This leaflet has been written from our experience and expertise. In this leaflet we discuss when we have contacted you and you do not wish to be in touch with the birth relative concerned.
If you have difficulties with language or reading, please let us know and we will read this information over the phone or to someone who can support you. Should you need any further information or support about this matter you can phone or email us via the details on our website.
The law relating to Adoption has changed, and it is now possible for birth relatives of adopted people to trace them via a registered intermediary. This can only be done through a registered intermediary agency such as ourselves. It is also possible for an adopted person to be given information about birth relatives directly from their adoption papers. From this information, and by using publicly available records, it is also possible they can trace birth family and contact them without using an intermediary. This therefore is the reason we have contacted you.
First of all, thank you for receiving our initial letter to you and we are sorry to have bothered you. We just have to check the position with regard to your wish for contact with a birth relative. If you have indicated that you have no wish for contact, please don’t worry – we will close the matter down as soon as possible and you will not be bothered again by us. However, there are a few things we can do to help you so please just read these notes so that you are well informed and can make a strong decision.
- Before we contact any person affected by adoption, we have a number of checks to conduct to ascertain if there are any known reasons why we should not attempt contact. An adopted person has the right to register a veto to prevent any agency like ours contacting them. This is not widely publicised, and so most people, even those affected by adoption, are unaware of the processes. A birth relative of an adopted person can register a wish for “no contact”, but this will not always mean a birth relative will not be contacted. For example, if a long period of time has elapsed.
- We respect all relatives when they tell us they don’t wish to be in touch. We are not here to persuade you in any direction, we are just doing our job as an intermediary agency which is to check the position and withdraw if this is your wish, and provide you with counselling support if you need this.
- It does help if you are clear with us that you want NO CONTACT. Please just drop us a note saying you have our letter and you do not wish to be in contact. This helps us to act quickly and to not have to check on the position again. However, it might take you some time to make a decision, so don’t feel you have to jump to a conclusion either way. It is important to feel that you can take your time, and that the process is under your control. You could write to us and simply say ‘I need time to think about this.’ This would help us not to bother you again.
- You have the right to support and counselling from us. This is totally free of charge to you. The counselling is not to persuade you to change your mind. It is there to settle any anxieties, and so that you have the opportunity to talk through any worries that you may have, leaving you feeling re-settled and able to move forward. For example, we can explain to you how we will close the file and how we will protect your privacy, and we can listen to your thoughts and feelings about this process. However please read on and we will explain the process.
- We can also pass on any minimal information you may wish to the person concerned. It may help them close the matter down for themselves. However, you do not have to make any comment at all, so do not feel under pressure. We thought it may help to have an idea of how others do this, and so here is what one person said:
‘I want the person to be reassured that he/she made a good decision in placing me for adoption. I realise how hard it must have been. My adoptive parents have made sure that I knew I was loved, and you did not give me up lightly. I have no wish for contact, but I wish you well.’
- Please be assured you are not responsible for the feelings of the other person trying to contact you. We are here to support them with thoughts and feelings that they have about this experience. This is the job of an intermediary agency.
- If you are an adopted person, we can help you place a veto on your adoption file that makes it clear that you wish for no contact at all in the future, and this will help clarify the position in case anyone else tries to contact you. We can also assist you in recording a no contact wish if you are the birth relative of an adopted person.
- Below we have set out the sort of letter you will get from us in closure. It may help you to understand what we are saying to other people. You can contact us on any of these points and we will explain fully.
- Finally, please don’t forget that we can provide you with a supportive service to include advice and counselling. This is completely free and if you have any worries at all please do not hesitate to contact us in confidence. E-mail address below.
Thank you for confirming that you understand why we have written to you and informing us you have no wish to take the matter further, which we absolutely understand and respect.
We accept your wishes for not wanting contact with any members of your birth family. We acknowledge you do not wish to know any information about our clients and so we will not share any details with you. When we contact someone on behalf of a client, we ask our clients for a letter to share with the person we are contacting. This is to help explain who they are, their motivation is for contact and what they hope to happen as a result of an approach. These letters are only shared with consent and to help you decide about contact. However, you do not have to receive this letter.
- Legislation and practice guidance provide a guide for us to work to, and we also adopt and amend our letters frequently to try to be sensitive to the needs of the person we are contacting. If you have any feedback for us on this, we would be very grateful as it helps to improve our service to others.
- We would like to bring to your attention some important points. Firstly, by telling us you do not wish to have contact at this time, this does not automatically place a veto on your file. We can assist you in doing this if you wish, but there are a number of things to consider and understand before a veto can be registered. The veto needs to be held by the agency who placed you for adoption, but it is also a good idea to register your wish on the adoption contact register. https://www.gov.uk/adoption-records/the-adoption-contact-register
- It is our duty to inform the agency holding your file of your response at this time. They should add this to your file, and it should be considered if others were to make an approach for an intermediary service in the future. However, depending on the reasons given for contact, an agency can still contact you if they felt it might be in your interest or the adopted person’s interests (such as the need for important medical information).
- Lastly, we will close the file as you have requested, and we will not contact you further. Our client will be made aware of the response you have given. If you are an adopted person, NO identifying information about you will be shared with anyone until such time as you were to give consent for this – if ever at all. That means no birth relatives should be able to contact you without doing so through a registered intermediary provider. If you are the birth relative of an adopted person, we will not share any contact information with our client, but that does not mean that such information could not be found through publicly available records. Information can also be found through online searches and social media accounts. It is also important to know that many adopted people approach us with contact information they have found themselves and ask that we contact their birth family. However, we do remain open to hearing from you in the future should you need any further help or guidance. Our role is not simply to arrange contact where it is wanted, but to provide support and guidance to all parties.
Thank you for reading this leaflet.