Letterbox guidance for birth families

As your child gets older, they might want to know how you are and what you are doing. Here is our advice for keeping in touch using our Letterbox service.

Please address your letter to the adoptive family – they will share the information with your child. If your child is too young to read, they will be glad to hear news about you as read to them by their adopted parents. It will be news shared by everyone and it is an opportunity to build a good relationship with your birth child’s adoptive family.

Respond to some of the things the adoptive family has shared with you in their letter, for example, your child may have started school, learned to swim or joined a club; say how pleased you are to hear about these things. You can talk about some of the interests you had when you were the same age as your birth child.  Perhaps you were very good at swimming or belonged to a club such as Brownies or Cubs?

You can write about your current interests and hobbies, for example:

You can talk about your friends and family members, for example, have there been any special family events that you could talk about such as a birthday, an anniversary or a wedding? You can talk about any trips you have made or holidays you have been on.

You can include any news that you feel will be of interest. If a letter feels hard to write, start off with a card and write inside it.

Whilst you will always be the child’s birth parent or birth relative, please remember to sign the letter using your first name only and also date the letter. It will confuse your birth child if you put “Mummy/Daddy”. It may feel really hard, but they will know their adoptive parents as Mum and Dad, and you will be known by your first name. They will know you as their birth Mum or birth Dad.

Please do not put your address or telephone number in the letter or mention where you live or any places you visit on a regular basis.

We understand that letterbox contact can be difficult. It is understandable that you will feel emotional and angry at times. Please try to avoid expressing your feelings in your letter as it is hard for a child to understand and they will worry. This will also prevent your letter from being forwarded on and shared with your birth child.

If letters are deemed to be outside of the set guidelines, the letterbox team may need to contact you to offer help / support.

Please do not request items that are not part of your letterbox agreement, for example, photographs. Gifts will only be exchanged if this was agreed as part of your agreement at the time of the adoption.

If you move and change your address or telephone number, please put it on a separate piece of paper for the Letterbox Team and they will update your record on the system. Alternatively, you can telephone to notify the Letterbox Team of any changes.

Please remember to reply to your letters in good time we give you one month from when you have received your letter to reply. As this helps keep the service running on time, and some adoptive families will only accept contact letters within the agreed time frame. If you are not able to send your letter in time given, please get in touch with us and we will be able to support you and liaise with the adoptive family.

What happens if I don’t get my letter?

If a letter off the adoptive family has not been received in the agreed month, we send the adoptive family a second and third reminder offering them support asking them if there is a reason for not complying with the arrangements.

We know this may be difficult for both parties, but we actively encourage both sides to write. We would urge birth families to carry on writing their letters, which will be sent onto the adoptive family and copies made for the adoptive child’s file for future. This will show your commitment to Letterbox and that you are always thinking of your birth child. It could just be that the family are dealing with a life event and they will write again when things settle down.

Urgent news

If you have relevant urgent news (such as illness or death) regarding a birth family member that you feel needs passing onto the Letterbox Team before the agreed contact time, please do get in touch to discuss this.

Contact our Letterbox service by phone, post or email:

North Wales Adoption Service
Letterbox Contact Team
3rd Floor Lambpit Street
LL11 1AR

Telephone: 01978 295311

If you’re interested in adoption, need additional support, or just want to ask us some questions, we’d love to hear from you.

You can also speak to an adoption worker for an informal chat, and we can then send you an information pack.

0800 085 0774