Support for Adopted Adults
Although their experience of growing up in an adoptive family may be a happy one, many adopted adults wish to find out more about their birth history. Deciding to explore your adoption history or trace your birth family is a huge step. We are here to help you when you decide to take that step.
Who we can help
We hold the records for people adopted through St. Francis’ Children’s Society, whether recently or in the past. This includes those people adopted through or cared for by the St. Francis’ School for Boys in Shefford and the Society’s former residential home in Sheringham, Norfolk.
But even if your adoption wasn’t handled by SFCS, we can still provide an intermediary service, accessing any available files relating to your adoption and using our expertise to trace your family.
Taking the first step
Many adopted people begin by talking with their adoptive parents about their wish for more information.
Adoptive parents are usually given a lot of information about their child’s background, and are expected to share that with their child as they grow up. However, we do recognise that some adopted people find it difficult to talk with their adoptive parents about their wish to gain more details about their birth families.
If you want to find out more about the process of tracing your family before you contact SFCS, there is lots of useful information and advice on the Adoption Search Reunion website.
Some basic information about your rights as an adopted adult can be found below.
The support we offer
Once you’ve decided that you’d like to go ahead, get in touch with us, and we will discuss your needs and what you hope to get out of the process. Our expert social workers are here to make sure that you are fully prepared for the journey ahead.
At this stage, you might request access to further information about your adoption, or be offered a counselling interview to make sure you are ready to progress. Don’t go it alone – you will need the support of our specialists, as tracing your family can be an emotional and lengthy process.
As we work with you, and hopefully begin to piece your story together, you will continue to receive the one-to-one support you need. In the event that members of your birth family are traced, we can support you in your decision about where to go next.
If you want us to arrange a meeting with your family, we can. If you want us to accompany you to that meeting and offer you moral support, we will. If you feel you’ve had enough and don’t want to progress the relationship any further, we will offer you all the support you need.
Adopted Adults – Your Rights
What if I don’t want any contact with my birth relatives?
If, as an adopted adult, you don’t want to have any contact with your birth family, you can make that choice. You can formally request an absolute or qualified veto with the appropriate adoption agency.
Where a veto is registered, the adoption agency would advise any intermediary agency that a veto is in place if they were contacted. In such a case, your name and identifying information will be kept confidential and not be given to your birth relatives.
Your birth certificate
Adopted people have a right to obtain a copy of their original birth certificate when they reach the age of 18. This can be obtained from the General Register Office.
If you were adopted before 12th November 1975 and don’t know your birth name, you will be required to attend a counselling interview to receive the birth record information needed to apply for a copy of your birth certificate. If you were adopted before this date and do know your birth name, you may simply apply for your original birth certificate.
If you were adopted after 1975 you will not be required to attend a counselling interview, but this service is still available to you, and may be advisable.