This week’s contact and life story interview is with Hayley. She shares how she and her husband manage contact and the types of things they have started to explore in terms of life story work with their young daughter.

Introduce yourself and your family

I’m Hayley, my husband Lee and I adopted our daughter when she was 10 months old. She is now three and a half. She’s our only child and certainly keeps us busy and entertained!

How often do you have contact with birth family? 

We have letterbox contact with birth mother and a sibling (who is also adopted) once a year

What kind of things do you include in the letters? Do you send anything else like photos or pictures drawn by your children? 

We tend to include lots of details in the letters about our daughter’s hobbies, for example, dance classes that she’s recently started. We say what her favourite music or films are. If we’ve been on any holidays, we talk about those and what she enjoyed doing on them. We keep the letters very generalised and never mention a specific area. We’ve never sent any photos.

Do you write the letters or does your child get involved too? 

At the moment I write the letters as she’s too young to understand. I may include her in the future but it depends on how she is dealing with all of the emotions of adoption and if she wants to be involved. It would be her choice.

Have you requested any help and support in connection with contact from your agency? If so, what sort of help did you receive? Did it do what you needed it to? 

We haven’t needed to contact our agency yet (our agency was Adoption Focus which you recently featured and they are amazing). Although we haven’t had to use their help regarding contact, I know they would be there to support us anytime we needed it.

Life story. A wooden hand holding up the branch of a tree
Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash

Do you get any replies from birth family or siblings? 

Unfortunately, birth mother has never replied to any of the letters. We had a response from her sibling the first time we wrote, but they haven’t replied to any further letters, which I find incredibly sad for our little girl.

When your child came home, did they have any memory of their birth family?

No memories at all due to her young age

If no, what age were they when you started life story work? 

We have always left our daughter’s life storybook lying around so she has constant access to it. She doesn’t yet understand what the contents mean, she just enjoys looking at photographs of herself. She’s familiar with the word adoption and knows that we adopted her but again she doesn’t really have an understanding of what that is. We’ll continue to look through her life storybook with her and even begin to read sections from it when she is a little older and can understand more.

Have you accessed any type of help or support with life story work?

Not yet but again I know Adoption Focus is always available should we need them

How has your child reacted to life story work?

So far her reactions are positive but it is very difficult for her to understand what has happened to her. There’s a picture of birth mum in her book and she knows the term birth mum but doesn’t understand the meaning yet.

We look through it with her and say all of these words at a young age so that they just become the norm for her. She’ll grow up with all of the terminology and can develop an understanding of her history easily.

Life story. A heart shape made from daisy flowers
Photo by Ursula Bergthal-Köck on Unsplash

If you enjoyed reading this article, why not buy me a coffee to help keep the magazine free for everyone to read? If you’d like to read more articles about adoption, health and well-being, and parenting, head over to the home page and have a look at what’s new.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here