If you are adopted

If you were adopted through a court in England or Wales and are aged 18 years or over, the law allows you to gain access to your birth records. These records will enable you to obtain a copy of your original birth certificate.

Adoptions before to 12 November 1975

If you were adopted before 12 November 1975, you are required to receive this information from an approved adoption advisor. This can be an adoption advisor from your own local authority or from the General Register Office in Southport, an approved intermediary agency or, in certain cases the adoption agency that arranged your adoption. The adoption advisor will be able to offer practical advice and guidance as well as talking to you about any concerns or issues that are important to you.

To access your birth records, contact  the Adoptions Section. You can email or post your form to:

They will then send information to the adoption advisor of your choice. You will then be contacted for an appointment to me made for a counselling interview.

The adoption advisor will give you a form showing your birth name, birth parent(s) names and your district of birth. You can use this form to purchase a certified copy of your original birth certificate.

Information is also provided regarding the court that granted your Adoption Order. With this information the adoption advisor may be able to find out which adoption agency was involved in arranging your adoption and then try to see if any adoption file exists for you. If there is a file the adoption advisor will make a request to access this information. They will then review the contents of the file and arrange a meeting in order to share this information with you.

Sometimes this information can be difficult to hear for an adoptive person and therefore, the adoption advisor may decide to share the contents of the file over more than one meeting giving the individual time to process the information that is being shared with them. There can be no guarantee as to how much information exists, because, until the 1970s, adoption could be arranged privately as well as through an official adoption agency. Before 1984, adoption agencies were only required to keep records for 25 years.

Adoptions after 12 November 1975

If you were adopted after the 12 November 1975, you can make the choice as to whether you would like to see an approved adoption advisor or have the information sent directly to you.

  • If you choose to see an adoption advisor they can approach the adoption agency that arranged your adoption to ask for the information from your adoption file.
  • If you choose not to be seen by an adoption advisor the forms will be sent directly to you with a letter explaining the next steps to follow. However if you wish to have a chat or have any questions you can contact the team.

Adoptions after 30 December 2005

For adoptions after 30 December 2005, an adopted person aged 18 years or over can gain access to their birth details through the agency or social services that dealt with their adoption.
If the name of the agency or social services is unknown, an adopted person can contact the General Register Office for this information.

How to apply for access to your birth records

Application forms and further information to access your birth records can be found on the GOV.UK website.

 Alternatively, forms and booklets are available by: 

Adoption information and intermediary services for adopted people and birth relatives

Intermediary agencies may be approached by adopted people or birth relatives, aged 18 years or over, to help pass on their wishes for some form of contact. To offer this service, an agency has to be registered with the organisation that inspects them. Currently, our Adoption team is not registered to offer this service but can give advice on agencies that are.

Adoption contact register

Adopted people and their birth relatives can register to have contact. This service is run by the Registrar General who can be contacted on the details listed above. It is also possible to register a wish for no contact either with everybody or specific individuals.

Contact the Adoption team

If you would like to talk to a member of staff contact us directly.