Adopted Adults

Advice for Adopted Adults

We understand that adoption has lifelong implications and at times individuals may need support and advice from professionals.

Being adopted may not always be easy and there might be things that you do not understand or would like help with.

  • You may want to have access to your adoption records and information about your background, your family history, and the reason(s) why you were adopted
  • You may feel that you need support about issues surrounding adoption and your identity
  • You may want advice on tracing your birth relatives
  • You may want support with existing contact (Letterbox)

Support Available

Many adopted adults want to find out more about their birth family and about the reasons for their adoption.

We will meet with you and will try to track down information about the circumstances of your adoption. This information comes from files that may still be held by adoption agencies, other local authorities, adoption charities, or the relevant courts.

If you were adopted before 12 November 1975, you will have to attend a counselling session with an adoption counsellor before your birth details are released.

In situations where you are affected by issues stemming from adoption, some support may also be provided.

At the age of 18, you can apply to the get a copy of your original birth certificate by contacting the General Register Office.

  • Online: www.gov.uk/adoptionrecords (the form you need to complete is called Access to Birth Certificate Information Before Adoption)
  • Write to: General Register Office, Adoptions Section Room C202, Smedley Hydro, Trafalgar Road Southport PR8 2HH.
  • Telephone: 0300 123 1837 and press option 8

Adults who were adopted as children may find that they struggle with a range of issues related to their adoption and identity. We can offer support and guidance to help you explore these issues and any feelings that may arise, this is usually up to six sessions

Adopters are welcome regardless of their sexuality or gender. The same criteria would apply as to heterosexual couples; we would expect the ‘live in’ relationship to have a duration of at least 1 year at point of application and for there to be evidence that it was a stable and enduring relationship.  Adopters may also have transitioned in terms of gender. It would be important that the applicant is established in their new gender and have a secure sense of self prior to application.

Tracing birth relatives is a big decision to make, there are many things adopted adults may wish to consider. familyconnect.org.uk is a specialist website which  helps adults who have been adopted or in care find answers to questions about their origins, this is a helpful place to begin if you are considering tracing birth relatives. We would recommend using an ‘Intermediary Service’ which provides assistance in contacting a relative of an adopted adult and vice versa, if this is a route you decide to pursue.

We do not provide an ‘Intermediary Service’ but, through our Birth Links service, we are able to offer a one-hour consultation, which will include a discussion around the nature and availability of intermediary services, and the impact of an approach/contact for all involved

Tracing birth relatives- a practical guide http://www.adoptionsearchreunion.org.uk/

The national Adoption Contact Register helps to put adopted people and their birth family in contact with each other if this is what they both want.

You can also use the Adoption Contact Register to say that you do not want to be contacted. Tell your agency and register a veto if you don’t want to be approached by an intermediary agency.

What can I do if I do not want to be contacted by a birth relative?

There are a couple of steps that you can take if you do not want to be contacted by a birth relative.

You can register on the Adoption Contact Register a wish for no contact or you can register a Qualified or Absolute Veto with the agency that placed you for adoption. You must be eighteen years of age and over before you can register a wish for no contact or a veto.

What is the difference between a Qualified and Absolute veto?

A Qualified Veto means that you can specify the circumstances you would want to be contacted such as:

  • If there is important medical information you should know about
  • If you have been named as a beneficiary in a birth relative’s will
  • If there is a specific person you would like to hear from or have news from.

An Absolute Veto means that you do not want to be contacted under any circumstances. Once you have registered an Absolute Veto it means that the Intermediary Agency cannot contact you on

More information about intermediary agencies and registering a veto can be found at GOV.UK – Adoption records

Letterbox Contact – what happens when a young person turns 18? 

An adopted adult has the right to decide what contact there should be with birth relatives. We can continue the Letterbox arrangement until a young person is 21 if it is requested. Adopted adults also have the right to access information held in their Letterbox file.

Before a young person reaches 18 the Letterbox Coordinator will write to the adoptive parents (and the adopted person) to remind them that the arrangements will soon end. This can be a time of uncertainty, and support is available if needed, for adopted young people, adopters and birth relatives.

Who are Birth Links?

Birth Links is a support service for adopted adults and for birth relatives affected by adoption. It aims to provide advice, support, information and guidance.

Birth Links understands that adoption has lifelong implications for all involved and at times individuals may need support and advice from professionals who understand adoption.

Birth Links covers Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

Birth Links is an independent service that is part of Adoption West, you can read more about the services they offer here

More information

Adoption Support Fund– funding for specialist therapeutic services is available in certain circumstances; this is dependent on an assessment of need. This may be available for young people who are up to and including the age of 21 years, or 25 years, if the young person has an Education Health Care Plan.

If your family received an adoption allowance, in certain circumstances this can continue beyond the age of 18 years old. This may be something you could discuss with your Local Authority, particularly if you are in full-time education.

If you require further information please give us a call: 03303 550 333