This leaflet has been written from our experience and expertise. In this leaflet we discuss what you can do if you were not expecting contact from us and to help you if our approach has been a big and unwelcome surprise.
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.
We never set out to do our Adoption Intermediary work with the intention of causing unwelcome surprise or intrusion into anybody’s life. What we love to do is help people feel connected to birth family if this is what they wish. However, we have a lot of experience in this field and we know from experience that a first approach can be a big surprise. We are sending this advice leaflet to support you through our initial contact with you.
First our re-assurance for you.
- It may help you to go to our website to check who we are. There you will see our team at work and there are question and answer videos up there that will answer a lot of your questions without you having to contact anyone. This is www.joannanorth.co.uk.
- We are registered with the government inspection body Ofsted who regulate and inspect our work regularly. You can check our identity by going onto the Ofsted website, searching for Adoption Support Agencies and putting our name and unique reference number URN SCO67674 where you will see our registration.
- Our latest Ofsted report is on our website www.joannanorth.co.uk. We were last inspected in 2018 when we were registered as Outstanding. We have been rated as Outstanding for the last ten years.
- We are also members of the Consortium of Adoption Support Agencies in the United Kingdom CASA.
- Our staff are all experienced and qualified to undertake work to help you right now.
- Our work is required by law, since 1975 when the law changed to allow adopted people to contact their birth families. Not a lot of people know about this change in the law and some people do not like this idea at all. Please tell us your thoughts as we are very interested in what people have to say.
- Your data is entirely safe and will not be passed to anyone under any circumstances. We are registered with the Data Commissioner. We traced you through publicly available documents, information from the General Records Office to which we have access and through the records of the adoption agency who organised your adoption.
- You do not have to feel under any pressure to contact us. But when and if you do, we can assure you of a professional approach from our friendly and supportive team who have a lot of experience of working with people on intermediary services. We understand that this may have been a surprise for you, and we are equipped to help you with this in total confidence.
- We have a counselling service on hand to support you immediately. This is a confidential service that is not in place to persuade you to make any decision but merely to talk through any of the thoughts and feelings that you may have about having been contacted. We can offer you emotional support and advice and tell you about this process. Our trained staff are very experienced and qualified and chosen specifically to help people like you. Most of all we love our work and helping people in this field and we are always researching on best possible practice.
- Nobody on our team will judge any of your reactions and nor will we judge the fact that you have been involved in adoption. We are open and practical about doing the job of helping you at this time. We are used to helping people through an episode of uncertainty due to our contact and we know this makes people feel very emotional. If we can help you we will soon help you to feel in control of the journey.
- We have twenty advice leaflets on our website and you can chose any one of these to help you. Simply contact our team and we will send you any leaflet you require.
- If you don’t want to be in touch at all then do write and tell us straight away so that we can bring closure to the matter for you in a professional way and have the file closed. No response at all tends to leave us wondering if we have the right person and we may reach out again when in fact we have no wish to bother you if you do not want this. We can also manage the news to the person searching for you in a professional and kindly manner and this will bring closure for them and you will have a more secure sense of completion.
- We have question and answer videos up on the website where we talk about what to do when you don’t wish to be in touch. People have found this helpful. www.joannanorth.co.uk.
- We always check the identities of both our searchers and the subjects of the search. We never proceed before we are confident of an identity and we only pass on information with explicit permission.
Second Our Advice For You
- You do not have to rush to do anything. Nobody is going to know that we have contacted you and we will wait patiently to hear from you.
- Talk to a friend or partner you can trust about this matter and ask them to help you. If you like you could ask a friend or partner to contact us instead of yourself. We often do this and find it really helps people to involve a third party who is supportive.
- Try not to panic. There is nothing to be afraid of in this process. You do not have to be in touch with anybody you do not wish to know, and your information is safe with us.
- This may bring up old memories that you thought were put behind you. Give yourself some time and be kind and gentle on yourself as you cope with your thoughts and feelings. Please ask someone to help you and talk about this rather than let it cause you anxiety.
- We will respond straight away with our counselling service if you need our help. You only have to ask if you can speak to our counsellor and there will be no more questions asked. We will only be there to listen to your thoughts and feelings and offer advice and help you feel more secure. We are not there to make you be in touch with us or make a decision.
- Sometimes making this decision takes a long time for people. But it helps if you can let us know that you have our communication and that you are taking some time.
- We are waiting for your call.