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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Simon Hackett

Greenhow, S., Hackett, S., Jones, C. & Meins, E. (2015). Adoptive family experiences of post-adoption contact in an Internet era. Child & Family Social Work 22(s1): 44-52.

Author(s) from Durham


In the UK, post-adoption contact between adoptive and birth families traditionally includes letterbox and/or face-to-face methods of communication. Because of the emphasis in the UK of adoption from the public care system, post-adoption contact is often supported and mediated by social work professionals. The growth in the use of e-communication, through for example social media, has created concerns regarding the use of such technologies for the purposes of ‘virtual contact’ following adoption. This paper reports the findings of a study of this emerging practice. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 adoptive parents and six adopted young people. Findings suggest that virtual contact presents both challenges and opportunities for adoptive families. We conclude that virtual contact is complex, but with appropriate boundaries and consideration of different interests, can work well in some cases.