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Obtaining Adoption Records

Being an adopted person may mean you don't have access to your adoption records. Find out how to access birth records and find birth relatives via the Adoption Contact Register.

How to Access Your Birth Records

The process of adoption often makes it difficult to keep track of the legal paperwork.

But, providing you are at least 18 years old, there is a way for you to access your birth records if you do not have them.

Note: Were you adopted before the 12th of November 1975? If so, you must attend a counselling session with an approved adoption advisor before accessing your adoption records.

If You Know Your Birth Details

The General Register Office (England and Wales) can supply you with a copy of the original birth certificate. It will depend on whether you have enough information on the details of your birth.

But, you should contact the General Register Office where you got adopted for adoptions outside of England and Wales.

If You Do Not Know Your Birth Details

There is a different process for adopted individuals who don’t have enough information. You will need to use the application for Birth certificate Information Before Adoption (BIBA) service. Fill in the most appropriate form:

You can either email the form to the staff at the Adoptions Section or you can use postal methods:

Email: [email protected]
Adoptions Section
Room C202
General Register Office
Trafalgar Road

The Adoption Contact Register

As an adoptee, you can choose to add yourself to the Adoption Contact Register at the General Register Office. There are several reasons for doing this, including:

  • To try to find a birth relative or another adopted person.
  • To inform them that you do not want people to contact you.

Note: It does not function as a full tracing service. People can only connect if they are already on the Adoption Contact Register.

Finding a Birth Relative (if you were adopted)

You need to be at least 18 years old to add yourself to the Adoption Contact Register. Your birth or the adoption must also have been registered with the General Register Office.

Fill in form CR part 1 to get yourself added to the register. It is an application for an adopted person to apply for entry onto part 1 of the adoption contact register. There are some extra guidance notes if you need help filling in the form. It costs £15 and you will need:

  • Your original birth name and your date of birth.
  • The full name(s) of your birth mother (and birth father if known).

Finding an Adoptee (if you are a birth relative)

You also need to be at least 18 years old to add yourself to the register to try to find an adopted person. Fill in form CR part 2 and there are extra guidance notes for filling in the form. The fee is £30 but you can only contact people who have added themselves to register.

There are other ways of making contact with an adopted person. You could try using an approved intermediary agency instead.

Note: An adopted person can also use form CR part 2 to search for other adopted siblings. Contact the Adoptions Section of HM Passport Office for further information on adoption records.

Approved Intermediary Agencies

An intermediary agency may help an adoptee (or someone related to them) trace a birth relative. The fees for this service vary and it will depend on which agency you use. To use an intermediary agency you should either be:

  • Adopted before the 30th of December 2005.
  • A relative of an adoptee who was adopted before December 30th 2005 (can be a relative by adoption).

You can only contact a person found by an intermediary agency if that person agrees to it. The agency would not tell you their name or their whereabouts if the person does not agree to it.

Even so, you might get to learn some basic information shared with you by the intermediary agency, such as:

  • The general health and well-being of the person they found.
  • The domestic situation or the family circumstances of the person they found.
An ‘Absolute Veto’

Having an absolute veto means an intermediary agency cannot approach you under any circumstances. Even so, your adoption agency can still pass on information to you. This could include a hereditary medical condition or some details of an inheritance.

A ‘Qualified Veto’

Having a qualified veto means you can state when you might want someone to contact you. For example, you could refuse to accept an approach on behalf of your birth parent. Likewise, you could say that you would accept an approach by a sibling.

Avoiding Contact from an Intermediary Agency

Not all adopted people or their birth relatives want to be approached or contacted. They can choose to avoid the contact by stating so in the Adoption Contact Register.

You can avoid an approach by an intermediary agency by telling your agency and registering a veto. There are two different types of veto that you can register.

Getting Extra Help and Information

Other organisations you can contact to get further information on approved intermediary services include:

Accessing Adoption Records in the United Kingdom