Adopted children have often lost everything they’re familiar with. Staying in touch with siblings and other birth family members (and other people who were important in their earlier life such as foster carers) can be incredibly important to their emotional wellbeing and sense of identity. For this reason, contact with birth family is increasingly common.  

Contact can either be direct (in person) or indirect (via letters, mediated by the placing adoption agency). So-called ‘letterbox contact’ with birth family is extremely common. Where children have siblings in other placements, it is highly likely their Adoption Order will include some degree of contact with each other – either direct or indirect.  

It is very rare for the courts to decide to grant direct contact between adopted children and their birth parents, due to the circumstances which led to the children being removed. Without this being part of the adoption order, it is illegal for birth parents to seek them out until the child is at least 18 years old.  

However, many adopted children are curious to meet birth parents and other birth family members before they are 18. Social media makes it more likely that this will happen, and adoption agencies are trying to take a more proactive approach to supporting children and young people as they explore their identity and help them prepare for possible direct contact at some point.