Adopted Adults

If you are an adopted adult you may wish to access information relating to your adoption and your birth family.

  • Adopted before 12th November 1975

    If you were adopted before this date, by law we are required to provide you with access to records counselling before we are able to share information relating to your adoption and birth relatives. The word counselling can be misleading, but it is essentially a consultation where information, advice, support and guidance is offered. The reason for this is that for any adoption which took place prior to this date the birth and adoptive families were advised that no identifying information could be shared. The law changed in 1975 to allow adopted adults the right to apply for information to access their original birth certificate.

    The first step will be to contact the General Register Office (GRO) and fill in an application for the Birth certificate Information Before Adoption (BIBA) service. Further information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/adoption-records/accessing-your-birth-records

    Once you have completed this, the General Register Office will send us your details prior to adoption in order for you to be able to access your birth certificate. You will be notified by the GRO that we have received this.

    Please note: The GRO will advise you to wait 5 days before contacting us, however we cannot guarantee that we will be able to respond to your request immediately following this. We receive a high volume of requests and unfortunately there is often a waiting list for this service. We do however prioritise those adoptions which took place longest ago or where there are specific circumstances requiring this to be expedited.

    Once an adoption social worker is available, they will contact you to arrange the access to birth records meeting. The meeting with an adoption social worker will give you the chance to think about the implications and impact receiving information from your original birth certificate and adoption records may have for you.

    After this you will be able to apply for a copy of your birth certificate and you may wish for your social worker to request to access any records held by the local authority, agency or court that was involved in your adoption. Records vary significantly in volume, quality and the recording of information, particularly the longer ago the adoption took place. Your social worker will prepare a summary of the information and include any copies of relevant documents that they are able to share with you.

  • Adopted after 12th November 1975 (before 30th December 2005)

    If you were adopted during this period you may already have the information about your name prior to adoption or you may still wish to access your birth certificate details. You can apply to the General Register Office and they will send you a copy of your birth certificate without requiring an access to birth records meeting.

    Whilst it is not a legal requirement, you may still find it helpful to meet with a social worker to discuss the implications and impact of accessing this information and any further records.

    Should you wish, the social worker may request to access any records held by the local authority, agency or court that was involved in your adoption. As already stated, these records may vary greatly in volume and quality. Your social worker will prepare a summary of the information and include any copies of relevant documents that they are able to share with you.

  • Adopted after 30th December 2005

    If you were adopted after this date you will need to contact the agency which arranged your adoption to request your birth information to assist with applying for a copy of your birth certificate from the General Register Office.

    Should you wish, the social worker may request to access any records held by the local authority, agency or court that was involved in your adoption. Your social worker will prepare a summary of the information and include any copies of relevant documents that they are able to share with you.

    Please note: the nature of adoption has changed considerably over time, particularly in relation to the reasons for children being adopted. You may find that your adoption records contain very difficult and upsetting information and you may require support through this process.  

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