The Black Adoption Project – creating better futures for Black adopted children in London

Adopted Adults

Adoption is something that is with you your whole life and some adopted adults may struggle with dealing with their childhood, and how their life began.  Adopt London want to ensure you continue to receive the help, guidance and support you need.

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Adopt London

Adopt London is made up of four regional adoption agencies providing adoption services for 24 London local authorities: Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Brent, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Havering, Hounslow, Islington, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Richmond, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets and Wandsworth.  Our contact details can be found on our website here.

For adopted adults adopted before 30 December 2005 (pre commencement adoption regulations) contact the adoption agency where you live for:

  • Information about how to access adoption records
  • Advice about intermediary services including tracing birth family members

For adopted adults adopted on or after 30 December 2005 (post commencement adoption regulations) contact the adoption agency (who provide a service to the local authority) who arranged your adoption for

  • Information about how to access adoption records
  • Advice about contact with birth family members

Accessing birth records

If you are aged 18 and over and adopted before the 30 December 2005 you can apply to the General Register Office for your birth records information (i.e. birth name, birth mother’s name, birth fathers name if this was recorded on your birth certificate), name of court, and date of adoption (this information is helpful in being able to locate your adoption records).

All those adopted prior to 11 November 1975 are legally required to have a counselling interview in order to obtain their original birth certificate and access their adoption records.

If you were adopted on or after the 30 December 2005 you can obtain your birth records information from the local authority/adoption agency who arranged your adoption.

There is more advice on accessing your birth records at


As an adopted adult you can register your wishes with respect to contact with birth relatives in a number of ways. One way is via the National Adoption Contact Register. This is a voluntary register and does not contain details of everyone who was adopted or is looking for family members who have been adopted. There is a fee to register. An application form can be obtained where you can also find information on using intermediary agencies to help you trace birth relatives.

If you do not want contact with birth relatives and were adopted before the 30 December 2005 you have the right to place a veto on your adoption file. The veto is legally binding and will remain in force for life or until you choose or wish to amend it. In order to place a veto on your file you will need to see a specialist adoption worker to discuss the implications of your decision with you.

There are two types of veto:

  • An Absolute Veto – this prevents an intermediary making approach to the adoptee in any circumstances.
  • A Qualified Veto – this allows an intermediary to make an approach only in certain circumstances (i.e. to pass on medical information).

Intermediary services

The law allows for certain people to request help from an intermediary service which will obtain identifying information and may be able to support them to make contact. This is dependent upon them being able to provide proof of their relationship with the adopted person. The people who can do this are:

  • Adopted adults aged 18 and over, adopted before 30 December 2005
  • Those with a prescribed relationship with an adopted person (i.e. all blood relatives and those related through marriage or civil relationship or by virtue of the adoption).
  • Adult members of an adopted person’s birth family.

However, the law does not give anyone the automatic right to have the information without the consent of the people involved. It is the agency’s responsibility to carefully consider whether it is appropriate to proceed with an intermediary application.

adopted man on mobile phone

Advice and counselling for adopted adults

If you would like to talk to someone about your adoption experience, access short-term counselling PAC-UK can help.

London Office Advice Line on 020 7284 5879 – Monday, Tuesday and Friday 10.00am-4.00pm Wednesday and Thursday 2.00pm-7.30pm

PAC-UK also has an Intermediary Service Advice Line.  This can be used by adopted adults who want to connect with their birth family. Please note that there is a cost for this service.  If you would like to discuss your particular situation or get information about the costs, please call on 020 7284 5876 or email [email protected]

Additional support organisations

There are additional organisations who can offer support and advice to adoptees and signpost to a range of services. There may be waiting times for access to some services. The support providers will advise their timescales.

FamilyConnect helps adults who have been adopted or in care find answers to questions about their origins. They can provide advice and information about accessing adoption records, tracing and contacting birth relatives and contacting people from the past. You can contact the PAC-UK FamilyConnect Advice Line on 0300 1800 205 Monday 3-6pm, Tuesday 11am to 2pm and Thursday 1-4pm, or via email [email protected] or complete their online FamilyConnect form.

The UK government website provides advice and information for adult adoptees, including accessing your birth records, advice and how to add yourself to the Adoption Contact Register (please note there are fees for these services) and how intermediary agencies can help.

The Adoption Search Reunion website provides information for adopted people, and others impacted by adoption in England and Wales. The information available on their website applies to adoptions that were made before the 30th December 2005 and is intended to be the first port of call for anyone thinking about searching for or making contact with birth and adopted relatives or researching an adoption that took place in the UK. Call 0300 222 5775, Monday to Friday, 9am-1pm or email via [email protected].

The General Register Office holds a central copy of all birth, adoption, marriage, civil partnership and death registrations for England and Wales. This service allows you to search their historical birth and death indexes and order copies of registrations in a variety of formats including certificates, PDFs and Online View digital images via the government’s own official website.

AdoptionUK are improving their services and support for adopted people. They want to increase their work to improve the policies and practices that affect the adoption community, and they want to help adoptees access the support they need, connecting adopted people with their peers. Take a look at their website to find out more.

Coram Intercountry Adoption Centre provides information for adults who were adopted from overseas and have an extensive history in working with people in the UK and further afield. They have a team able to offer advice and signposting. [email protected]

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