Letterbox or not

Report content

I would be interested in views on whether to write or not.

Have written once, years ago, no reply.

It's unlikely there ever will be a reply no matter how many times I write.

So, what benefit could there ever be for my ds? He was removed at birth. Contact stopped at 4 months.

I should state that if it were a two way thing I would be ok to write. I could see the benefit for my ds in later years.

I'm only interested in doing the right thing for ds.

Anyone pro writing, even in these circumstances? If so, why?

I guess I could tell coordinator I'd write upon receiving a reply from last letter?

4Be the first user to support this

The only advantage I can see is being able to tell DS later on that you did everything in your power to make contact work?

49 users have supported this.

I agree with kstar. Our LO was 'relinquished' at 2 days old and not seen since 2 months old. Birth mum didn't even do farewell contact meeting and both birth parents refused to meet with DH and I prior to placement. However, I will write letterbox every year and put a copy in LO's memory box. Then when LO is old enough to understand he can read through and see we have kept contact and acknowledged where he came from.

46 users have supported this.

Our daughter was in care from birth, and her birth mother declined letterbox. I've kept the door open for correspondence from her though, because I anticipate that my daughter will want information and knowledge about her (I do have photographs of birth mother, albeit from facebook, and information about her life, that I'm able to pass on to my daughter. Hopefully facebook will continue to be a useful tool in that respect, I can keep track of birth mothers movements as the years go by). I don't plan to put any focus on contact (or lack thereof), I certainly won't tell her that the opportunity was declined by her birth mother. Instead I'll take responsibility for the lack of ongoing contact (if my daughter expresses that it's something she'd have liked). Showing her a series of rejections in the form of unanswered letters isn't an option (because my daughter is SO not worthy of rejection, and I refuse to give her the impression that she is).

59 users have supported this.

You don't need to ask questions in the letters. We were adviced to not ask questions because of the risk of them not being answered. Write it like a summary of the child. What achievements they've had, they've started walking, talking, first day at school etc.Make it into a positive for you about how proud you are and a time to reflect on the past year. X

45 users have supported this.

I want to add that the child might also get angry with you that you have sent letters every year about them without their permission. It is a bit whatever you do might not be 'right' either way.

And the answer is really whatever you do is always good. When the child tries to argue later on you should say I did what I thought was in your best interest, you have the right to disagree.

53 users have supported this.

It's hard to know the right thing to do, as you can tell I don't think it's right to do it, but am looking for reasons I should. I don't want to get it wrong.

Knowing ds the way I do I honestly don't think he'd appreciate me writing about him and sharing his experiences. And yet I feel if we were to have replies I would be able to include him and we could write together. Somehow, writing about him without his knowledge or input feels wrong.

We do have photos of bps, of siblings, fc and look at these from time to time. We have direct contact with siblings which we both love. I'm happy, more than happy, for him to know where he comes from and I'm grateful he can have contact.

Sending a letter annually, with no chance of a reply, even though this was the agreement, feels wrong. I just can't seem to get past that.

69 users have supported this.

Can you ask him how he feels about it? A couple of years ago when middly would have been around 6/7 and had been dx ADHD I wanted to include it in the letter to bm. It was made very clear to me that this would not be allowed in case a) I upset bm and b) she wouldn't understand and would 'blame' me. I was not at all amused but did as was suggested by lb co-ordinator and asked middly what he'd like me to include. The answer was unequivocal. He didn't want me to tell them anything about him. No letter. SS weren't thrilled but it was his very clear decision. They still chase me every year. I discuss it with him every year. The answers always the same. No letter. This year though he did allow me to speak to sw and pass in that he was doing fine thank you.

54 users have supported this.

Thanks Donatella, I will discuss it with him, I suspect he'll give me a clear no too. But he may surprise me. If he's ok with it, then I will be.

Thanks, that's what I needed!

I have to ask in here, I know there's no point in asking family or friends, it would be a clear 'no, don't do it', and I really need informed views. X

5Be the first user to support this

I wasn't happy initially before we had LO to keep in contact. However, we have 2 BC and we write a letter every year at Christmas about their year and what they've done to send to family members who live far away who we may not see very often. So I just look at it like that.

What baffles me is we've been asked to start writing a letter to LO's birth sibling who is in long term foster care. She is only 3 and surely she won't be able to understand this?! So I do feel a little 'what's the point' with this.

43 users have supported this.

