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


Letter box woes!

38 replies

Weatherforducks · 30/11/2019 18:42

We really are committed to letterbox and really do want to preserve those links to birth family (until children are old enough to say otherwise or circumstances dictate), but goodness, they are not making it easy! We took a great deal of care picking the month we would write (avoiding birthdays/Christmas/significant dates), and it just seems like such a waste of headspace now. They were two months late setting us up for letterbox anyway and then since sending the letters off, it has taken more than a quarter of a year to get to their intended destinations! I know all of the agencies are under pressure and have recently changed structure - but over a quarter of a year late? I just feel that it may erode any potential trust between adopters and birth family for no good reason. And for them to finally arrive just before Christmas...

OP posts:
ClArabelle67 · 24/02/2020 23:56

Yes, I’m aware. And they are thrown in to a system that is risk adverse and underfunded, with no appropriate counselling or support when facing dealing with horrendously difficult decisions and often harrowing outcomes, leaving many young social workers feeling impotent, disheartened and quitting, despite their potential.
The change from school inspectors being ‘supportive friends’. To the previous and current OFSTED system has parallels and is something I personally witnessed. I’ve spent many hours with School management teams around these issues. I also failed an ofsted inspector at her MA and remain justified in that.

ClArabelle67 · 25/02/2020 01:03

@darkriver19886 and @Weatherforducks, I’m so sorry to hear of your experiences, but also heartened by your proactive approach. Our pac as recently changed to bring together 9 London boroughs adoption services on the premise of efficiency. I only knew about this in passing. They have 2 part timers for 9 boroughs and it seems they are a spending a day a week in each borough, rather than in a central office. How that’s an efficiency is beyond me comprehension.
I spoke to the head of service recently as their new shiny website it’s solely aimed at prospective adopters. Her feedback was ‘ what are your suggestions for improvement’. MY response was ‘ fulfill your statutory duties’. I won’t hold my breath for the changes.

OurChristmasMiracle · 25/02/2020 07:00

In regards to support with contact and the writing of letters there just is none. I was told I wasn’t permitted to call myself mum or to tell my son I miss him but I love you was fine and left to get on with it.

I was fortunate in that I did manage to get some counselling through the LA but that was only because my solicitor pushed for it and reminded them of their legal duty of care to birth parents. I did manage with the help of the counsellor to have the session extended but originally they offered just 8 sessions and That was only extended once. I understand they are underfunded but there was no information about PAC I had to look and find that myself and they didn’t even point me in the direction of IAPT or grief counselling (I lost my mum to cancer just 15 days post placement order)

I managed to seek and attend specialist counselling for one issue and then did access grief counselling followed by psychotherapy which was provided by the charity which housed me but without that there would have been absolutely nothing. I also found on our LA website there is 2 organisations listed as support for birth parents which are in fact when you look them up solely for adopters and adoptees and they don’t provide support to birth parents.

ClArabelle67 · 25/02/2020 11:07

@OurChristmasMiracle. I’m sorry to hear that, and it sounds pretty familiar. According to My LA I wasn’t impacted at all. My siblings and mother died during the whole process and when I asked to postpone a meeting due 4 days after my mother’s death they engaged their lawyers and accused me of being obstructive and not committed. I think most PAC sites are set up for adopters, despite legislation stating birth families are entitled to counselling. My experience was that even when the judge shouted at them, demanding they fulfil a number of their statutory duties they still didn’t. They system is not fit for purpose.

ClArabelle67 · 25/02/2020 11:18

APs on this thread, can I ask you a question? Do you let BPs/BFs write letters to your little ones or are the letters dialogue purely between the adults? I would love to be able to send little letters for them. And do any of you have contact with BFs other than BMs/BFs? I’m just wondering if my situation is unusual.

defaultusername · 25/02/2020 11:44

Letterbox is between adults.

jellycatspyjamas · 25/02/2020 11:51

Letterbox contact us between adults, I wouldn’t pass on letters addressed to my children until they are adults and have the capacity to choose and strategies to cope with contact from their birth family. They will have access to all of the letters that form part of letterbox when they are older. I’d consider birth family writing directly to my children as a breach of boundaries because it’s not the agreement we made around contact.

