Every summer I write a letter to our children’s birth family and siblings about how little Miss is doing. This is currently the only contact she has with them. Some children have face to face contact with their birth family but it was decided exchanging letters was best for little Miss and her sister. This year is the first update I’ve done about both children.
So much has happened in all of our lives in the last 12 months. Last summer, we were on what felt like an endless wait for our DBS checks to come back. It felt like we were never going to tick all of the boxes we needed to be approved for baby sister.
I find writing the update very hard. It’s difficult knowing how to get the tone right. I want to tell birth family how amazing our children are, but I don’t want that to come across as bragging about our parenting skills. I’m not. Our parenting skills are pretty average. So I tend to keep it factual about likes, dislikes, milestones and developments.
One of the purposes of the letter is to update birth family. But the most important reason for doing it is for our children. It shows them we’ve kept in touch with their birth family.
That’s why it’s so important that letterbox contact is 2 sided. Unfortunately for our children, we’ve not had any response from birth parents.
That’s sad for our children, but also for birth family. They haven’t taken the opportunity to join in. I make no criticism of them for that. Writing the update is daunting and difficult for me. I imagine it’s a lot harder for them.
I’ve had a lot of experience of writing letters and documents. From what I’ve read about birth family, they probably haven’t. Writing a letter by hand to people you probably feel will judge you must be really hard. Not everyone has access to a laptop to type it.
I suspect the reason they haven’t responded is because they don’t know how to. In an ideal world, social services would have all the funding it needed to help the most vulnerable in society. That help would include supporting birth families to maintain indirect contact.
I don’t know exactly what happens, but I presume our update is sent to birth family with a covering letter as that’s what we get. The covering letter probably tells them they can reply if they want to. I doubt very much it offers any help with how they can do that.
Our youngest daughter’s permanence report states all parties will be offered support with writing contact letters. We haven’t had any offer of help or support so I suspect birth parents won’t have either.
I’d love to hear your experience of contact letters, particularly from birth parents. Do you get offered any guidance or help with writing it? Does anyone?
Learning about their history is likely to be difficult for any adopted child as they grow up. I think reading letters from birth parents would really help them understand things a bit more.