It’s July and the reminder to complete our annual letters contact drops through the post. I don’t need a reminder. I’ve been thinking about these letters for weeks, writing them in my head over and over again. I know they’re important - not just for the birth family but also for our daughter to show her that we are happy to keep in touch. But I’m somehow unable to put pen to paper.

I think about telling birth family about our daughter’s infectious giggle or the amazing cuddles she gives. But I know that will be painful, as these things are off limits to them. I think too, of how I want to share the struggles our daughter is having. The countless appointments we attended this year; the endless battle to get a diagnosis and the relevant support for her. But I know that’s too much information, may come over as ungrateful and perhaps accusatory (we’re pursuing an FASD diagnosis).

I think of how the pandemic has been so hard for our daughter - a child who thrives on routine and who has had all her routines interrupted at various points as we went through periods of lockdown and isolation. All of this on top of the usual anxieties that I will give away something that will reveal our location in the country, or some other personal details.

Eventually I fire up the laptop and open last year’s letters. Update them with information from the last year – like our daughter’s new hobbies, what she did for her birthday and how she’s getting on with things like reading and writing. But it still doesn’t feel very personal. Then I remember her school report, which really does sum up the wonder of our girl. I hope the snippets I’ve included make them as proud as I feel.

So now 2021 letters are complete, and I can relax for another year. I know we will hear back from one birth relative, might hear from another (but not at the agreed time) and almost certainly won’t hear from the other. Perhaps they agonise and procrastinate just as much as I do?