Accessing Adoption Records: How to Access Adoption Records, A Guide for Adopted Individuals and Birth Relatives

Who can access adoption records?

If you are an adopted person or a birth relative searching for information about an adopted person, accessing adoption records can provide valuable information. However, there are guidelines and procedures you need to follow to access these records.

In England and Wales, adopted persons who have reached the age of 18 are entitled to access their full adoption records. However, birth relatives such as birth parents and siblings can only access a redacted version of the records which excludes identifying information about the adopted person. This is in accordance with the Adoption and Children Act 2002.

How can an adopted person access their adoption records?

To access adoption records, an adopted person can make an application to the agency that dealt with the adoption. Alternatively, they can access their original birth certificate via the General Register Office (GRO). For adoptions outside England or Wales, you need to contact the General Register Office where you were adopted.

If you were adopted before 12 November 1975, you will need to attend a counselling session with an approved adoption advisor before accessing your adoption records. This is a legal requirement in the UK under the Adoption Act 1976. The purpose of the counselling session is to provide support and advice to the person seeking access to their records and to help them understand the potential impact of accessing their adoption records.

How can a birth relative access information about an adopted person?

In England and Wales, birth relatives such as birth parents and siblings can access non-identifying information about the adoption. Non-identifying information may include details about the adopted person’s health, education, and background. However, this information will not reveal the adopted person’s name, location, or any other identifying details.

Birth mothers have specific rights to access more detailed non-identifying information about their child’s adoption. This may include details about the adoptive family, the child’s development, and the birth mother’s own circumstances at the time of the adoption. Birth mothers can request access to this information from the adoption agency that facilitated the adoption.

It is worth noting that birth relatives may also be able to access additional information if they can provide a compelling reason for needing it. For example, if a birth relative is suffering from a medical condition that may be hereditary, they may be able to request medical information about the adopted person. However, this will depend on the circumstances and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

How can a birth relative access adoption records

In England and Wales, birth relatives seeking information about an adoption can contact the adoption agency that dealt with the adoption. If the agency no longer exists, the information may have been transferred to another agency or to the relevant local authority. The birth relative can then contact the relevant agency or local authority to request access to the information.

It is important to note that the process of accessing adoption records can be complex and time-consuming, and birth relatives may encounter obstacles such as missing or incomplete records. It may be useful to seek the help of an adoption support agency, which can provide guidance and support throughout the process.

However, it is not necessary for the adoption support agency to be Ofsted registered. In fact, Ofsted registration is not a requirement for adoption support agencies in England and Wales. Instead, adoption support agencies are regulated by the Adoption and Children Act 2002 and are required to meet certain standards and requirements set out in the Act.

How can you find adoption records online?

Unfortunately, there is no online database that provides access to adoption records. However, you can find the adoption agency that dealt with your adoption by contacting your local authority or using a service.

If you decide to contact your local authority, you should expect a long wait because they have a shortage of staff, and it may take them many months or even years to get in touch with you. If you have the financial means to pay for a professional service, it might be a better option. Ofsted outstanding adoption support agencies provide a variety of services, such as accessing adoption records, tracing adopted children, finding adopted siblings, and offering counselling.

Why use an Ofsted registered adoption support agency?

Ofsted regulates adoption tracing and intermediary work, and it is crucial to employ an adoption support agency that is registered with Ofsted to conduct the search. This ensures that both clients and the individuals located receive the appropriate level of support, and that the work is completed to a high standard.

If you are considering searching for a birth relative, it is important to have the right support and guidance throughout the process. There are team of experts who can help you navigate the complex process of accessing adoption records and tracing birth relatives.