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Letterbox contact - photos?

(20 Posts)
Flower20166 Mon 27-Nov-17 18:37:38

Hi,
I’m just wondering from those who have adopted and do letter box contact, do your LA/agency encourage you to send photos along with the letters?
Mine have said that I will need to, that they don’t have to be really clear (could be from a distance, wearing a sun hat etc).
Now, I know letter box contact isn’t a legal requirement but just wondering who else has been asked to do this?
And do you agree?
My social worker has said that most cases parents have to view the photos in the social workers office, they don’t get to take them home or take photos of them on their phone etc.

donquixotedelamancha Mon 27-Nov-17 18:48:44

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

Silliness over : - ) Now let me qualify that by saying that there are many circumstances in which photos are reasonable, but they are not the norm and should not be. If you are adopting a youngish child in the 'normal' circumstances then photos increase the risk of them finding him/her later on.

It is very unusual to have a SW say you WILL need to send them. It's unlikely to be true. Without revealing specifics, could you explain a bit about why they want this and give some general details about the child's circumstance? I don't want to ramble on if your case is not the norm and there are good reasons for the request.

Flower20166 Mon 27-Nov-17 19:04:43

Oh no, I definitely don’t want to.
I’m just unsure whether this is the ‘norm’ within LA’s/agencies.
That’s exactly my fear, of them being able to trace them.
I think I might say that I don’t feel comfortable doing it right now, but if child decides that’s something they want to do later on (10years plus) we will come back to it and reconsider.

donquixotedelamancha Mon 27-Nov-17 19:43:19

PM'd you.

bellasuewow Mon 27-Nov-17 20:10:49

They can take a picture of the picture with their phone so it means nothing to only be able to look at them in the room. If there is no risk then go ahead but don’t if there is a risk as they can use google face recognition to find any other photos on line and identify the child. Letterbox is an agreement not a mandatory requirement on both sides.

Jellycatspyjamas Mon 27-Nov-17 20:41:07

No, no expectation of photographs, in fact a clear statement that we wouldn't be sending photographs - my SW knew my views before the agreement was out in place. I wouldn't have agreed to sending photos.

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Tue 28-Nov-17 20:52:50

We refused to agree to photos, despite some pressure from SW. We want our kids to have as much privacy, freedom and control over when/if future contact happens as we can possibly carve out for them.

Flower20166 Tue 28-Nov-17 21:17:09

Thank you all. You’ve confirmed what I’ve been thinking and I feel a lot more confident now about refusing to send photos.

mincepieforsanta Tue 28-Nov-17 21:44:20

From the other side, the benefit for the child is that if they do want contact in the future it is more likely to be easier and a more positive experience if both sides have as much knowledge about each other as possible.

I am not sure a sw would suggest photos if there were a risk.

Flower20166 Tue 28-Nov-17 22:21:29

I just feel the risks outweigh the positives in the case of photos.
Baby will have photos of birth parents in their life story book, and I have no problem at all with doing letters.

OurMiracle1106 Tue 28-Nov-17 22:54:22

As a birth Mum who gets to view but not keep photos, first of all I would never try to trace my son until he is 18 and then I would go via social services and the adoption register. Secondly I would never risk even attempting to take a photo, the social worker is present the whole time I am looking at the photos so there is no chance to sneak a photo and even if there was these photos have too much significance to me personally to risk losing them.

And thirdly I feel that if you’re hoping to get updated photos of birth parents/subsequent children then not sharing could prevent this from happening.

I know as a birth parent should I ever have another child I would be happy to share a baby pic but as child got older I would ask the same procedure be put in place as I go through in order to protect both sides.

donquixotedelamancha Tue 28-Nov-17 23:41:27

Thing is Miracle, you are not a typical BP. Most BFs have some members who would represent some level of risk to the child. There are some horrible stories out there where BPs have managed to track down adopters.

I would consider photos in the right circumstances, and I know of adopters where it's done with no issue; but it has to be set up and managed properly- some LAs are really bad at managing contact. It should not be a default assumption and it has to be the parents choice.

1099 Wed 29-Nov-17 08:09:27

Hi OP;
We found that with most of these scenarios the best answer was to say we would be willing to discuss it as and when it arose, to tell SW that you outright refuse is more likely to create problems than not. In our LA SW has nothing to do with contact after placement it's all done through Letterbox coordinator who came out and met us after we'd settled down to discuss what we were willing to accept.

Italiangreyhound Wed 29-Nov-17 16:24:25

We agreed to photos and don't regret it. But I have to say I was pretty sure there was no risk.

I'd say you'd cross that bridge when you get to it.

I do tend to take photos when on hols not in normal area, no other people are in the picture, no landmarks, no logos etc.

If you wished to do it and they really could be from afar you could pretty much obscure their face! But don't do it of not happy. It cannot be a requirement but easier to say no later, I think.

Lovebehindthefool Wed 29-Nov-17 17:21:12

No photos for us either. I don’t agree that it would ever benefit the child to have photos sent to the bp. If they wanted a relationship then they could send childhood photos for bp to look at before meeting them.
Ourmiracle might put on here about but how she is not a risk etc but that is her unique situation, from her point of view. Don’t listen to what anybody else says, use the info from the child’s report and go with extreme caution. Most bp will not be so level headed and even if they are now, they certainly may not stay that way!

Lovebehindthefool Wed 29-Nov-17 17:22:11

Also- I don’t know any adopters who expect or receive up to date photos of their child’s birth parents so don’t let that influence you either. We have no photos, from both sides.

UnderTheNameOfSanders Thu 30-Nov-17 14:40:31

We seem to be unusual in that we do photos.
We send really nice, clear photos with every contact.
We do however make sure they are not at locatable locations, unless a holiday destination.
We also receive occasional pictures back!

The down side is that we do not allow photos of the DC in local media, or online, or school website/twitter or whatever. This has very very occasionally limited things the DCs could participate in.

We adopted >10 years ago, so maybe the 'norm' has changed in that time due to the explosion of social media and image search capabilities.

hidinginthenightgarden Thu 30-Nov-17 20:56:01

We had DD placed with us last xmas and do photos. We have only done one letterbox so far and we sent pics where she was looking side on and one which looks nothing like the child we have today. DD was only 1 when she came home and looks nothing like the baby that came home last year. I am pretty confident that they wouldn't recognise her in the street and the fact that we are in a different city makes me feel more at ease with it.

thomassmuggit Thu 30-Nov-17 21:14:45

We were asked to provide 'sight only', but having realised that the keeping off social media, out of the press, etc, is going to be a major difference, and pita for LO, I can't see any benefit to LO in letting BPs know what LO now looks like.

Currently, the risk is low. But BP are young, and could change/move/get new friends/new partners, and that long term risk is unquantifiable.

Does it benefit LO? For us, it doesn't. I look forward to the day we can relax on the photos in public, which we could never do if BPs got pictures.

UnderTheNameOfSanders Fri 01-Dec-17 12:30:23

For me, I think the benefit of sending photos is it helps keep the BPs properly engaged in contact, as they can see the children growing up rather than it being words on a page. I think that helps us in getting more appropriate letters written to us.

Additionally therefore, if the DCs do want to meet up with BPs as adults, there are better links there already.

Everyone will have their own circumstances and I can really see why it seems more usual now to not do photos.

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