Are you birth relative and want help or advice in tracing your family 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 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
With the implementation of the Adoption and Children’s Act 2002, birth relatives now have a right to request information.
We offer a free of charge post adoption service to all birth family members who have connections with 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
or cared for at:
- St. Bridget’s Mother & Baby Home, Chester
Even if the 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 we may make the professional judgement and discuss with any identified risks.
If your child or sibling was adopted through our agency, the first step is to contact us and we can confirm whether we hold the relevant records. If we do hold the records relating to your child’s adoption, you can make a formal application to locate your birth children through us, as long as they are over 18 and no restrictions have been placed on your contact.
If the was not handled by our agency we can still provide an intermediary service by accessing your files and using our expertise, at an agreed cost.
Taking the first step…
Before you begin, it’s important to remember that in order to make contact with your birth relative of someone who was adopted, you need to add yourself to the Adoption Contact Register.
To be put in touch with each other, both parties need be registered, and you must both be over 18.
It would be helpful to us if you can provide any documents or information that you have with regard to your birth relative’s adoption. We can access information from the General Register Office on your behalf but there are charges associated with this which can be found on the Adoption Contact Register website. If we need to undertake a more detailed search to try to find your birth relative, we may need to use a tracing agency which will incur charges. We will discuss this with you if needed.
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 you 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, eg you could say that an approach on behalf of your birth parent wouldn’t be acceptable, but an approach by a sibling would.
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.
What service and support can we offer?
Once you have decided that you would like to go ahead with accessing your records, please click the relevant page link below:
If you have any queries relating to our post adoption support, please contact us by completing our online enquiry form here.
Websites that maybe useful to you:
Adoption UK – a national charity run by and for adopters