There’s no reason why you couldn’t write the letters and keep them in a safe place to share with them if they make contact when they are older?

ClArabelle67 · 25/02/2020 12:36

I didn’t mean write to them directly, but to pen letters to them for the APs to either keep for later or to share with them. Do any of you have later life letters from family members or were yours written by the SW?
@jellycat, yes, that’s a good idea. I think there are a few family finding organisations that will keep a letter/photos on file for adopted adults as well. I won’t be here anymore when they turn 18, so maybe one of those sites is a better option for me.

OurChristmasMiracle · 25/02/2020 18:11

I have a memory box in which I keep photos of myself throughout the years as I now have stopped sending photos- mainly because our son isn’t involved in contact so I don’t see any reason to send photos. I also keep Xmas and birthday cards and my partner and best friend are aware of what to do with this information should anything happen to me. I’ve also kept every letter I’ve sent and every letter I have received as well as drawings and picture. I also printed out a couple of things I’ve written and the email i sent to my sons father when he wished to contest.

I will not be sending this information until my son is an adult.

Honestly there was no boundaries written around what I could write in contact, however there was around photos and the understanding was that should my photos be shared with ANYONE other than our son then photos would no longer be sent. Should they share them on any type of social media or in any school project they were aware that any medical information would also be withdrawn as it is My confidential information.

ClArabelle67 · 25/02/2020 22:34

@OurChristmasMiracle, I was t given the opportunity to meet the adopters and negotiate a contact agreement. Mine is pretty standard I think - letters twice a year with photos ( or rather photocopies of photos). I haven’t been told I can pass on photos, but to be honest I’m not sure about that one ( here’s a photo of Nanny looking happy without you? ) I guess I could ask the person charged with dealing with my will to keep the stuff ( I, too have a memory box; hospital wrist bands, first blankets, first soft toys, etc). My GC are still the main receiptents in my will/pensions/life insurance, etc, so I guess I’ll need to get advice on that one. I’m not sure if that’s even allowed given legally were disconnected. It’s such a minefield. You’re doing amazingly well and sound like you’ve got your head round this way more than me.

jellycatspyjamas · 25/02/2020 22:43

( I, too have a memory box; hospital wrist bands, first blankets, first soft toys, etc).

Honestly, I would have lived to have those things - my DC have very little in the way of those kinds of memories, I don’t think I even have a baby photo of my DD. What a lovely thing to be able to pass on.

ClArabelle67 · 25/02/2020 23:13

I asked to pass them on, and was refused by the LA. I’d love for the AP’s to have them; they are absolutely best placed to know when is appropriate to share them as part of life story work. ( and also from an emotional, connectedness point of view ). What good are they doing in a box under my bed? Same with the photos of their early years... they are here physically and in a cloud folder, but I think it would have been so helpful for the APs and the little ones to have these.. to be able to sit together with the AP and ensure the narrative to accompany those photos showed that they were loved, and safe, and protected. As it is I simply do t know what to write in the photo album because I want the narrative to dovetail so that the little ones come away with a sense of ..peace, or completeness I guess?

I mentioned in my last letter to them how regretful it was that no parallel planning happened so they they could have gone from me to them directly. This system I should flawed, as we’ve all acknowledged. i’m not ready to give up hope yet. I’ll wait and see what the APs say in their next letter and maybe I can pass on the box. 🙏🏻

jellycatspyjamas · 26/02/2020 07:50

As a SW I would have been delighted to be able to pass on those mementos to the adopters - I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t allow that, children love sifting through their baby bits and it’s a really tangible way of doing life story work.

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