I think it probably makes more sense to be writing to a little girl of 3 so she grows up knowing that she has a sibling out there, than it does to write to a bm who is not showing any interest in the child.

49 users have supported this.

I think that if you said you would do it, just keep doing it. Often the birth parents are in no fit state to write letters - maybe they need help to write and aren't getting it. Maybe it's just something they are not capable of doing, either for emotional reasons or for physical/educational reasons. My girls' bm often doesn't write and it's because she needs help and no longer gets any - but I know she wants to know about the girls and I feel privileged that I can do this one thing. It shows everyone that I for one do the right thing - and not because I am getting anything back from it. That's not why I do it. I do it because I said I would and because I know the bm values the information and also I know that in the future, my girls cannot turn round and accuse me of being flaky. I did it, and I'm proud to have done it. My girls are now 14 and 15 and it's not too long til they can meet their bm - IMO it's good if she is up to speed with their lives, not living in some sort of fantasy land about them. And my girls are also under no illusions - they know she doesn't write and they have had help from post adoption support about this over the years. They know what she's like because she doesn't write - again, they are not going to have illusions shattered later on when they meet. The bm won't be able to say to them "I didn't write because your mum didn't write to me" and they believe it, because the evidence will all be there for them to see - letters three time a year from me, with photos, and nothing from her. Writing allows YOU to take control of the 'relationship' - if you don't write you are giving some of this up I think.

47 users have supported this.

I'm in the middle on this (spoken as someone who did write but lapsed when girls moved to special school.) I think I felt guilty that I couldn't 'make' them manage mainstream.

If I asked my girls, pound to a penny, one would say write and the other would say don't.

Also, I don't really think it's up to the children. For me, I don't think they are aware enough of the ramifications and how they may feel differently as they get older.

I do agree that by continuing to write it shows that I am the bigger person, and do feel bad that I have lapsed. Also, I did get 1 reply 1 year, BM was amazingly grateful for the artwork and copies of school work that I had sent. I always sent my favourite photos too.

That's another thing - I take less photos now that they are older as they are both reluctant to have them taken.

There's my new challenge. Will do it this year, with photos!

34 users have supported this.

I write every year, and have had a couple of replies from grandparents, not from birth patents.

I always tell the boys I'm writing and ask if they have anything to add. If they actively objected, I would just send a note explaining that.

But, I don't know what you should do. It depends on how letterbox affects you and what your children think about it. I don't think it's worth putting yourself through a very stressful experience in case it might be a slight benefit to the children one day!

Maybe after all our children ate grown and someone can do a study on the long term effects if letterbox, the next batch of adopters will benefit from what we've learned. But, right now, I feel like this is an experiment, and nobody knows whether it will turn out to be a good idea!

56 users have supported this.

Yes REM, that's exactly how I feel. Our home study SW even said to us that 20 years ago it was different, and in 20 years time the theorists will be saying something different again.

Kipper has not been cared for by his BM since he was just weeks old, and contact stopped at 9 months. We write , but like you Sooz, she doesn't write back.

I do wonder if he will feel some sort of invasion of privacy when he is older and learns that letters and photos of him have been sent to a total stranger.

His BM hasn't written back.

I hope that if the theory changes in 20 years time then it will be to acknowledge that every child is different, and every child's history and needs are different and its not one size fits all - which is what it seems to be now.

28 users have supported this.

And I agree as well. One of ours came with a no contact order and was placed with us at 5 months. Sw very experienced, very down to earth no nonsense type. We did discuss in great detail why contact was appropriate and when his half sib came with the idea of lb we had to relook at it. We did one letter but the agreement was that bm had to ask for it. She'd not cared for either baby and walked away from contact prior to placement. Bm did a runner to another LA where she popped out another one. She didn't keep that either. My other son - the one with lb contact - has made his own choices. He's had therapy, therapeutic lifestory work and contact was discussed in therapy. He was equality adamant with the therapists that he did not want it. I do think it should be his decision, particularly when he was so vehement about it. It's his life, his story to tell. Or not. And that applies equally when it cones to sharing it with bps as it does sharing his story with anyone else in his life.

51 users have supported this.

I have PMed you Sooz

52 users have supported this.

I have PMed you Sooz

32 users have supported this.

Woohoo, pm received, thanks larsti, will reply later xx

56 users have supported this.

Well I asked him, and yes, he does want me to write. So that's that little dilemma sorted.

I'm actually pleased, he was very clear. I can now write with peace of mind :)

Thanks guys, all your replies were very helpful x

42 users have supported this.