How Our Adoption Intermediary Service Can Help You
Before 1975, many parents and adopters understood that their adopted child would never be able to find their original name or the names of their birth parents or be in touch with them. However the law changed in that year and it gave adopted people the right to discover the details of their birth family. It is important for adopted people and their birth relatives to understand what this might mean especially in relation to their privacy and if they do not wish for contact. The processes we are involved in include searches for birth parents, birth children (adopted adults) and siblings as well as wider family such as Aunts, Uncles and Cousins.
The Government have allocated this task to registered Adoption Support Intermediary Agencies so that there can be careful negotiation between adopted subjects and their parents or vice versa. Not everybody wishes to be in touch, and this is where we can help with carefully supporting a negotiated position so that everyone feels safe and well in this process. Many people are keen to know about their family of origin but some people do not and this is their right. We can help people to re-connect with birth relatives but we can help those who don’t wish to be in touch to say No and close the matter for them.
The law acknowledges that this is a difficult process for people and we are expected to provide counselling and support. In our team at JNA we have a qualified counsellor, qualified psychologist, adoption research expert and customer service facilitator. We absolutely love this aspect of our work and we are here to support you through the technicalities and the emotions.
We have been building our expertise in this field and by now have helped hundreds of adopted people to trace their birth relatives and reconnect if they wish or close the matter if that is what they prefer. At the same time – birth parents may wish to trace their adopted children. If you have any queries about this service please ring us or e mail us at 0113 4363610 and we can answer your questions.
Here are the sorts of questions we can help you with.
If someone traces me do I have to be in contact with them?
No you don’t. You simply tell us your position and we will relay the information to the person concerned so that nobody has to be harmed by the process.
If you are the adopted person then in most circumstances birth family will not know your adoptive name. This means they cannot usually find or contact you, except through a registered intermediary.
If you are a birth relative of an adopted person, then they can be given your name and details from the time of the adoption. This means they can potentially trace and contact you themselves through publically available records.
We only share contact information when consent is gained in the case of adopted people and birth relatives.
What if I want to take my time to think about my decision?
You have the right to take as much time as you wish and we can help you with this by negotiating time frames that are suitable for you. Sometimes people take weeks and months to make their decision and others may take longer. All of this is supported and possible.
Couldn’t I just trace my birth relatives through social media or a DNA website?
You could but the law sets out a very clear procedure in order to protect the rights of everyone concerned. If you use an intermediary such as ours, you would be on safe ground if the subject you are seeking does not wish to have contact. It means that nobody is put in an awkward or distressing position and nobody has to be stressed or embarrassed. It also ensures your information is protected too as by contacting them directly, you provide them with your identity.
This sounds like a difficult process – do you have good outcomes?
We have many positive outcomes and the feed back on our service is excellent.
How long does it take?
You may be working with us for up to a year. We are here to ensure that the process runs as smoothly at possible. We are always chasing the relevant bodies on your behalf. However the process can also be much quicker too.
What is so special about your service? Couldn’t I just go to the adoption agency who undertook the adoption?
Yes you can and you absolutely should in the first instance. However many adoption agencies no longer exist and of those that do hardly any offer an intermediary service. They will though enable you to leave a note on the file about your views on any future contact. If you are the adopted person the original agency can release records to you about your adoption. These can also be applied for through your local authority. There is usually a wait for this service.
What if I was adopted and don’t know my name at birth?
You can apply for a copy of your original birth record via the General Register Office.
If you were born prior to 1975 you must receive the information from the General Register Office in person, via a social worker/counsellor at your local authority or via a registered adoption support agency (we can help with this).
Please download our Statement of Purpose to learn more.
Here are some leaflets we have produced to help people through this journey:
Do you want to know more about our work and how we can help you?
Joanna, David and Alison recorded this video whilst on Lockdown. In this video, they answer your questions about adoption intermediary services.
Do you want to know more about our work and how we can help you?(part 2)
Dave, Jo and Alison continue to answer questions about Intermediary Adoption Work.