The need for adoption support. Although adoption can provide stability and a loving family base for children who have experienced early adversity in life, nevertheless many children are likely to have ongoing support needs that must be addressed. Early intervention/preventative adoption support services should be considered and services aimed at adopted teenagers and their families need to be available.
Planning contact. The purpose and goals of contact should be clear and agreed by all relevant parties. Contact plans should be sensitive to the individual wishes, feelings, and strengths and difficulties of all parties.
Planning support for contact. When planning what support (if any) is needed to help make contact a success consider the following factors: risks to the child; relationships between the different parties and any support needed to facilitate these; support needed by adoptive parents and birth relatives to understand their role in contact; the management of boundaries in contact; the child’s involvement in contact and how to make contact relevant and positive for the child; dealing with the emotions of contact; managing practical issues. Consider using the contact planning and support model [link to this on resources page].
Reviewing contact. The child’s needs, wishes and feelings (and those of adoptive parents and birth relatives) are likely to alter over time and variations in contact to reflect this may be needed. A planned review of contact at intervals is likely to be beneficial to ensure that the contact is continuing to meet the child’s needs.
Meeting children’s needs when contact is not possible. Were no contact is possible with certain key birth relatives (for example birth fathers) consideration should be given to how the child can access information about this birth relative.
Managing social media. Preparation and support should be available to adoptive and birth families in managing the issue of unplanned contact via social media. The possible positive role of social media in supplementing other forms of post-adoption contact could be considered.
Review contact arrangements once the young person has reached the age of 18. Although legally adults, some adopted young people may not yet be ready to take on full responsibility for managing birth family contact themselves. Clarity about what will happen when the young person reaches 18 is important for all parties.