Friday, 14 September 2012

Postal strike - no more letterbox

Back in April I wrote about communication – specifically letterbox contact with Mini’s birth parents.
Click here for that blog post. I’d been having doubts about whether to continue with contact, and had emailed the Letterbox co-ordinator about my doubts. I was reminded then that Letterbox is important – it keeps lines of communication open, it allows the child comfort knowing that their birth parents are OK…all sorts of reasons. I wasn’t convinced then, but a few weeks after I’d written, we did receive an out of the blue reply which provided some useful medical information. That response made me happier, made me more comfortable writing, made Letterbox seem worthwhile and I resolved to continue.

Now it’s that time of year again and I’ve written letters to each of Mini’s birth parents. They are the usual mix of information about achievements and information about Mini’s problems – how he’s anxious, how he worries, how he expresses his anxieties…
But the last paragraph explains that we’ve made the decision to stop writing because we don’t feel it’s currently in Mini’s best interests – he has no interest in them, he is struggling to accept he’s part of this family so why would we continue to remind him about his other family?, he often shuts down and doesn’t want to hear anything about them. In addition, he’s expressly asked me to stop writing to them.

I’ve kind of wrestled with this a bit, because I do still believe it’s important that lines of communication are available for him. And until now, Mini hasn’t had the understanding to make a decision about whether we write or not , in fact, I’m still not sure that he understands enough. And I kind of feel sorry for his birth mother…if it was me, I’d want the letters and I’d want to know my child was OK. And to be honest, Social Services did lay a bit of a guilt trip on me when I talked about stopping last time.

But I’ve talked/tweeted to a few other adopters, and a couple of them also stopped letterbox. And I’m sure it’s the right thing for us to do now too. Apart from anything, whether Mini really understands a)letterbox and b)his feelings about it, he has still asked me to stop and I don’t want to defy him. And I can ask him occasionally whether he wants to re-start it again, and he can make the decision as and when.

I can’t just stop, because I also need to make a point to Social Services. I need them to know that I’ve actively made this decision, not just forgotten. And I need them to know I’m serious about carrying it through. And I also want them to know my reasons so that if Birth Mum questions where her letters are, they can back up my reasons for stopping.

So I’ve done it, I’ve emailed my letters with a covering message, and I expect to hear back from them soon, asking me to re-consider. I think now, I feel stronger about this all, and having sent the email now I feel quite empowered (though a bit of me feels sad for birth mum). But I’m fairly certain our PAS worker will back me up, and I know our CAMHS therapist’s feelings too.

One less thing to worry about.


  1. It's a tough decision and one that has to be made on individual circumstances. I find writing letterbox difficult, especially seen as though we hardly ever get replies. My boys don't seem that fazed by it and like to tell me things they'd like included. We also write to an older brother they were in care with so they include pictures and cards for him. However if it ever seemed to be something they didn't want to do I wouldn't force their involvement and would need to consider the importance of continuing my part. We make these decision for the good of our children so well done for being strong and choosing to do the best for Mini.

  2. The whole letterbox concept is a tough one. We write to various family members of Katie's and we get a response from one of them. That response is very useful and informative and a good relationship between us have been forged but we've never had a reply from BM and I do question about keeping that contact going. At the moment Katie doesn't know that we have letterbox contact and this is an issue we need to raise. I'm going on a training course at the beginning of Oct and hope to get more information and more to think about regarding all this. I applaud your decision to stop primarily because Mini has asked you to. This is information about him and he should be in charge of that. I also understand the confusion it is causing him. We, too, have been questioning that since our whole life story book issue raised it's head. I've just said in your more recent post about theraplay that it is difficult to go against the norm re parenting and SS advice but I think we are all slowly doing that and it's great we can support each other in that as well.