Friday, October 4, 2013

Letterbox

I've done it!  And only four days late!  Letterbox contact letter is winging its way digitally to the appropriate local government employee even as I write.

I blogged a while ago about the issues I have with maintaining birth family contact.  It's not that I am against contact per se, but I strongly believe that this contact shouldn't be initiated or carried on without the active consent of the adopted child.  It feels completely wrong to me that I am writing to OB's birth family about him while he is, as yet, too young to have any say in what is written, or even whether a letter is written at all.

Of course when he is older, he will be able to say whether he wants these letters to be written or not, and to have some input into what is written, but he won't be able to unsend or unsay what has already been done.  This is one of many areas where I feel that the birth family and not the child are given more consideration in decision-making.

I have close relatives that I no longer see and I would be very unhappy if I found that people I trusted had been writing to them regularly, updating them on details of my life.  My preference would be that contact is not initiated until the child is able to ask for it.  In our case, I would imagine that by the time next year's letterbox comes around, OB will be in more of a position to participate to some extent.  At the moment, as a 2-year-old who hasn't seen anyone from his birth family for well over a year, the whole thing completely passes him by and I feel like I'm talking about him behind his back.

But, I have signed a contract (there didn't seem to be any choice in that) so I've written the letter.  I've not been looking forward to it, and in fact I've put it off over and over again during the last month but actually, when I got down to it, it wasn't so bad.  I think I put my teacher's head on somewhat as it does read rather like a slightly chatty school report.

In some ways it's been rather nice to think back over the past year and remember all the things we've done together and all the progress that he's made.  A year is a long time in the life of a toddler, so there's been plenty to write about.

And now we wait to see if there's a response . . . .

7 comments:

  1. Hey Suddenly Mummy, I agree with the point you make about letter box contact being more about the birth families needs than the child's initially. When they are older they may dislike that info was shared. However I do think that when our girls are older I would like them to know that I have kept in contact and upheld my part of the contract to keep their birth family up to date. Time will tell I guess....lol! I hope you get a reply and if you do it is pleasant and informative. Keep us posted!

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    1. Yeah, I also want to do the 'keeping my side of the bargain' thing - once you've made the agreement you can't very well just not do it! But part of me does wish I'd never had to make it in the first place.

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    2. We have just done our first letterbox letter and it was a bizarre feeling. It did seem odd to do something seemingly for the benefit of the BPs. However, we kept holding on to the comments the trainers gave at our Prep Days about how important it can be for the child in later years that you:a) showed dedication and consistency - something most BPs don't - and that this can feed in really well in teen years to an understanding of who is/dependable and to be valued as "real" parents, and b) that you treated the BPs with the respect that you continued to write regularly as agreed, again feeding into an understanding that you have always had the child's best interests at heart. There were a few other things which they said but these were the main two messages, particularly in the context of many BPs drifting away from contact or never writing in the first place.

      Anyway, we found that reassuring to hold onto and I suspect we will continue to do so...

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  2. Contact has already been a bit of minefield for us - and that is before we have even met the boy. Court advised twice yearly contact with birth parents and both older siblings (not in contact with birth parents either) - we after a bit of argument and support from our SW got agreement at MP for it to be just once yearly for parents. Suspect one of sibling contacts may get reviewed quickly due to what has been said so it may go down to only having to write 3or 4 letters a year rather than 6....

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    1. Urrgghhh - you have to write separate letters for everybody?! Nightmare! We have contact with two birth family members but I just write one general letter and then the co-ordinator gets it sent on.

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  3. I am just about to do our first one too - and have mixed feelings too and think we have several letters to do too. no idea how it works. yet.

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  4. I dread letterbox, and in fact, am seriously behind again with it. We never get any response from mum or grandma, more recently however someone did help older sibling send something.My boys do like me doing it so I need to just get on with it. I need a bit of a kick up the backside for this, you might have just given it me, thanks.

    Thanks for linking to the Weekly Adoption Shout. x

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