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Staying anonymous while communicating with bio family

Wondering if anyone has any tips for us.  Our kids have our last name and we opened a PO Box so that birth mom and other bio family can contact us.  The PO Box has my full legal name attached to it.  Birth mom claims that letters she sent were returned to her.  She only addressed using the kid’s first names and PO Box address.  I don’t want her having my last name at this point.  She knows my husband & my first names but not our last name(s), we both kept our birth last names.
USPS wasn’t very helpful with alternatives.  Has anyone dealt with similar situation and were you able to rectify it.  We’ve had the PO Box for a full year now with no value but receiving junk mail (BM has only attempted to send letters once that we know of).  Thanks for your replies


can you give her the full name and address of a family friend, and have her send the letters to that address?

Posted by rn4kidz on Mar 07, 2018 at 1:27am

your lawyer? the adoption agency? many will receive letters for you.

she could write Sally and John c/o abc adoption agency etc

Posted by Regina on Mar 07, 2018 at 1:42am

PS Why don’t you want her to have your names? Is she unstable or dangerous and if so do you want her contacting the children? Won’t they want to write back? Is she safe to be open with?

Posted by Regina on Mar 07, 2018 at 2:27am

Personally, unless you think the person is dangerous, it seems kinda like a power trip or fear-mongery to not give your last name. Openness is only on your terms, will you be able to justify that to your children in the future (your strategy has already caused letters to not arrive)? In a digital age, it is probably naive to think she can’t find your information online. If they gave you your children, what’s the big deal about a name? Openness depends on trust and respect. You’ve already taken the steps to protect your address (which can be harder to find online), do you need the name so hidden?

For a more constructive answer, I think most agencies do mediate such exchanges, if you used an agency.

Posted by MPetru on Mar 07, 2018 at 3:15pm

There are many reasons why adoptive family may not want to give last names or be fully open, safety is chief among them.  I think it is helpful in this forum to assume that adoptive family, or any OP,  has made a careful decision about the degree of openness, rather than assuming they are on a “power trip”. 

I am surprised that there would be a problem with the PO box, but you can list any name you want as receiving mail at the PO box, including a factitious name or their old last name.  You could also speak directly with the staff at the post office where your box is located and give them the first names of your kids, and then tell them to deliver any mail to you that has the correct box number, and let you sort it out.  (In my experience having a PO box, that is what happened, and I had to specifically tell them to forward mail that was not for me, rather than not having mail delivered because the last name was different) 

Your other option would be to find a third party, as suggested above, or get a private mailbox (like at a Mailboxes etc), they will likely be more accommodating.

Posted by jszmom on Mar 07, 2018 at 10:30pm

I’m surprised the letters weren’t delivered because the USPS goes by address not the name on the box. It’s sorted by zip code & box number. Try setting up an email that is for bio mom only or IG account for her only. I’m curious how you adopted without her knowing your last name. Wasn’t it on adoption agreement.

Posted by Becky18 on Mar 09, 2018 at 11:46pm

It is very possible these kids were adopted from foster csre, so birth mom did not “give” OP the kids as another poster suggested, there would be no adoption agreement, and safety might be a very legitimate concern.

Posted by rn4kidz on Mar 10, 2018 at 12:35am

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