Are you an adopted adult and want help or advice in locating your adoption records?
We know that finding and accessing adoption records can be a very difficult and very emotional time. Deciding to find out more about your birth family is a huge step. You may have been looking for your relatives for some time or this could be the first time that you have started your search. There will be a lot of information for you to take in and a lot you will need to provide if you are able to. We would always suggest talking this through with someone close to you who can support you along your journey.
Our experienced post adoption support professionals will do their utmost to answer questions you may have and will be open and honest with you during every step of the way.
About us and the support we can offer
Adoption Matters has been providing support to adopted adults and birth family members for over 50 years, so we have a wealth of experience. We are a registered children’s charity, a not for profit organisation registered and regulated by Ofsted as a voluntary adoption agency. We offer a personalised service to adopters and provide post-adoption support to adopted adults and birth family members. We have been rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted since 2008.
Who we can help
We offer a free of charge post adoption service to all adopted adults who were adopted through our agency (and any historic connection to our agency listed below) to provide you information on locating birth relatives, counselling, reunion services and support. This includes people who were adopted through the following registered adoption agencies:
- Adoption Matters
- Adoption Matters Northwest
- Chester Diocesan Adoption Agency
- Blackburn Diocesan Adoption Agency
- Durham Diocesan Moral Welfare Association (which included Hartlepool Deanery Moral Welfare Association, Gateshead Moral Welfare Association, Jarrow Deanery Moral Welfare Association, Jarrow Deanery Adoption Society, Stockton Adoption Society)
- Durham Diocesan Family Welfare Council (which included Durham Diocesan Adoption Society and Durham Adoption Society)
- Durham Diocesan Family Welfare Council / Durham Family Welfare / DFW Adoption
We also hold records for:
- St. Bridget’s Mother & Baby Home, Chester
- St Agnes’ Mother and Baby Home, Duke Street, Darlington (committee minutes, admissions list, babies born list 1950s-1970s)
Even if your adoption was not undertaken by our agency we can still provide an intermediary service by accessing your files and using our expertise to locating your family at an agreed cost.
As a post adoption support service we have a duty of care to all adopted adults and birth relatives, we will therefore assess each case individually and will discuss any identified risks with you.
Taking the first step…
You must be over the age of 18 years to access your records. It is advisable that any adopted adult accessing their adoption records for further information discusses this with an experienced post adoption support professional. Accessing this information may often trigger difficult feelings and emotions and we would recommend taking some time to process the information that has been shared with you.
If you were adopted before 12th November 1975 and don’t know your birth name, you will be required to attend a counselling interview with our post adoption support team to receive the birth record information needed to apply for a copy of your birth certificate. If you were adopted before this date and do know your birth name, you may simply apply for your original birth certificate.
If you were adopted after 1975 you will not be required to attend a counselling interview, but this is still available to you and we would often advise attending a meeting with us as this process is a difficult time and our experienced post adoption support professionals are skilled to help and assist you during your search.
What if people do not want to be contacted?
Adopted people and birth relatives can use the Adoption Contact Register to say that they don’t want to be contacted. They can register a veto if they don’t want to be approached by an intermediary agency. There are 2 types of veto called an ‘absolute veto’ and a ‘qualified veto’.
An ‘absolute veto’
This means an intermediary agency can’t approach you under any circumstances (your adoption agency can still pass on information to you, eg about a hereditary medical condition or details of an inheritance).
A ‘qualified veto’
This means you can say when you would be prepared to be contacted, e.g. you could say that an approach on behalf of your birth parent wouldn’t be acceptable, but an approach by a sibling would.
Equally, we may have information on file that indicates the wishes of either party that we will need to check.
Why use an Intermediary service?
Making contact with your birth family members can be a complicated and emotional journey, so it is always best to have an experienced professional who can mediate between you, and support both parties.
Experience has shown us that the use of social media to make contact with birth family can often result in additional challenges. We would strongly advise against using social media at this early stage.
Our post-adoption support team are highly skilled and experienced in working with families on adoption records research and have good working relationships with local authorities across the UK. The team are trained therapeutic social workers experienced in counselling birth relatives and adopted adults.
If you have any queries relating to our post adoption support, please contact us by completing our online enquiry form here.
You may also find the following websites and documents useful:
Practical Guide to tracing birth relatives by CoramBAAF / Adoption Search Reunion
Government website – Accessing your adoption records