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Advice for birth relatives

Birth Relative Support (BRS) is an independent support and counselling service which provides support for adults affected by the adoption of a child.

If a plan for adoption is being considered for a child, birth relatives will be entitled a range of service including:

Independent support

The role of the Independent Birth Relative Support Worker is to provide:

Contacting a child after adoption

In all cases, contact arrangements will be made according to the child’s best interests. There are several types of contact, including direct and letterbox contact.

Direct contact

This is when the child and birth relatives meet face-to-face.

Letterbox contact

This is when birth and adoptive parents share news in writing (and sometimes photos) through our Letterbox Service. Most letterbox arrangements are voluntary and cannot be enforced. They usually take place once a year.

The Letterbox Administrator will read all the letters to make sure that they are suitable to be sent on and will keep copies so that replacements can be provided if letters get lost or damaged. All the information passed through the service is treated as confidential.

When an adopted child reaches 18

Once an adopted child reaches 18, birth relatives and adopted adults can contact each other.

However, there are tight regulations to make sure that no identifying information can be passed on without the consent of the adopted person. They can place a veto or partial veto on any contact. Birth relatives are also able to express informed consent about an adopted adult contacting them.

Tracing and contacting an adopted adult

Under the Access to Information Regulations 2005, birth relatives are allowed to seek out information about their adopted relative. They can then try to trace and contact them.

Adoption support and intermediary agencies, such as After Adoption and PACT are able to offer tracing and intermediary services for birth relatives of adopted adults. Both the applicant and the adopted person must be aged 18 or over, and the applicant will need to be able to prove their relationship to the adopted person.

The Adoption Contact Register

You can add yourself to the Adoption Contact Register at the General Register Office to:

This is not a tracing service - for a connection to be made between people, you must both be on the Adoption Contact Register.

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