The Black Adoption Project – creating better futures for Black adopted children in London

Birth Family

For birth parents and family relatives your journey is often one that is challenging and sometimes unexpected.  You may struggle to manage feelings, and decisions that are out of your control. This can have a huge impact on your life. Support and understanding is paramount and we want to help connect you to the advice available.

Contact the Adopt London Letterbox Teams

Adopt London operates Letterbox arrangements for indirect contact between adopted children and birth families where this has been agreed at the time the child was placed with an adoptive family, for the 24 individual London Boroughs who make up Adopt London.

The contact details for the Letterbox Coordinators in the following Adopt London Regional Adoption Agencies are as follows:

Adopt London North manages the letterbox for six local authorities; Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey and is hosted by Islington. Call: 020 7527 4777 or Email: [email protected]

Adopt London East manages the letterbox for four local authorities; Barking & Dagenham, Newham, Tower Hamlets and is hosted by Havering. Call: 01708 432589 or Email: [email protected]

Adopt London West manages the letterbox for four local authorities; Brent, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hounslow and is hosted by Ealing. Call: 07711 384 716/ 07710 114 749 or Email: [email protected] / j[email protected]

Adopt London South manages the letterbox for ten local authorities; Croydon, Greenwich, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Richmond, Sutton, Wandsworth and Southwark. Email: [email protected] or call: 020 7525 1376

Advice and counselling for birth parents

If you are a birth parent who is facing court proceedings and you are concerned that your child may be adopted, you are entitled to advice and counselling to help you through this very difficult time.

You can contact PAC-UK  who offer a completely independent service called First Family, that can provide advice and counselling, or you can ask your child’s social worker to refer you to PAC-UK they will then make contact with you. You can call them on 07975 846 249 or email [email protected]

PAC-UK’s First Family Service has its own Action Line that can help:

  • Give you information about adoption and let you know how other parents like yourself feel.
  • Offer advice on where you may be able to get help with practical problems.
  • Get the best from Letterbox arrangements that may be made for you to maintain contact with your child, including helping you to write a letter.
  • Listen to your story and how you are feeling about your child, to help make sense of what has happened and help you to rebuild your life.

If your child was adopted in the past, you can still contact PAC-UK for advice and counselling. They understands the lifelong impact that adoption can have for birth parents.

The Family Rights Group

If your family is involved with children’s services, or you need help or advice about any aspect of the court proceedings, you might find the Family Rights Group helpful.

They are a charity that works with parents whose children are in need, at risk or in the care system and with wider family who are raising children unable to remain at home. They advise parents, grandparents, other relatives and friends about their rights and options when social workers or courts make decisions about their children‘s welfare. They campaign for families to get their voice heard, be treated fairly and get help early to prevent problems escalating.

Telephone freephone 0808 801 0366, go to their website www.frg.org.uk or contact them via Twitter and Facebook @FamilyRightsGp

For more information about birth parents’ rights, please look at the Government website under Child Adoption – Birth Parents: Your Rights .

Inspirational Birth Mum

One birth Mum talks openly about the many ways that Family Rights Group has helped her, and others like her by encouraging and supporting them to find ways to tell their stories, and to use their voices to raise awareness.

One of the ways in which birth Mum Angela Frazer Wicks has found her voice is through poetry.

Arms full of presents, cards and wrapped toys. Beautiful gifts for my beautiful boys. Trying to squeeze the rest of our lives. Into 45 minutes and oh how it flies.

Hugs and kisses enough to last years. Singing songs and fighting back tears. Saying I love you over and over. Holding my babies closer and closer.

Breathing their smell and hearing their laughter. As they head off to their happily ever after. Carrying them to the car of a stranger. Smiling all the while feeling the traitor.

This is not what I want but I have to pretend. I have to smile like this isn’t the end. I have to give them one last happy memory. I want this to be the way they remember me.

I want them to leave without having to worry. About what’s left behind and what happened to mummy. Pretend there’s not a huge hole in my heart. Hide the fact that I’m falling apart.

Hoping I will find the strength to carry on. As I watch them drive away until they’re gone. Then I fall to the floor and my heart breaks in two. How do I move on from this I don’t have a clue?

But move on I must because I made them a promise. I have to find a way through this darkness. With tentative steps I make changes and find. That my past does not make my future defined.

I find strength bit by bit I find others who care. I begin to see that what happened wasn’t fair. I find ears that want to hear me and hearts to help me mend. They show me love compassion and kindness, they become a friend.

They show me that whatever happened I still have a choice. That I can use what has happened that I can still use my voice. That I don’t have to hide, to worry or feel ashamed. I can help other people I can bring about change.

And that’s what I’ve done with the grief and the pain. I’ve used my experiences to teach and to train. I’ve used my voice to speak for others to fight for those that suffer. I may not see my boys but I can still be their mother.

I can love with my fighting and teach with my actions. Our roots are the same we’re just different branches. They’re not out of mind they’re just out of sight. I won’t ever forget and I won’t stop the fight.

“If there is one thing I would like to take with you after hearing my story, it is the power of sharing. I never believed all those years ago that I would be standing here now talking to you all now, that I would be proud of what I have overcome and not ashamed of what I went through. Telling our stories breaks the stigma surrounding the issues so many of us are facing every day. We must speak out, show that we are not ashamed, that we are survivors. Our stories are our superpower.” by Birth Mum – Angela Frazer-Wicks.

Advice for expectant birth parents who are thinking about adoption

Many people may have doubts and worries about looking after babies.  This is a natural feeling but for some people, they find that it can help them to talk their worries and their options through with someone.  Some mothers may believe that they are not in a position to care for the baby they are carrying and may wish to talk about relinquishing their child, which means giving their child up for adoption voluntarily. If this is something you wish to just have a discussion about, or think through with someone, contact your local authority and ask to speak to a social worker about adoption.

You can get advice from a children’s social worker in your local authority who will refer you to Adopt London for counselling if you live in one of the 24 Adopt London Boroughs. You can also speak to PAC-UK for advice and information.

Do you want to speak to someone?

Let us help you to find the advice you need

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