Can you stay in touch with your child if your child is adopted?

Types of contact after adoption (also called post adoption contact)

There are different ways you may be able to keep in touch with your child:

  • Indirect contact - this includes letters, cards, gifts, photos between you and your child delivered by a social worker or adoption agency. It is sometimes called 'letter box contact'.

This is a way in which you can get information about and maintain links with your child after they have been adopted. This information will not usually come directly from your child or the adopters but through a social worker who will pass the information to you.
It may also be agreed that you can send information to your child indirectly, if this is right for your child. This way of keeping in touch can be distressing so it is important you ask for, and get, support to make this work well for your child, for you and for your child's adoptive family.

  • Direct contact - this includes face to face or telephone contact between you and your adopted child.

It is unusual for family members to have direct contact with a child who has been adopted but it does happen occasionally. It is very important that if there is direct contact, it does not cause any disruption or disturbance to your child's life with their adoptive family. If it does the contact is likely to be stopped.
If you want to stay in touch, you tell the social worker and the Adoption Panel as soon as possible so that the panel members can think about this when they match your child's needs with prospective adopters.

Sometimes a plan for you to stay in touch with your child is agreed directly with the adopters. The social worker is normally involved in arranging this. If this happens in your case it is a very good idea to get the agreement written down and included in the beginning of the adoption order in case anyone changes their mind later on.

If contact is not agreed, you may be able to apply to court for a contact order at the adoption hearing, but you need to ask the court for permission to do this. If you are allowed to apply, the final decision about whether or not you can stay in touch with your child if they are adopted will be made at the adoption hearing. This decision should be based on what is best for your child as well as the wishes of your child's adoptive family.