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Support for adopted adults

How to access your original birth and adoption records, find birth relatives and how you may be able to make contact with your birth relatives.

Accessing your birth records

As an adult who has been adopted you are entitled to information recorded at the time of your adoption (birth and adoption records).

There are different ways to find these records depending on when you were adopted and what information you already have.

If you were adopted before 12 November 1975

If you were adopted before 12 November 1975 and don't already know your birth name or the agency which placed you for adoption then you need to apply to the registrar general.

You can apply for access to birth records and a certificate of your original birth entry by contacting the General Register Office or tel: 0300 123 1837.

The registrar’s general office will contact your local adoption support team and ask them to arrange to see you to share your basic birth information with you. This is your birth name, birth parents name (if named), where your birth was registered and the date and court which made the adoption order.

Once your adoption records are available, these will be prepared by the social worker and shared with you at a later date. This can take several months. Sometimes adoption records are very limited or it may not be possible to find them.

If you were adopted after 12 November 1975

If you were adopted on or after 12 November 1975 and don't know your birth name, you can apply to the general registrar for the information to enable you to obtain a copy of your original birth certificate.

You can apply for access to birth records and a certificate of your original birth entry by contacting the General Register Office tel: 0300 123 1837.

If you wish to access your adoption records and if you live in Derbyshire, you will need to make an appointment with an adoption support social worker. Please tel: 01629 533190 for more information.

If you don't live in Derbyshire you should contact your local council and ask to speak to an adoption support worker who will be able to advise you.

Birth records counselling

If you live in Derbyshire and want to access your adoption records you'll be asked to attend a birth records counselling appointment with an adoption social worker. This is to confirm your identity, explain the process and likely timescales. It will also help you to consider what impact this may have on you.

Finding and contacting birth relatives

Some adopted people decide they want to try and contact birth relatives.

It's always better to access your birth and adoption records first before trying to trace and make contact with your birth family. This is because the records may contain information which will help you locate birth family members. It should help to prepare you for any potential risks and for what response you might get if you do make contact.

Intermediary services

Registered intermediary services provide advice and support to adopted people and birth relatives who are seeking contact with each other. We don't currently provide this service but can tell you about other agencies who may be able to help. There are often fees involved with this service. More information can be obtained from the Post Adoption Centre PAC-UK, an agency for adoption permanency and support.

Adoption contact registers

Adoption contact registers provide a way for adopted people and birth relatives to register their interest in making contact with one another.

Either an adopted person or birth relatives can add their own details along with the name of the person they wish to contact. If both people register their details they will be informed but only the adopted person is sent contact details.

If you were placed for adoption by us you can ask to register your details on the Derbyshire contact register, tel: 01629 532396 or send a letter to:

Adoption Support Team
Derbyshire County Council
County Hall

If we didn't place you for adoption, but you know which agency did, you can ask them to record on your adoption file your views on contact.

If you were adopted in England and Wales you can also ask for your details to be placed on the Adoption Contact Register. It costs £15 for adopted people to register.

As an adopted person you can also record that you don't want contact or would only want contact from certain people, for example, birth siblings.

For more information email: or contact Call Derbyshire on tel: 01629 533190.