After adoption post box service

Information for people who adopted a child through Newcastle Social Services

Since 1976, adopted people over 18 have had the right to get information from us about their birth and reasons why they were adopted. Before that, adoption used to mean that a child would have no more contact with their birth family. People thought it was best to make a fresh start in a new family.

We now know that stopping all contact between adopted children and their birth families can make a child anxious and confused, and their parents worried and upset. It can also make it more difficult for you to answer the child's questions about their background. It can leave large gaps in their lives and make them want to know more about where they came from.

Now we know this, we try and give as much information as we can. Children who know about their birth family and who can ask you questions about them when they like, usually feel comfortable about who they are and can settle better with you. That way, birth families can play an important role in the adopted child's life. We believe it helps you and the birth parents to write once every year after the adoption, through a 'post box' that we set up for you.

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What is the post box service?

The post box service is a way that you can keep in touch with the birth family without having to meet them or give them personal details, such as your address.

Regular letters help everyone keep up to date with changes. We would expect everyone to write once a year. However, every adoption is different and arrangements will be based on the needs of the child. When you adopt, we will agree with you when you will receive information; and how you will receive information. This is written down in an agreement and you and the birth parents will have a copy to keep.

You will send all your letters to our post box.

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What is the address?

Please address your letters to The Post Box Administrator at the Newcastle Adoption Service.

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What happens when I send a letter?

Our administrator keeps a record of when letters are sent and received. As the letters you send to us are sent to the birth parents, our administrator will read the contents to make sure that everyone is keeping to the agreement. Sometimes the social worker will need to check that what is written in the letter will not upset the birth parents. If everything matches the contact agreement, we will send the letters to the birth parents.

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How does it work?

The post box will only work if everyone sends their letter on time. You must tell our administrator if you move house, so we can send the letters to the right address. Remember to send your letters at least two to three weeks before the agreed time. We get so many letters that it can take time to send them on and we know how important it is to the birth parents to receive them.

If you are expecting a letter from the birth family, please remember that their lifestyles may prevent them from keeping to the arrangements. There are times when we do not have a forwarding address for birth families. However, we would encourage you to keep sending information as we can keep this on file for the birth family in the future.

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What can I send?

We will agree with you what you can send when you adopt. Here are some things you can send:

  • Letters
  • Photos
  • Cards
  • Drawings and paintings made by the child
  • Videos
  • Tape recordings

We will try our best to send items safely. We do not accept responsibility for items that get lost. Please don't send anything bigger than an A4 envelope. You should include a letter to our administrator with the child's name and your own name and address, so we know who the information is for.

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What do I write?

What to write can seem difficult at first. Its natural to feel uncertain and worried about sharing information with your child's birth family. We can advise you about what to write. If you need advice contact the Post Adoption Service at Newcastle Adoption Service.

The letter should give a positive picture. You should reassure the birth family that the child is loved and well cared for. A lot of what you write will depend on the child's age and circumstances. It is best to write down first names because it seems more friendly. If your adopted child's name has changed, it is best to use the new name from the start.

Remember, you are sharing information about the child with someone who cares about them. You should tell them about major changes in your family's life, for example any new brothers or sisters the adopted child may have. It may be helpful to the birth family if you can let them know that you have received letters, cards or photos they have sent.

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Example of a letter

Dear Lucy,

Thank you for your last letter. Here are some drawings Rebecca did at school. As you can see she is becoming quite a little artist. In the summer we had a caravan holiday in France and Rebecca enjoyed making lots of new friends. They rode scooters, got dressed up for discos and ate huge sticks of candy floss. Rebecca loved playing in the swimming pool.

Rebecca really enjoys her school and does very well in most subjects. She particularly likes art and English and all different kinds of sport. By the way, we have got a new puppy and Rebecca loves it.

Thanks again for your letter.

With best wishes Yvonne and Paul