Adopted Adults and their Birth Relatives

Adults who have been adopted as children may need ongoing support , counselling and advice, as may their birth relatives.

Adults seeking information about their birth family Services for Children and Young People should provide access to support and counselling to adults who are seeking information about their birth family.  Initial counselling interviews should only be undertaken by experienced workers by the access to records worker.The role of the counsellor is to help and advise but not to progress a search unless the service user is ready to proceed and has thought through the consequences of doing so from his or her own perspective and that of any relatives sought.Since 1991 the Royal Court has operated a Contact Register to provide a safe and confidential service to adopted adults and their birth relatives. If both do so, a link is established, with the adopted adult being given the birth relative's details and the birth relative being advised they have the information. The decision to make contact or not remains with the adopted adult.Service users should be encouraged to obtain all possible information from birth records before trying to trace or make direct contact with a birth relative. People should be encouraged to use an intermediary service, wither NORCAP or the access to records worker to facilitate this.An adopted adult can choose to refer themselves to any adoption Department for assistance.  All services to adopted adults and their birth relatives will be progressed as far and at a pace appropriate to each service user. Some adopted adults will attend the initial counselling appointment but they may just wish to receive their birth certificate. Others will access further information but may not wish to seek out birth family members.Adoption agencies will not release original records directly to adopted adults but will only do so through a named access to records worker.

Siblings Siblings of adopted people have no statutory right of access to information at present that will identify their adopted sibling, even if they themselves were adopted.


TaskResponsible officerRecord requiredTimescale
Receive communication from an adopted adult that they wish to initiate communication, renew links or re-establish relationships with birth relativesDuty workerDuty book/referral form if appropriateWithin 5 working days
Respond by telephone and/or in writing pointing out the requirement for the adopted adult to attend an initial counselling session if adopted before 12/11/75Duty workerDuty bookWithin 5 working days
Advise adopted adults to apply via the General Register Office. (GRO)Duty workerDuty bookWithin 5 working days
Await receipt of paperwork from the GRO and contact from the adopted adult to make initial counselling appointment.Adoption social workerReferral formWithin 5 working days at receipt of information from GRO
Set up a counselling session if the applicant wishes to proceedDuty workerCase fileWithin 5 working days
Check the identification of the person before the session starts.  This must be some form of identifying documentation, with the person's adopted name and current address (eg driving licence, passport ). This is to ensure that only the adopted person has access to his or her birth information.Allocated social workerCase fileBefore the session starts
Cover the requirements of initial counselling session and also provide the applicant with information about local and national support groups. A bi-monthly support and tracing group is run by the Guernsey Borough Council adoption team, by invitation only.Allocated social workerCase fileDuring the session
Consider the appropriateness of referring the applicant to the South West Adoption Network.Allocated social worker and team managerCase fileAt next supervision session
Advise the applicant that all records before 1997 are held by Dorset County Council.   Advise them how to access this information.Allocated social workerCase fileWithin 3 months of making the request.
Discuss the case if there has been no contact from a service user for a period of 3 months,Social worker and team managerCase fileAt the next supervision session
Consider whether to close the case.Team managerCase fileDuring supervision