Post Adoption Agreements
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTERThis chapter was developed/entirely revised in September 2012 and should be read in full.
1. Post Adoption Agreement Pack
- Pro Forma for Post Adoption Agreements;
- Guidelines for letter form adoptive parents to birth parents/ relatives;
- Example of letter from adopters to birth family;
- Guidelines for birth family/ siblings;
- Example of letter from birth family to adopters;
- The purpose of contact in permanence (see The Purpose of Contact in Permanence Procedure);
- Cognitive Appraisal of Contact in the Exploration of an Adoptee Adoptive Identity.
In most adoptions there will be some form of ongoing contact. This mostly takes the form of indirect contact, often called letterbox contact (an exchange of information, possible including photographs). This is managed by the Adoption Support Team.
To set this up, there is a written agreement made between the adopters and the birth family, which is on behalf of the child/ children who are to be adopted.
At the Placement Planning Meetings (PMPM), the pre-adoption contact arrangement form which will be given at the Meeting before the child is in placement. The form is to highlight what is required and to give everyone the opportunity to think about it.
After placement, there should be discussion between all parties to reach an agreement, which can be the basis of the contact post adoption agreement.
You need to decide how often the exchange of letters/photo will take place, e.g. 1 or 2 times a year, and what month and what the correspondence will be for the exchange.
Adopters and the birth family should be helped to understand the importance and implications of contact. The birth family need help to see it as positive and for the benefit of the child. There may be resistance from them as you are asking them to sign an agreement. They can see it as signing their consent to the adoption. Try and do it at a different time, e.g. not at the same time as signing any consent with regards to the adoption. If they have a solicitor, they may help them to understand the benefits of contact. Produce it as a separate piece of work. Help them see letterbox contact in a positive way.Birth relatives can find it very daunting to write a letter, for a number of reasons:
- Loss - grieving - feelings of anger;
- Limited understanding;
- Limited ability to write.
If they are able to work through this and write letters on a regular basis it will be a real benefit to the adopted child.
If they fell unable to write a letter, this should not be a deterrent, they can get assistance. The Letterbox Exchange Co-ordinator is available to help and you can make a referral or contact the Co-ordinator at the Adoption Support Service for advice.
When you have the relevant paperwork, i.e.
- The signed Post Adoption Agreements;
- Front sheet with names and addresses of adopters and birth family, names of social workers and any other information;
- The CPR.
Send these to the agency at Welwyn Garden City. A file will be set up and given a reference number, PAA and then held as a record for all future exchange of correspondence.Included in the pack are examples of Post Adoptions Agreements, letters, leaflet and guidelines for writing letters. They are guidelines only: you need to adapt them to fit individual requirements.
2. Post Adoption Contact
If there is to be Post Adoption Contact of any sort (including exchange of information only) the Adoption Administrator should be asked to set up a Post Adoption (paper) file. In order to do this they will need a copy of the following from the child's social worker, sent in the child's adopted name:
- Child Arrangements Order (if appropriate);
- Copies of the Post Adoption Agreements;
- A list of the names of the social workers who have been involved in the adoption, and what there role was;
- A list of all participants in the agreement (and their addresses);
The information should then be sent to:
Adoption Support Service
PO Box 208
Welwyn Garden City
Tel: 01707 897654