Contact with a birth child

Birth families and adopted children

We are looking closely at how we can support contacts between birth family and their adopted children in these challenging and ever-changing time because we recognise how important it is for the child to have this contact with their birth family.

In the past there has been a lot of secrecy surrounding adoptions but this has changed. Today, it is considered more beneficial for the child to grow up knowing about their birth family and origins and for adoptive parents to encourage this.

Adopters will appreciate that children will potentially come from a wide range of experiences, cultures, heritages, and religions. An adopted child may be part of a larger sibling group that has been separated, or their birth parents may go on to have more children who may also need to be adopted either by their siblings’ adopters or new adopters. Either way, there may be some sort of post-adoption contact between the sibling group.

All adopters have training in the importance of talking with an adopted child about their origins and supporting contact with their birth family if this has been agreed.

Many adopted children have clear, valuable memories of their birth families, previous carers and relatives. Contact with these people may help the adoption be more successful.

As part of arranging an adoption, we have to consider what contact will take place between the child and the birth family. These arrangements vary, depending on what is considered to be in the child’s best interest.

We cannot promise to do as you wish, but your child’s social worker will certainly consider your wishes.

Direct contact

This is face-to-face contact between agreed members of the birth family and the child and only happens when the child has a positive relationship with the member or members of the birth family, who must be in agreement with the plan for adoption and be able to support the adoptive placement.

Direct contact will only be agreed if this is felt to be in the best interests of the child.

Indirect contact

This involves birth families and adoptive families sharing information by an exchange of letters at agreed intervals, usually once or twice a year. This is known as a letterbox service.


If you don’t want to be contacted

You can use the Adoption Contact Register to say that you don’t want to be contacted.

Tell your agency and register a veto if you don’t want to be approached by an intermediary agency.

More information about intermediary agencies and registering a veto can be found at GOV.UK – Adoption records.