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Meeting your child’s birth parents

Many adopters who have experienced direct contact talk about how worthwhile it was, for them and their child, despite their trepidation about coming face to face with their children’s birth parents.

Why meet the birth family?

A meeting with your child’s birth parents might be a once in a lifetime opportunity:

  • To fill in some of the gaps in your child’s history.
  • Find out little details that no one else can know.
  • Maybe most importantly, it will enable you to, at some point in the future, give your child a fuller picture of their birth parents.

Support from professionals

It is very important to have a social worker with you when you have your contact meeting.

They will facilitate and support the meeting. You should also take the opportunity to prepare properly and to talk to the social worker beforehand.

Several adoptive parents also recommend taking a camera and asking the social worker to take a picture of you together, as this is a tangible keepsake to pass on to your child.

Questions to ask birth parents

We’ve made suggestions, below, of some questions you might want to ask when meeting your child’s birth parents.

Not all of these questions will be suitable. For example, it might not be appropriate to ask birth parents about their own lives.

Discuss what you want to know with your social worker before deciding what questions to ask, and try to be sensitive to the birth family’s situation.

Pregnancy and birth

  • What was the pregnancy like?
  • What was the birth like?
  • Who held the baby first?
  • How much did he/she weigh at birth? <end bulleted list>

Babyhood

  • When did he/she first talk?
  • How did they sleep? Was there something special you did to get them to sleep?
  • Did they have a comfort blanket or a favourite soft toy? Did they use a dummy?
  • What were his/her first words?
  • Who chose his/her name and why?
  • What was he/she like as a baby?

Family life (if appropriate)

  • Do they have any particular happy family memories or family holidays they can talk about?
  • Do they have any funny stories about him/her?
  • Did the child have strong relationships with any extended family members – grandparents, aunts etc?
  • Are there any special family traditions, e.g. at Christmas? <end bulleted list>

Inheritance

  • Do they look like anyone else in the family?
  • Where do they get their eyes/nose/hair colouring from?
  • If they have a special talent – is this something that runs in the family?
  • Are there any special hidden talents in the family?
  • Are there any particular jobs/trades that family members have been involved in?
  • Are there any inherited illnesses?
  • Does anyone in the family have any allergies?

Birth parents

  • How did you meet each other? Do you have any contact now?
  • What music do you listen to?
  • What do you like doing?
  • What are your favourite TV programmes?
  • What films do you like?
  • What sports teams do you support?
  • What is your favourite food?
  • What are your hopes for the child?
  • How do you feel about the adoption now?
  • Is there anything you want the child to know as they grow up?

Further information and resources

If you have questions or concerns about meeting birth parents that you'd like to discuss why not contact our Helpline?

Alternatively, you can post a question on our Forums. Here are some existing threads on the topic: