Tracing and Contacting Birth Relatives
What are the new rights for adopted adults and birth relatives?
Under section 98 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, adopted adults and birth relatives also, now have a legal right to ask an Adoption Agency or an Adoption Support Agency, to provide an intermediary service so that they can let the birth relative or adopted relative know of their wish for communication. An intermediary acts as a go-between and a mediator between the adopted person and the birth relatives. This new law came into effect on 30th December 2005. Priority is to be given to cases where the adoption order was made before 12th November 1975.
Who can provide intermediary services and is there a fee?
Fr. Hudson’s Society provides intermediary services itself, though it is also possible for other Adoption Support Agencies to provide these services for you if you prefer. Adoption Support Agencies are listed in the useful links section. This service normally incurs charges by the various organisations. Father Hudson’s Society offers this service for a competitive fee (updated fees listed on application form).
What does the intermediary service involve?
The service involves checking if your birth relative is currently registered by the NHS as being in England or Wales. Then for an additional fee, the service will attempt to trace your birth relative’s current address and prepare for an approach to be made. Once your birth relative is contacted we offer advice and support to both parties, as contact is established.
Why choose Father Hudson’s Society?
We have a long history of providing tracing and intermediary services since the 1980’s and we have particular experience of tracing people from Ireland. Our latest Ofsted inspection judged us as “outstanding”.
What happens after I return my application form?
We will firstly confirm if your birth relative is registered as being in England and Wales. If so, we will arrange for you to meet with an adoption worker, confirm your identity and upon payment of the required additional fee, proceed with searching for your birth relative’s current address.
How long might the search take?
Searching for someone whose last known address may have been decades ago can sometimes be very difficult and can take time. We aim to provide a progress report for you by two months from date of commencement of search and strive to have completed the search by then. You will be advised if there will be any delay in commencing a search. In a small minority of cases where a search may prove too difficult, we may need to advise you that we do not have any further leads to pursue.
What if my birth relative does not wish me to know of their whereabouts?
We mainly use information available in the public domain. Should we acquire information not otherwise accessible to the adopted person, we must ask the person if they consent to being identified to you. If they consent we can then help you get in touch with each other and provide any counselling, advice and support that’s needed to both of you.
Do you assist with exchanging letters with my birth relative?
If your birth relative does welcome contact, we offer a “letterbox” service whereby we can act as a go-between in forwarding letters between the adopted person and birth relative. We can offer this until such time as both of you feel ready to exchange addresses.
Do you offer help with a reunion meeting?
Counselling/support is offered for reunion meetings. We can provide a venue at Coleshill, whereby you will have private sitting room/kitchen/toilet facilities for your use.