Accessing birth records
What if I don’t know my birth details or have my original birth certificate?
We recommend that if you do not know your birth details or have your original birth certificate you fill in an application for Birth Certificate Information Before Adoption (BIBA) from the General Register Office.
Everyone adopted before 12th November 1975 will need to attend a consultation session with an adoption worker prior to obtaining their Birth certificate Information Before Adoption (BIBA) from the General Register Office.
People adopted between 12 November 1975 and 31 December 2005 still needs to apply to the General Register Office to get their Birth certificate Information Before Adoption (BIBA) however they are not required to attend consultation session unless they wish to.
There is guidance about consultations at the above website. A consultation is sometimes also referred to as a counselling session.
Once you have received your Birth Certificate Information Before Adoption (BIBA) this will enable you to apply for your original birth certificate from the General Register Office.
People adopted after 31 December 2005 will need to apply direct to the agency which arranged their adoption for their birth details.
The agency, i.e., the local authority should be able to you the information that will enable you to apply for your birth certificate.
I am an adopted person – can I request to access my adoption records through Adoption Central England?
Yes – if you meet the following criteria:
- You are over 18
- You live in the ACE Local Authority region – Coventry, Solihull, Herefordshire, Warwickshire, or Worcestershire
- Or you were adopted through one of the above local authorities
ACE will provide you with advice and support about the process and where your adoption was arranged through one of the above local authorities should be able to have direct access to records relating to your adoption.
Where you live in the ACE region, but your adoption was arranged through another agency ACE will request your adoption records from them. The agencies that hold adoption records are local authorities, Voluntary Adoption Agencies, and the court where an adoption order was granted. We can contact these agencies to try and locate records on your behalf.
In some cases, ACE may be unable to locate adoption records. This may be because they were not kept. Until 1975 there was no legislation to stipulate for how long and how adoption records should be kept.
If you know the agency or court that arranged your adoption this will help ACE to search for your records on your behalf.
Please be aware that searching for birth records relating to adoption can take some time – often months. We are often reliant on other agencies discharging records to us. To request records from other agencies we would require your signed consent for this.
Is there a fee for this service?
To access records from local authorities and Voluntary Adoption Agencies there is no fee. However, courts may charge a fee for releasing records. If you decide to use a private agency to access your records on your behalf, they may charge a fee.
I am a relative of an adopted person - can I request to access adoption records of my adopted relative?
No, you are not entitled to access your relative’s adoption records or identifying birth family information. Records relating to adoptions are restricted from public access.
You however may be able to request an intermediary agency – more information on this is available through the tracing family members page.
What information will my adoption records contain?
The social worker will prepare a summary report for you of the information contained in your records.
The summary of information and your adoption records will be shared with you.
Records may include the following documents:
- Information about birth relatives - although it’s possible that there will be no information about paternity
- Birth information
- Reasons for adoption
- Progress reports
- Medical history (this is often very limited)
Adoption records vary enormously depending on the year that they were written. Older records often contain less information.
Third party information will be removed from your records before they are shared with you.
You will be provided with a copy of documents from your records.
I am an adopted adult. I don’t want my birth relatives to contact me. How can I prevent this and how can I register a veto?
Birth relatives have no legal right to information about you and ACE is not allowed to disclose any information to a birth relative which may reveal your identity or whereabouts without asking for your permission first. If you wish to protect your privacy further, you can register a “veto” with ACE. This prevents ACE or another intermediary agency from approaching you. You can register an “absolute veto” or a “qualified veto” with ACE. If another intermediary agency contacts ACE they will be told that a veto has been registered. Contact ACE if you would like to register a “veto”.
Please be aware however that we cannot guarantee that you would not be contacted by birth relatives if they know your adopted name (this is however rare). If they have not come through an agency and searched for you themselves, they will not have been advised that a veto is in place.
Where can I learn more about legislation and issues related to adoption?
More information about legislation and issues related to adoption can be found at Adoption Search Reunion.
I am an adopted adult. I want to try and search and contact my birth family. How do I do this?
ACE would recommend that the best course of action is to ask an OFSTED registered intermediary agency to search and contact them on your behalf. Unfortunately, ACE do not offer an intermediary service or tracing service.