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Advice needed for first letter box contact letter, how to start etc etc

56 replies

april74 · 04/03/2009 10:31

Well says it all really, I am due to write my first letters.

I know of plenty of things that I want to say and have the photo's ready, I just struggling with the first line.

I have to write 2 letters 1 to the birth parents and another to her half sister who has been long term fostered by a family member.

We changed the spelling of our DD first name, but I will write with the old spelling.

Just need advice on how to get started.


OP posts:
TeenAndTween · 01/12/2013 14:37

QOD - it's not a constant reminder, as it only happens twice a year. But it is part of who my daughters are, and their life story. Yes, my younger one doesn't feel it and understand it in the same way as her sister does, but the fact remains that they are adopted and we would be doing my younger one a disservice if she grows up not aware of that and the reasons why.

Lilka · 01/12/2013 19:13

I've never struggled with letterbox being a 'reminder', although I know other people do. I guess because I get constant reminders anyway, and would even if I hadn't been writing

As of this year, DS no longer wants me to write, so I've stopped, but before then he never seemed bothered. He's always 'known', and the letters and cards have been coming since he arrived, so for him I think the letters were just normal and expected

QOD · 01/12/2013 21:53

Thanks, just interesting as I gave a lot of thought to how dd may react as she was obviously conceived to be given away. Always worried she may feel rejected but we've always made it clear how it was. I do overthink a bit :D

TeenAndTween · 02/12/2013 09:05

QOD - i think it is natural to be worried. tbh as long as you've brought her up being honest with her, which it sounds like you have, then that's the best you can do.
(It sounds from your wording that she born via a surrogate? That's a very loving thing for her birth mum to have done. (Forgive me if I am reading too much into your words)).

QOD · 02/12/2013 19:45

Yes my friend offered to have a baby for dh and I, so she is a DIY surrogate baby Grin
She's nearly 15 and I ruddy love her, we've got thru to grumpy hormonal rants and she is a lovely girl.
Thanks for letting me be so nosey!

QODRestYeMerryGentlemen · 09/12/2013 23:43

I'm back!!
I asked my friend, yes, initial letter box contact but now stopped as 1 child contract was to respond to letter and they stopped coming. The other child got older and didn't want to do it
Interestingly, she said she quite liked it with the 2nd child, who was relinquished, as it was like a baby diary

Led us onto something else. The fact that the records are available from age 18 and, this could be a whole new thread and sorry op to take over Wink but how to handle the child potentially then asking for information and finding out he's the result of a sex assault? We thenwent into the whole "was it better when adoption records were sealed" conversation. :(

StupidMistakes · 14/12/2013 16:11

As a parent who has had her child adopted tell them the truth, tell them you changed the spelling, I mean how would the mother feel if she chooses to have a tattoo of her daughters name and then its spelt wrong? Tell them how they are doing, likes dislikes, how school hunting is going, whether you have chosen a school, if they have any hobbies, past times, take part in sports, have friends, plans for Christmas ie spending it at home, we have a real tree little one helped decorate the tree etc. Their favourite tv programmes like in the night garden etc, none of it tells them who you are but i know i need to know as much as possible about my ds

Italiangreyhound · 14/12/2013 20:24

It is very interesting to read comments about the letterbox contact. And to know that adoptive parents and birth parents will both be engaged in it.

I know that things can be hard to write about and so it is useful to hear people's comments.

We are not yet adopters but hope to be.

I guess the name issue may be different for different people. Some people may change a name for security issues so that may mean they can't tell the name changed.

weregoingtothezoo · 15/12/2013 12:23

I couldn't write on this thread at first as it was too hard. It's so painful.
My first letterbox contact from DD's adoptive parents was 7 typed lines that were very vague and came across (I realise this is my emotionally loaded interpretation) as very smug.

I've written twice now. Both letters were rejected. Now her adoptive parents have PR they have asserted their right to censor the letters and not to allow me to write for two months either side of her birthday or Christmas. They will not send photos or write to me by name.

It feels combative - but surely we should be on the same side? DD's side.

Any more will be identifying. I am so encouraged in some ways that many parents put so much effort in and involve their DC. But so sad that DD isn't with people who would do that - when I know nothing else about them it paints a very controlling picture.

Italiangreyhound · 15/12/2013 14:53

weweregoingtozoo so sorry this is so painful, although totally understandable.

I can't imagine what is happening what the letter you describe, I can't imagine how anyone would feel smug, maybe trying to be positive has sounded smug?

I am also wondering if not sending letters/cards around Christmas and birthday is a standard thing as I am sure I have heard this before.

Hope this improves and you feel better about the letters.

StupidMistakes · 15/12/2013 15:58

Italian I was told by social services that letters are not permitted around Christmas and birthdays as these are very emotionally charged times. I hadn't heard of two months either side. also social services asked for months which were too emotional for me, and months I had suffered a loss in. I decided I was happy to hear at any time, as I have suffered many losses in my life and would therefore rule out pretty much every month.

Italiangreyhound · 15/12/2013 16:19

Oh SM it is so sad to hear you have suffered losses in many months but good that you feel able to receive letters even in this time. I really hope letter box works out for you as a good way to hear news etc.

TeenAndTween · 15/12/2013 20:55

weregoing do you get any support your writing letters?

Any 'censoring' should be done really by the letterbox coordinator, not the APs as such. In our LA both BPs and APs get guidance on what to say / not to say in contact letters.

We have set months for contact letters which avoid Christmas and birthdays (though we do take Christmas cards in the contact letter which we save up for Christmas).

