ii) Adopted adults seeking information

Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at on 21 November 2001.

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Since the Adoption Act of 1976 there has been a much more open attitude to adults seeking information about their past. This has proved beneficial for most: those who have wanted to seek their birth-families have been able to do so. Yet the Bill under Clause 58 and Clause 76 seeks to remove that right if a member of the birth family wishes to withhold their identity. The upshot is that an adopted person may find themselves in the position of not being able to obtain their original birth certificate.

The Department of Health have stated that there have been occasions on which this may prove dangerous to birth parents. Our feeling is that it would be preferable to prohibit adopted persons from making direct contact with birthfamily members than to prevent the adopted person discovering their genetic family. The adopted person could instead register a desire to contact or, if it were for time-sensitive medical reasons for example, the adoption agency could seek out the birth family and make contact on the adopted person's behalf.