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Tracing or keeping in contact with someone who has been adopted

Keeping in touch following adoption

  • Indirect contact, or post box contact as it's also known, involves indirect communication between birth parents/other birth relatives and adoptive parents. It is a free, confidential service through which you can exchange letters with the adoptive family via our Adoption team.
  • Direct contact between adoptive parents, the child/children and members of their birth family if this has been agreed by all involved. The meetings are usually arranged and supported by our Adoption Support Service.

Making contact

If your child is over 18

You have the option of registering your interest in contact with the Adoption Agency involved. A letter written to your child can be lodged on the adoption file, to be available should your child access their records sometime in the future.

You can also register on the National Adoption Contact Register, which is run by the General Register Office (GRO) in Southport. This links adopted adults who have registered, with birth relatives who have also registered. There is a registration fee and both adopted adults and birth relatives can register a wish for either 'contact' or 'no contact'. Although a 'no contact' request is not legally binding, it would be taken into account by an intermediary agency. The GRO only administers the register, it does not offer tracing or intermediary services.

Apart from the above options you can also request an intermediary service from an Adoption Support Agency registered to offer this. If you live outside Surrey, in the first instance you should approach your local Adoption Support Service to ask if they would be able to offer you an intermediary service.

If your Local Authority Adoption Support Agency isn't able to offer an intermediary service there are registered independent Adoption Support Agencies able to undertake this work. Such agencies charge for the services they provide.

Surrey Adoption Service does not offer tracing and intermediary services to birth relatives, but can signpost to independent Adoption Support Agencies registered to do this. Contact the Adoption service for further details.

If the adopted person has registered an absolute 'veto to contact' with the adoption agency that arranged their adoption, an intermediary agency will not be able to progress the enquiry. If the adopted person has registered a qualified veto to contact, an intermediary agency may not be able to progress the enquiry, depending on the qualification terms.

If your child is under 18

Usually we cannot make an approach to your child or the adoptive family in these circumstances. A contact or no-contact arrangement will have been made at the time of the adoption and can only be changed if the adoptive parents agree it's in the child's best interests.

You can write a letter, asking for it to be placed on the adopted child's file, where it will stay until the adopted person asks for access to these records.

  • Updated: 20 Sep 2015

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