Birth family & letterbox contact

Children placed for adoption often retain contact with people from their past, such as birth family members or foster carers.

This can be anything from an annual letter (letterbox) from the adoptive family detailing the child’s progress and development, to the child meeting members of their birth family in person from time to time.

Contact can be with birth parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles, or any other significant connection to the child’s birth family. They may also have contact with former foster carers or with siblings who have been adopted elsewhere.

When a child is adopted the agency and the adopters agree a contact plan, designed specifically for the child, outlining who they have contact with, how often and in what form.

The basis of any contact plan should always be what is best for the child. The contact plan can be changed after adoption if necessary.

The three main forms of contact are as follows:

  • Letterbox: the adoptive and/or birth family correspond at predetermined intervals, with cards and letters sent through the adoption agency
  • Telephone: the child/adopter has telephone contact with the person
  • Face to face: the child meets the person, usually accompanied by their adoptive parent and an intermediary from the adoption agency

More about letterbox

The frequency with which you exchange information via the Letterbox will be discussed and agreed on when the adoption is being planned and is usually once a year.

All information via letterbox is through our letterbox coordinator, who passes this on to the birth or adoptive parents to ensure confidentiality. We check everything that is sent via the Letterbox to make sure it doesn’t contain anything inappropriate (ie your address).

Who can use the Letterbox?

The Letterbox service can be used by anyone who has been important in the life of an adopted child, so long as it will be helpful to continue written contact. This can be any relative including birth parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

How is letterbox set up

This is agreed once you have been matched with your child. Your social worker will work with you to put together an agreement that is in the child’s best interests.

Contact details

Contact South Gloucestershire Council's adoption team on
01454 866088


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