Adoption records are out there so in todays blog post we are going to look at what is an adoption record, how to access adoptions records and finally, what you would need an adoption record for.
Most people who access an adoption record will want to know more about the people within it. This is usually with a view of trying to locate them.
If you have a need to locate someone where adoption is the cause of the separation, then we can help you. Please contact us and we can talk you through our services to find the following relatives for you
- Birth parents
- Adopted people
- Other family members such as Grandparents or Grandchildren
If you are an adopted adult looking for your birth relatives or you are looking for an adopted adult, we can help you. All our adoption work is carried out by trained adoption workers. Joanna North Associates is an Ofsted Outstanding Adoption support agency that specialises in finding people separated by adoption.
Adoption records England and Wales
Sincer 1975 in England and Wales an adopted adults have had the right to access their adoption files. This allows them to understand more about their birth families and to understand more about their adoption. In terms of how you access that information that does vary from country to country, and it all depends on where your records are held.
Scottish Adoption Records
You also have a legal right to access your Scottish adoption records if your adoption took place in Scotland. Please read on to find out how you access your adoption records in Scotland.
Northern Ireland Adoption Records
You can also trace your adoption records in Northern Ireland.
Where is your Adoption Record?
Adoption records can be held in many different places, historical adoptions were usually conducted by agencies and those agencies were often affiliated to churches such as the church of England and the catholic church. They could also be held with local authority agency; however, adoption numbers have dwindled so much most of these agencies no longer exist, so their records have been kept but passed on to other agencies or local authorities. As some agencies that historically conducted adoptions no longer exist their records have been moved to other agencies or authorities so it can be challenging to track records and find out where they have gone.
A good place to start with accessing your own adoption records is to contact the local authority where you live so this would be the council that you pay your council tax too. That’s because they have a right to provide you with access to your adoption records as an adopted adult. Therefore, they will have to track the records down for you. However, if you know the name of the agency that placed you for adoption then you maybe be able to contact them directly for help and guidance on how to access your adoption records.
A great source of information for this is the adoption search reunion website that has a database that has historical agencies, currently agencies and where the records have gone if they have left the historical agency. That can be a helpful place to start any search to track where your records might be.
What is on your Adoption Record
More historic adoption records have various amounts of information. This means you might find various details, the information on them was not collected to help adopted adults later this only tended to happen from 1975. So, the information contained within these historical files is often information that was required to arrange an adoption. This means that it’s not always the most helpful information to help you find out the exact details of your adoption. However, many records will contain detailed information about birth parents certainly the birth mother, often the birth father. The father on your adoption record many be referred to as a putative father. Often it was only what information came from the birth mother, so the paternity hasn’t been confirmed.
You will find information about the circumstances of the adoption and information not just about the birth parents but about the birth families too.
Adoption records will often contain information about the adoptive family and interviews between them and the agencies during the process of the adoption.
Can anyone access an adoption record?
If you are the birth relative of an adopted adults currently you have no right to access information relating to the adopted adult after the adoption. Some agencies will grant access to parts of the record that relate to you but do not give details away that would identify an adopted adult.
Access to adoption records is subject to data protection regulations this means that often information can be redacted from records but in our experience that is usually third-party information. On occasion historical adoption records can be ‘over ‘redacted and this can cause frustration and disappointment.
Adoption records counselling
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to find that adoption records have been lost or destroyed particularly the further back on time. Originally adoption records had to be kept for 70 years but again this was never with a view to the information being made accessible later on. Many records will only have basic details in them, and we have seen adoption files that only contain a single sheet of paper and no more information than an original birth certificate.
Any adopted adult wishing to access their original birth certificate can do so in England and Wales by contacting the General Registry office and in Scotland via the Scottish records office.
Original birth certificates will confirm a name at birth, a place of birth, date of birth and any birth parents details that are recorded on there, often there will be no father on an original birth certificate, that does not mean a father was not named at the time but if parents if parent were not married and the father was not present at the registration of the birth then usually no father been recorded.
Historical adoption records can often contain details that are perhaps by todays standards incorrect. It’s not unusual for instance for a birth mother to provide false information about the birth father, this could be to protect the identity of a birth father or simply that the birth mother was embarrassed and would not talk about it. It’s also possible that the adoption record will name the father but that he is not the correct person.
Access to birth records and adoption records for adopted adults born and adopted prior to November 1975 is subject to birth records counselling this is really more an explanation rather than counselling of the record and the details contained within it. Birth records counselling would be carried out by someone experienced at looking at adoption records and being able to talk you through what is in the records and helping you to understand how the information was recorded.
Historical records as they were never supposed to be seen by an adopted adult so can often contain information and language that is outdated by todays standards. They may also contain opinions that maybe offensive to the adopted adult in today’s society.
If you need more information, please contact us on 0113 2825900. We hope you have enjoyed reading about adoption records.