Contact and reunion with birth relatives

Part of Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:45 pm on 21 November 2001.

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When they first met their birth relative, most adopted people said their feelings were either cautious ones of interest and friendship, or powerful ones of instant family bond and connection. Searchers (29 per cent.) were more likely than non-searchers (11 per cent.) to feel an instant family bond.

``I went into this room and there was this little woman, five foot three and I'm nearly six foot, and I gave her the flowers and she started crying and I started crying. We just threw our arms round each other... I was so much like her, everything, mannerisms, the way I move my hands, the way I talk... two peas in a pod and we bonded totally, straight away, absolutely no doubt. I'm part of her and that bond was just instantly there.''

—One year after first contact, 15 per cent. of searchers and 15 per cent. of non-searchers had either ceased contact with, been rejected by or rejected further contact with their birth mother.

—Five years or more after the initial reunion, searchers (63 per cent.) were more likely than non-searchers (55 per cent.) still to be in contact with their birth mothers.

For most adopted people, relationships established in childhood with adoptive parents appear to be more enduring than those restored with birth parents in adulthood. For example, most adopted people were not only more likely to remain in contact with their adoptive parents than with their birth relatives, but in cases where there was contact with both sets of parents, they were also more likely to see more of their adoptive parents than their birth parents.