Discovering you are adopted can be unsettling
It’s only natural to feel that tracking down the people who put you into the world will help to restore order. Not everyone feels like this, of course, but if you do have a burning desire to find those that spawned you then make sure you go about it the right way.
Tracing your birth parents is not always easy
It can be frustrating when records don’t show up or take their time being released by the authorities. Be prepared for an emotional roller coaster, and confide in a mate for added support if you can.
Beware of how easy it can be to idolise the image you have of your birth parents
It’s easy to think they must be a million times better than your adoptive parents. They’ve not been around to give you a hard time, after all, but that’s all part of raising children. The risk with painting such a rosy picture is that you risk setting yourself up for a fall as no-one can live up to such dreams. Be realistic.
Even though it is your right to seek your birth parents, your adoptive parents may feel hurt
So soften the blow by being upfront with them. They have been there for you all those years. It will also be useful to speak to them first as there may be reasons why you should not contact your birth parents.
Tracking them down
- You must be 18 or over (16 in Scotland) to make enquiries into tracing your birth parents. If you were adopted through a court in England and Wales, the provisions of the 1976 Adoption Act entitle you to the information on your original birth certificate, and to know which court or agency handled your adoption.
- If you’d like to take the first step, here are the links to the relevant Register Office in England and Wales; Northern Ireland; Scotland.
- If you were adopted before November 12, 1975 you’re required by law to receive counselling before being allowed access to the information. This is required because some natural parents and adopters may have been led to believe that their children would never be able to trace their original names or the identity of their parents.
- If you were adopted after November 11,1975, you’re not legally required to seek counselling. Even so, if you do decide to seek your birth parents then it is adisable to really think things through and talk to someone about it. Your local authority will be able to help you.
Other lines of enquiry
The Adoption Contact Register
A number of agencies allow birth parents or relatives to leave their details, which can be made available should you make an application. Similarly, if you’re the one who makes the initial enquiry, you will be informed if any relative gets in touch.
Post adoption centres
For info, advice and/or counselling before or after you seek out your birth parents, check out After Adoption (England and Wales) or the Scottish Adoption Advice Service (Tel: 0141 248 7530)
Updated on 25-Sep-2012