Search And Reunion Basics
Search And Reunion Basics
Julia Feast (Search and Reunion Consultant) gives expert video advice on: How do I start looking for my birth family?; Are the birth family able to search for an adopted child?; Why do people decide to search for their birth family? and more...
Are the birth family able to search for an adopted child?
Since the third of December in 2005, birth parents of adopted people (adopted adults aged 18 and over ) can request an intermediary service from a registered agency to ask whether they can locate the adopted adult to see if they want to have contact or to find out more information about them.
Why do people decide to search for their birth family?
Adopted people try to find out information to satisfy their curiosity, things like "Who do I look like? Who do I take after?" By gaining information, they can often get answers to the questions they may have about their identity and their origins.
What is the average age people start looking for their birth parents?
The age that people make a decision to search can vary. The average age according to the research is about thirty for both men and women. So it's quite late. But that doesn't mean to say that an 18 year old won't try and locate their birth relatives or birth parents. And neither does it mean that people over the age of 50 or 60 don't want to find. So the age they can be any stage of person's life.
What prevents people from searching for their birth parents?
Making a decision to search can vary again from one person to the next It could be that they had a long desire to find out much more about their birth family but just haven't had the courage to do anything about it. It could be many things that prevent them. They may be for example, afraid of hurting their adopted families or afraid of complications arising someway. Or it could be that they are scared of the information they may find out. So most of the things may prevent people for making a decision to search.
Is searching for birth relatives the thing to do?
Searching for birth relatives is a personal decision, but what's good about England and Whales is that people have the choice to search if they want to. Adopted people in this country can obtain a copy of their original birth certificate which will give them the identifying information they need to search for birth parents. So to say whether it's right is difficult, it has to be right for that particular person. For some adopted people searching for birth relatives is what they want to do, and what they need to do. For others they just don't want to go there at all.
What can go wrong when searching for my birth family?
Many things can be difficult when trying to trace birth family members. For example, not everyone actually locates their birth family. Hopefully there will be information there to help an adopted person search and find, but sometimes searches come to a dead end and they don't actually locate the birth relative that they want to. Now, that doesn't happen very often, but it can happen. Also, searching can be costly if you're having to get lots of certificates to sort of try and locate adopted people. But other things that may go wrong is you may not get the outcome you want, and that's why it's very important adopted people have the opportunity to talk to someone who knows about adoption search and union, and can help them think about some of the things that they need to consider before they embark upon a search for birth relatives.
Is it expensive to search birth relatives?
Searching for birth relatives doesn't necessarily need to be expensive. People can conduct their own searches, going through public records, looking at marriages, births and deaths, to try and locate the birth relative, and to try and find their current whereabouts.
Is it a good idea to employ someone to search for my family?
Some adopted people aren't able to conduct their own searches for various reasons, and in those circumstances, it's important that adopted person can go to an adoption support agency or the local authority to find out what resources are available to help them search. The local authority or adoption agency may be able to recommend somebody that they could use to help them locate the birth relative.
What if I do not want to be contacted by my birth relatives?
Adopted people can register two types of vetoes. An Absolute veto is when the adopted person says they do not want contact, under any circumstances, by the intermediate agency. When it's a qualify veto, the adopted person can stipulate in which circumstances they would not mind being approached by an intermediary agency. For example, the adopted person could say, "well, I don't mind hearing about a brother or a sister, but I don't want to hear about my parents." Or, "I don't mind hearing if I'm going to be left money in a will", because that can also happen. The adopted person can stipulate, but what's really important is that the adopted person needs to consider whether or not they do want to register an absolute or qualified veto. It's important that they have the opportunity to talk to an adoption worker prior to making the decision to register a veto.