Letterbox Help Required

Moderator: AfterAdoption

Letterbox Help Required

Postby trishrebel » Sun Mar 08, 2009 5:20 pm

Dear All,

We adopted our son aged 10+ years and initially were really pleased with how our lad's Mum was engaging with the letterbox and writing him really nice letters.

I have always written and sent loads of photos and we always send cards and gifts for mothers day and xmas. The first year he got nothing at xmas, the second he did and now the third again nothing. Even though shortly before xmas his mum phoned me on my mobile and we had a long talk and she promised she would get a card for him for xmas. (It's a long story how she got my no. but I am okay with that and said that I didn't mind if she phoned me once in a while). WE also discussed meeting up sometime soon through SS). So as you can see we are on good terms.

It's our lad's birthday soon and I have phoned SS and there is nothing again from mum, even though she mentioned his birthday in our phonecall.

I am writing to her again and it is quite difficult to put into words how hard it is getting him to write to her, if she doesn't write to him. I wonder whether I should leave it a while as she hasn't picked up the cards, school reports, photos, letters and gifts from SS for the last 6 months. I can't keep sending gifts up if she doesn't pick them up as they can't store them.

We don't have a proper LB agreement, we just write when we want to (2 and a half years and I am on letter 14)! Also, she can write when she wants to. It works for us.

SS can't get hold of her and I have tried her mobile a couple of times over the last week and it just says 'it has not been possible to connect your call'.

Any advice welcome please.

Best Wishes,

Trish
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Postby trishrebel » Sun Mar 08, 2009 5:29 pm

Forgot to add...

I wondered if I was sending things up too regularly but she is totally okay with our letters etc and is really pleased to hear from laddy and us too.
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Postby j-h-g-5 » Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:50 pm

Trish,

It is an impossible question to answer. You have done everything you can possibly do, and are led to believe that all your previous attempts have been received with open arms.

Now suddenly, she fails to respond, and you are wondering why? Simply, the problem is at her end. Perhaps she has some other difficulty that you are not aware of - she may be ill, away or perhaps have moved suddenly.

So... personally I would ask Social Social services to contact her - even trace to see if she has moved, and possibly formalize your contact agreement for the future.

People rarely disappear into thin air, and she will be out there somewhere, albeit likely with some difficulties perhaps.
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Postby trishrebel » Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:35 pm

Thanks jhg5 for your response, it's difficult not to post too many details but mum picks up our letters from SS (this is her decision she doesn't want them knowing her address), so the moving issue doesn't really make any difference.

As for tracing, I wouldn't want anyone sending SS round to my door and I'm certainly not going to do it to her! But I would feel differently if we traced her ourselves, it wouldn't be too hard as we are in touch with other family.

I really think she is going through some issues at the moment but I will keep writing even if laddy doesn't.

It is hard to know what to do for the best!

Thanks for your advice.

Best Wishes,

Trish
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Postby j-h-g-5 » Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:12 pm

In that case all you can do is to keep your side of this arrangement. Without proper detail, and an unwillingness to search further, all you can do is to hope that one day she picks up where she left off.

I imagine it is incredibly frustrating for you, but these open arrangements can make things this way, despite the fact it seems to have functioned well up until now, at least.

You say you are in touch with other family - presumably other birth family? I suppose it is not possible to enquire along that route? - unless I have misread what you wrote.

John
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Postby trishrebel » Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:36 pm

John,

Yes, we are in touch with other family (birth family), we describe them all as family as we are all linked but it is sometimes hard on here to let others know what part of that family you mean - IYSWIM. It works in our house anyway! I must add, personally I don't really like or use the term birth mother or family, only when I really have to.

Yes, our contact is very informal, we believe it works well for us and them as SS aren't involved and we sort things out ourselves when visiting, or phoning, texting etc. If mum was more reliable and our lad wanted it, we would see her too. SS are only involved with the letterbox with mum.

Thanks for responding to my ramblings!

Best Wishes,

Trish

P.S Have you ever had any 'adopter' asking for help to trace (birth) family? I might do one day...........
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Postby j-h-g-5 » Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:42 pm

In reply to your last comment, yes. Without going into detail, but more than once, believe it or not.

The same things would apply though. Three failed attempts at contact have to be taken as a refusal, for instance.

Most adopters would take the SS / Adoption agency route rather than attempt it by other means (when searching on behalf of the child), and this is quite often due to perhaps natural misgivings about who or what they may encounter at the end of the search.