I am very sad that the APs seemingly write poor letters to you. Can you talk to the letterbox coordinator about this?
I guess there is not much you can do really. But do keep up your contact, even if rejected I think the LA will need to keep them on file, which in later life your BD may choose to access.

weregoingtothezoo · 17/12/2013 17:34

Thank you Teen for your suggestions. I was thinking of waiting to see if the second letter is as bad so I can take it up as a pattern.
What I was told my letters were supposed to be for is amongst the many things I'm not allowed to mention. The LA said it's right for the adopters to also be able to censor - their word- so that they are responsible for what DD receives. I will keep writing though. It's all I've got.

Ollie44 · 07/09/2017 12:00

I could really use some advice needed for first letter box contact. My young sister was adopted whilst I grew up with my grandparents and until now I never knew she even existed (I found out by accident). Her new adopted family send lovely letters and photos to me but I'm struggling with what to write back.

PoppyStellar · 07/09/2017 13:22

Hi Ollie, that must be a really hard situation for you.

Some thoughts on how to start / what to say:

Thanks for any previous letter of photos
Introduce yourself (you don't have to be too specific but maybe some of the things you like / liked doing as a child, with a question as to whether X likes to do the same)
Depending on her age you could ask about films / sports / games / activities she enjoys, or what subjects she likes at school.

I wouldn't worry about the length of your letter, a short one is fine.

Our LA advises us to not use titles like mum or sister but to use names instead. I'm not sure what would be the best way to sign off in your situation but I'd probably go with a first name.

It sounds like your sister's adoptive parents are keen to do letterbox so it may be appropriate to ask them in future letters what sort of information would be helpful for your sister.

Your LA should have a letterbox co-ordinator who should be able to advise you on what type of things to include and what to leave out in a letter. I say should because some LAs are very good and some are rubbish. However you can usually speak to the letterbox person by phoning the general number for adoption at the LA.

Best of luck with it

Annabelkaty11 · 30/07/2019 01:28


I feel absolutely devastated the fact I have a beautiful granddaughter, 18 months of age that I have never met.
I became aware that she even existed due to a courier from the local authority.. out of my area delivering a letter to my son stating that he had a child and that there was care proceedings taking place.
I was devastated.
I have tried to intervene and hit so many brick walls.
My son knew all along and I am finding it hard to forgive him for not telling me. I had to apply to the courts for DNA to gave any input and although I had a positive assessment as a connected person foster Carer the local authority have thrown so many barriers my way I am lost totally in what to do.
I am a nurse and care for my 11 year old daughter on my own. SS informed me that I need to give up work for ( months to enable me to provide care for my granddaughter. I am not in a position to do so.
I am heartbroken at the inevitable.
Any advice would be appreciated..

Thepinklady77 · 30/07/2019 07:50

Anabelkaty didn’t want to read and run but will come back later when kids are all sorted but can I suggest you start a new thread in the adoption boards and you will get more attention.

Annabelkaty11 · 30/07/2019 09:53

Ok thank you x

Ted27 · 30/07/2019 19:54


please do start your own thread, you will get a much better response.

Just one thing though, its right that you should have some time away from work to settle a child in, but they should pay you a fostering allowance

Darciemae · 14/10/2019 23:40

Hi my grandaughter is about to be adopted shell be 6months old im struggling nhow to start i want her to no how beautiful she is i went the hospital daily the birth mothers side have done everything to keep her in the family sadly wasnt to be i dont want her thinking she wasnt loved off the birth mothers family

UnderTheNameOfSanders · 15/10/2019 14:34

Darcie Is this as a 'later life letter' / info for a life story book, or a contact letter?

I'll assume a 'later life letter' for when she is a teen. I'm making some stuff up, but hopefully it will help?

Dearest Mae,
I am writing this to you when you are only 6 months old, but I know you won't read it until you are older. I am Lucy's Mum, so your grandmother. When Lucy first told me she was expecting you I was , but I was also concerned because . we knew it would be hard for Lucy to look after you and keep you safe. I remember the day you were born …… You were so beautiful … While you were in hospital I visited very day ….. In the months afterwards I and other members of the family tried so hard to find a way to keep you with us, even though Lucy …. Unfortunately …. so in the end we all had to accept you would need to be adopted outside of the family. We so hope that you are happy with your family and they have given you the stability that we were not able to provide you with. We are so sad we couldn't ….. We want you to know that we love you and that no matter where you are you will always be in our hearts.

This is just a guess, others may come along and say I am on the wrong lines. The main thing is to be clear you support the adoption (even though at the same time wishing you could have kept her.)

Darciemae · 15/10/2019 20:48

Thankyou so much ❤️ Yes it’s for later in her teens I’ve photos of her n me feeding n changing her I hope I’ll be allowed to put in, we’re in court January and the birth mother misses contact it’s heartbreaking 💔 we all no the outcome already we’re hoping to get a goodbye vist as the birth farthest mother does as he’s not allowed near the child I’m waiting for solicitor to get in touch hopefully with good news of contact thankyou so much I appreciate it xx

UnderTheNameOfSanders · 16/10/2019 07:50

That sounds so difficult for you. have you seen the thread for birth parents on here? I don't suppose they'd mind a birth gran joining them.

Social Services should be able to give you some guidance on what to include. For example, you may want to include a section on how birth mum was as a child and how she ended up not being able to parent, as that probably won't be in any life story book. Something that gives 'context' to a teen. Maybe even hobbies and things and rhetorical questions such as 'I wonder whether you have found you are good at music too?'
Have you asked whether you can have yearly letterbox contact (especially if you feel birth mum may not be able to engage with it)? The APs won't want to be writing loads of letters but if this was 'instead of' BM or a kind of back up it may well be considered.
best wishes. Flowers

darkriver19886 · 16/10/2019 09:35

@Darciemae hi your welcome to come and join us and we can support you.

I still have to write a later life letter. Have you tried ringing PAC-UK action line?

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