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Making contact: things to consider

Information about how to make contact, what might happen after contact is made, planning for the first meeting and having ongoing contact.

What might happen after initial contact has been made

Once you have made contact with the person you are searching for, the next step is to try and negotiate how the relationship will develop.

While many people involved in adoption anticipate that one day someone from their family may try to contact them, this is not always the case. There are many people who are not aware that they have other family members or never expect contact due to the length of time that has passed.

It is important to listen to how the person you have contacted is coping with the contact and let them set the pace. Contact does not necessarily mean that you have to meet soon after. There are various ways contact can occur.

Exchanging letters and photos

Many people exchange photographs and / or letters to begin with and may do this for some time before meeting. This can be a good way to get to know one another in a less confronting manner, while at the same time gaining important information about each other and also gaining a sense of each others’ expectations regarding contact.

This is also a good way to slow down so that the person you have found has time to gather their thoughts and feelings and can tell other members of their family about you before making a decision to actually meet.

Telephone calls

Some people have difficulty in expressing their thoughts and feelings in a letter and feel they are able to better portray these over the phone. While this is a more direct form of contact, it is still less confronting than an actual meeting while you are in the process of getting to know each other.

The phone provides a more immediate response and allows you to gather more detailed information about each other while also gaining a sense of how each of you feel about meeting and continued contact.

You should not feel obliged to make a time to meet when you first speak over the phone. You can suggest further calls or the exchange of letters and photos.


Many people are connected to the internet now and find this an easier and more immediate way of corresponding with others. Email also allows you to learn more about each other and exchange photographs while maintaining some level of privacy until you are ready to exchange addresses and telephone numbers.

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Last updated: 24 Sep 2019