However, when the adopted person is 18 or over, the adopter cannot then take the SS/Agency path anyway, as it is no longer their concern (technically - although not in reality). It then normally falls on the adopted person to either apply through said agency / SS or acquire adoption file and/or original birth certificate and attempt their own search.
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Postby trishrebel » Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:47 pm

Many Thanks John,

I have found tonight esp. helpful, your last post was very informative and it is good to know that we are able to do something positive if we need to.

Many Thanks for your time this evening.

Best Wishes,

Trish
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Postby mnenka » Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:37 pm

Hi,
It was interesting to read the P.S to your first post. On reading your first post, my thinking was that maybe your arrangement is too informal. LB is an arrangement between birth family and adoptive family, and there seems to be no real set rules, even though some local authorities seem to request a signed document!! Hardly binging legally, but morally….i won’t even go there.

Like its been said in the posts…maybe the issue is with what’s going on in birth mothers life, I have to say, 14 letters……!! That is a great deal of information…it almost seems a bombardment, and I don’t mean that in negative way. What happens if another birth relative wants a letter…..are you prepared to write another 14 letters??

I have a teenage adopted daughter, who at present does not want any involvement with LB to her birth mother (we use to call her tummy mummy, but this has been out grown now. My daughter prefers to call her by her first name) so being a stroppy teenager she flatly refuses to write. We actually do not receive letters brim birth mother…never have really, its one way. I know she is sent the letters, but for her own reasons does not reply. My daughter found this really difficult to cope with, and caused much disruption within my family. Its funny though, even though she will not send a letter…she does ‘vet’ mine to her birth mother. We agreed to this at the very beginning.

I have to agree with JHG5, you arrangement with birth mother sounds positive, but what happens when things go wrong…who is able to help?? If you feel able to exchange without SSD help, then this sounds quite fair. But my concerns would be if say another birth relative wants contact, or the family push for direct contact! SSD sometimes do get a lot of flack, but they can and do offer some good support. They can also act as the ‘go-between’ It was difficult for my daughter when her birth mother would not send letters, I had difficulty in trying to make her understand the possible reasons, so I called on SSD and asked for their help…have to say they were really supportive, even though my daughter did not engage fully.

My suggestion if I can make on would be to get SSD to try and engage your son’s birth mother. Doing this way, you are not then the target of your sons upset or anger if you fail to contact with his birth mother. And you know it could be just an over sight on your sons birth mothers part at not forwarding her new mobile number.
Best Wishes
M’nenka.
Born 1966, Found hours later. Adopted 1972. Placed veto 2005 (for no contact)
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Postby trishrebel » Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:48 pm

Hi M’nenka,

Thanks for your reply to my ramblings!

Yes, I know that there are issues with mum and we have to expect these disappearances but are left with the feeling there must be more we could do.

Don't worry about mum and the amount of letters etc, she's really happy to receive them all or else I wouldn't send so many, she has told me herself, SW's and other family members. She says that they really cheer her up.

I suppose it just helped to get it all down in writing and maybe think of a different plan.

Laddy understands his mum's issues but is at that difficult teenage phase where he can't be bothered to write but is very happy for me to, and he's great at picking out the photo's! :D

Yes our LB is very informal but it in most cases works for us, we don't need to sign an agreement which will then be filed and never seen again.

We do face to face with other family members which we sort out ourselves without SS, we go on hol's together too! I always keep SS in the loop and they are happy with our arrangements. TBH our arrangements work well as we do what we all want and feel comfortable doing without having to run it by SS first. Of course in the early days before we all got to know one another they were on the end of the phone for advice and feedback etc but now it's just visiting or talking to extended family, not like his family only but ours too, IYSWIM. We never did SS offices, all contacts have been unsupervised. We are now a larger family.

We realise our arrangemnts aren't suitable for all but we are happy with them and so is laddy, his losses aren't as great as some adoptee's as they are still around in his life.

Mum will write when she is able, I am sure of it and of course she can phone too. I am sure we will never lose touch completely.

Thanks for your response and sorry for rambling on again!

Best Wishes,

Trish

P.S My hubby is an adopter and adoptee too!
trishrebel
 
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Postby trishrebel » Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:22 am

Just to update:

It was our lad's birthday yesterday and he did in fact receive a lovely birthday card from his Mum, so all that worrying for nothing!!

Thanks for all your advice.

Best Wishes,

Trish
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