life circumstances change eg getting married, new relationship etc.

StaceyAndTracey Mon 10-Aug-15 17:38:48

Of all the adopted children I know who had direct contact , none of the birth family members kept it up more than two or three times .

This includes relinquished children ( mother placed the baby in care at birth and actively sought adoption ) and cases with parental consent ( child was removed because care was inadequate - they didn't really want the child adopted but accepted that they could never care for him/ her ) .

People often think it's a great idea in theory . But in practice the meetings are very awkward for everyone - what do you say to a child who is a total stranger who you meet once a year, in a social work office? The adults are overwhelmed with emotion and the child is either distressed or bored .

And of course it's just a torture for the birth parents and the adoptive parents , who feel anxious and hugely guilty .

Sometime the children are deeply traumatised after the meetings and they can't go on , for the child's sake .

I think the ideal is when there is a relationship of trust between the adults and meetings can take place on MacDonalds / soft play / park without SW involvement . But as you can imagine, that's very rare .

That's why I advise any birth family members to take every opportunity to act reasonably with the adoptive parents . It's their best if not only chance of having any contact with their bio relative . Yes its agonising , but it's not the place to work out your issues and resolve grievances .

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