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The maintenance of traditional and technological forms of post-adoption contact.

Greenhow, S. and Hackett, S. and Jones, C. and Meins, E. (2017) 'The maintenance of traditional and technological forms of post-adoption contact.', Child abuse review., 25 (5). pp. 373-385.


Openness in adoption practice now often includes post-adoption contact with the adopted child's birth family. Traditionally, indirect and direct contact has been supported and mediated by professionals following the adoption of children from the public care system in the UK. However, more recently, the widespread growth in the use of digital technologies has made it possible for both adopted children and birth relatives to search and contact one another through the use of sites such as Facebook without professional support. This practice has been called ‘virtual contact’. Using data from interviews with 11 adoptive parents and six adopted young people, who had experienced virtual contact, it is suggested that virtual contact works well when it is successfully integrated with the maintenance of more traditional methods of contact but can present risks when introduced without prior contact. Implications for practice are discussed in terms of how virtual contact can become a positive addition to adoption practices by utilising integrated methods of openness through which adoptive relationships can be maintained.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This is the accepted version of the following article: Greenhow, SK, Hackett, S, Jones, C and Meins, E (2016) The Maintenance of Traditional and Technological forms of Post-Adoption Contact. Child Abuse Review, 25 (5). pp. 373-385., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Date accepted:17 June 2016
Date deposited:21 June 2019
Date of first online publication:05 January 2017
Date first made open access:21 June 2019

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