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Contact between adopters and birth relatives

Adoption is far more 'open' now and it is generally accepted that links with significant family members can be a positive experience for all involved.

Research has shown that where contact works well, the child grows up having a more realistic view of their birth relatives. It encourages greater openness about adoption and the adoptive placement is more likely to be successful.

Keeping in touch with birth relatives can help young people understand their origins. It may also make it easier to come to terms with their personal history, providing them with a sense of continuity in their lives, helping the child to become fully attached to their adoptive family.

In some cases, it may be helpful for a child to have face-to-face contact with a birth family member who supports the adoption, and we will help with these arrangements.

There are two types of contact which can help adopted children keep in touch with their birth families:

  • direct contact – arranged face-to-face meetings
  • indirect contact – through letters and referred to as letterbox contact and is the most common form of contact for adopted children

For further information download leaflets for birth relatives (pdf 36Kb) and adopters (pdf 408Kb)

Your social worker will also give you advice and information about how it works.