My feed

to access all these features

Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on adoption.


Direct contact

14 replies

CabbagePatchCheryl · 13/03/2019 12:41

Hi all - hope you're all well. Can someone help me with a question I don't feel able to ask our social worker please?

We're currently looking at matching with a child whose placement order says they should have direct contact with siblings (different dad) after placement. Obviously there's a lot to think about and find out and we are really feeling positive about it from what we've heard so far. But we're also running through worst case scenarios and my question is - if at some point in the future we felt that the contact was no longer in the best interests of our child, can we unilaterally decide to discontinue it? Or is it legally binding?

Disclaimer: we are NOT thinking that this will ever be necessary, I just want to know the absolute bottom line so we are sure where we would stand.

OP posts:
Italiangreyhound · 13/03/2019 13:57

CabbagePatchCheryl I am an adopter and not an expert.

After your child is legally adopted by you I am not sure how anything like this could be legally enforceable even if it was legally binding. But I could be wrong.

At the end of the day if the meetings left your child upset etc it would be a case of working through those things with the child. If you felt there were other issues you could talk to the professionals.

Once your child reaches there teens they may choose not to continue with the meetings etc. Would social services force your child to attend? I cannot really imagine how they would do this. I have a teenage birth child and an adopted 8 year old. It's very difficult to force a teen to do things they don't want to do, in my experience.

I hope things work out well and this link, if it is right, goes ahead.


flapjackfairy · 13/03/2019 16:09

We have direct contact with birth parents once a year . But we made sure that only letter box is written into the adoption order. Anything further is deemed to be at our discretion and is only to be continued if we deem it to be in our sons interests. This leaves all the power firmly with us as we don't want to face a court battle if things go wrong. I would suggest you do the same as the adoption order is a legal document .
However even without that you would be the child's parent and would make all the decisions on what is best for them . Should you decide to end contact no judge is going to remove your child on that basis alone as long as you can show that you are working in your childs best interests .

AngelsWithSilverWings · 13/03/2019 16:27

Both of my children have contact agreements with their birth siblings. So we have DS's direct contact with his brothers to manage and DD's with her brother and sister.

We have found contact to be fine and very beneficial so would be happy for it to continue. But there are issues.

Sadly , due to illness and other problems , my son's birth family have been unable to continue to bring the brothers to contact and DS hasn't seen them for a number of years now. This has been really hard on him and has caused him some distress.

So when agreeing to contact it is also advisable to think about what would happens if either family want to stop contact , not just the adoptive family.

We have continued with letterbox but it's not enough for my son.

Italiangreyhound · 13/03/2019 16:41

AngelsWithSilverWings that's really sad for your son. Hope when he is older he can maintain a relationship. Would Skype be a way to facilitate something?

flapjackfairy are you in the UK? Don't say if you don't want to. I've not much heard of adopted kids having direct contact with a birth parent before but I do know of cases where there is sibling contact and contact with a grandparent.

flapjackfairy · 13/03/2019 17:36

Yes in UK. We decided to offer one a year to birth parents as we adopted one of our foster children and therefore already had a connection .

Italiangreyhound · 13/03/2019 18:01

flapjackfairy do you mind if I ask how it has worked out?

Will pm you.

Thepinklady77 · 13/03/2019 18:46

Italian direct contact with birth parents and birth siblings is now quite common practice in Nothern Ireland. It has had its ups and downs. For some it proves very positive for others not so much. It is not part of the adoption order but a contact agreement that can be and often is changed as the child grows.

We have twice yearly direct contact. So far (and are kids are still young - preschool) it is fairly positive. We meet in a play centre for about an hour, we all have a play and a bit of a chat and then head off again. For us at the moment it makes life story work real. When we talk about birth mum, both ours did live for a while with her, they have a real tangible understanding of who she is. As they grow and have questions we hope the contact will get them answered in a meaningful way. One recent example was re. Photos - we had been looking at baby photos of my niece and nephew in granny’s house and the eldest said we will have to go and take photos of me when I was a baby. We had to say we can’t go back and take them now and we don’t have very many but why don’t we ask ‘c’ for a few baby photos the next time we see her. Through social workers I asked if she could bring photos with her. They were not hopeful as they had been asking themselves for photos for sometime to do lifestory book but because the request had come from the child themselves she was forth coming. She arrived with a load of lovely photos and she went through them with the child. I feel it was very significant. I can not say if it will always be a positive experience and there may come a time that we have to cease it and we will if it is not in the best interest of the children. This will be entirely within our remit.

For the OP we also have direct contact (in agreement as twice per year) with birth sibling but in essence this actually happens much more frequently as we have developed a very close friendship with their adopters. We all love to have family days together. That said we have spoken very openly to each other that it is important that we don’t let our friendship cloud out view of the children’s needs. If the contact with their sibling becomes an issue in the future for any of them then we have to be honest with each other and not take it personally. The children’s needs must come first. But for now the kids love to be together and we love watching the interactions.

Italiangreyhound · 13/03/2019 21:28

Thepinklady77 thanks for that I believe I did see a documentary about adoption in Northeen Ireland and tea direct contact waa mentioned.

Sorry when I said UK I should really have said England as I don't know how it works all over the UK!

I am glad it has been a positive experience for you and your son.

bunting1000 · 13/03/2019 21:31

We were meant to have direct contact with an older sibling- for various reasons we decided it was in our children’s best interests to stop contact. SW’s were completely accepting of our decision- we gave our reasons and these were recorded on file.

Thepinklady77 · 13/03/2019 21:36

Yes Italian I think we may even have communicated about this in the past. I am afraid I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet when people talk about things not being the norm in the UK when really they mean England forgetting that there are three other jurisdictions that make up the UK. Here in Northern Ireland there are many flaws in our adoption system but there are also some very positive aspects that other areas in the UK would benefit form looking more closely at.

CabbagePatchCheryl · 14/03/2019 08:01

Thanks so much for all that advice - so helpful. It’s been both reassuring (nice to hear how contact works for you all) and clarified some things around the legal status.

flapjack would you be able to say a bit more about how you managed not to get the contact written into the adoption order please - how does that work?

It’s odd, we’ve been so focussed on getting approved I now realise I know nothing at all about the mechanics of what happens next! Which isn’t like me at all. Must find some resources...

OP posts:
Italiangreyhound · 14/03/2019 08:05

" I am afraid I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet when people talk about things not being the norm in the UK."

You ate right to, o apologise, I was wrong to say it.

I sometimes work directly with people overseas and often refer to our county as the UK meaning the whole place as that is what people overseas often say. But you are right I don't know about Northeem airekand or Scotland or Wales so I definitely should have said England. Actually it may even be different on different bits of England!

flapjackfairy · 14/03/2019 09:23

We simply said we would offer one contact but at our discretion . That was put in the bundle of papers that go to the court that form the basis of the adoption order. So it simply says under contact that letterbox will take place and anything else is entirely up to us.
But as I said before if you decided not to carry on within contact ( lb contact even) there is nothing the birth family can really do to force you.

Mynamenotaccepted · 14/03/2019 12:27

Another one here whose AD 13 has direct contact with her parents 3 times year. It does not affect her as she has severe learning difficulties and they are to her just nice people who visit and will play clapping games with her! They come for the day and always bring a decent bottle of wine Smile so every one is happy.
However they are nice people but would not let AS mother over the threshold I might throttle her, another story!

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.