Here you can watch a video clip explaining your right to say that you do not want to be contacted, and you can read answers to questions asked by adopted people and birth parents.
Listen to an expert: What can I do if i don't want to be contacted by birth relatives?
Here you can watch Julia Feast explaining what can be done if you do not wish to be contacted by your birth relatives.
Click on description below that best describes you to find out what you can do if you don't want to be contacted.
Information for adopted people who do not wish to be contacted
What can I do if I do not want to be contacted by a birth relative?
There are a couple of steps that you can take if you do not want to be contacted by a birth relative.
You can register on the Adoption Contact Register a wish for no contact or you can register a Qualified or Absolute Veto with the agency that placed you for adoption. You must be eighteen years of age and over before you can register a wish for no contact or a veto.
The Adoption Contact Register is held by the Registrar General Office.
What is the difference between a Qualified and Absolute veto?
A Qualified Veto means that you can specify the circumstances you would want to be contacted such as:
- If there is important medical information you should know about
- If you have been named as a beneficiary in a birth relative’s will
- If there is a particular person you would like to hear from or have news from.
An Absolute Veto means that you do not want to be contacted under any circumstances. Once you have registered an Absolute Veto it means that the Intermediary Agency cannot make contact with you on behalf of a birth relative.
How can I register either a Qualified or Absolute Veto?
You will need to contact the adoption agency that arranged your adoption if you know which one it was.
How can I find where the contact details of the voluntary adoption agency that placed me?
The intermediary services directory lists all the current adoption agencies in England and Wales. If yours is listed then you will be able to make contact with them as the address, telephone number and email address will be listed/ available.
If my adoption agency is not listed what can I do?
This could mean that your adoption agency has closed. However, when adoption agencies close they have to pass their records to another agency for safe keeping. This could either be the local authority where the adoption agency was situated or to another voluntary adoption agency that is still in existence. Also on this website you will find a searchable database that will provide information about where the records are held or the adoption agency that placed you.
Once I know the agency where I can register what should I do next?
You will need to write to the agency and ask for an appointment to meet with one of their adoption advisers.
Why do I need to see an adoption adviser?
Before a Qualified or Absolute veto can be registered the adoption agency ]or the local authority] need to be satisfied that you understand the full implications of what it means. For example, if you register an Absolute veto, it would mean that an intermediary agency would not be able to contact you under any circumstances and that the veto will be life-long unless you say otherwise.
What is an Intermediary Agency?
An intermediary agency can be a Local Authority, a Voluntary Adoption Agency or a registered Adoption Support Agency. These agencies can if registered to do so, provide an intermediary service for a birth relative who is wishing to contact an adopted adult or to find out information about the adopted person’s well being.
What is the Adoption Contact Register?
The Adoption Contact Register came into existence in 1991 and is located at the General Register’s Office. The Register was introduced to help adopted people and their birth relatives let each other know of their interest to have contact. However, the Adoption and Children Act 2002 enhances the Register so that an applicant can specify with whom he or she desires contact, or the applicant can specify the person with whom he or she does not want contact. This means that adopted people and birth relatives will be able to have their wish for "no contact" registered on the Adoption Contact Register.
Top of page
What can I do if I do not want to be contacted by a relative that has been adopted?
If you do not want to be contacted by your son or daughter then you can register a wish for no contact on the Adoption Contact Register. You can also write to the adoption agency that arranged the adoption, if one was involved, to let them know that you do not want to be contacted.
What is the Adoption Contact Register?
The Adoption Contact Register came into existence in 1991 and is located at the General Registrar’s Office. The Register was introduced to help adopted people and their birth relatives let each other know of their interest to have contact. However, the Adoption and Children Act 2002 enhances the Register so that an applicant can specify with whom he or she desires contact, or the applicant can specify the person with whom he or she does not want contact. This means that adopted people and birth relatives can have their wish for "no contact" registered on the Adoption Contact Register.
Where is the Adoption Contact Register held?
The Adoption Contact Register is held by the General Register Office.
How can I register a wish for no contact on the Adoption Contact Register?
You need to contact the Registrar General to request a wish for no contact.
How can I get in touch with the adoption agency that arranged the adoption to let them know that I do not want to be contacted?
You should write to the agency to let them know your views and they will be able to record these on the adoption record. They will then be able to pass this information on in the event that the adopted person makes enquiries to that agency.
I cannot remember which agency it was so how can I do this?
Sometimes it is difficult to remember all the details of the agency that arranged the adoption. On this website there is a section called ‘where to find adoption records’. This is a searchable database which contains information about mother and baby homes and adoption agencies, past and present. This database may be able to help you locate the agency. For example if you:
- Do not remember the name of the agency but know the area where it was located.
- Were in a mother and baby home and remember the name
- You cannot remember the name of the mother and baby home but know which area it was located
Then with this limited information it may still be possible for you to identify the agency that holds the adoption records so that you can contact them to let them know of your wish for no contact. You can use the list of Intermediary Services to find an agency in your area. By the end of February 2006 we will have also added a search facility allowing you to use any information you have about an adoption to discover the likely location of the adoption records.
The adoption was arranged privately so who can I tell that I do not want to be contacted?
You will need to register a wish for no contact on the Adoption Contact Register and details about how to do this is explained above.
If I register a wish for no contact does that mean I will not be contacted?
Registering a wish for no contact does not guarantee that you will not be contacted. Since 1975 adopted people have the right to apply for a copy of their original birth certificate. The information contained on the birth certificate provides enough information to enable the adopted person to begin a search for birth family members. They can do this by searching public records such as the registers of birth, marriages and deaths.
There may be circumstances where the adoption agency or the intermediary agency considers that it is important for you to know about the adopted person’s wish for contact, for example the need to obtain further medical or background family information.
How would contact be made?
The vast majority of adopted people understand that making contact with birth family needs to be done in a sensitive way. They can appreciate that for some birth mothers and fathers the adoption has remained a secret and that contacting out of the blue an be a real shock and turn the birth relatives’ life upside down.
The majority of adopted people appreciate the importance of using an intermediary service when trying to make contact with a birth relative. They are aware that the intermediary has experience and skills in this area and can mediate between the birth relative and adopted person in an attempt to meet both party’s needs and wishes.
If you have registered a wish for no contact, it might be advisable to also leave instruction of how to contact you in the event that the adopted person or the intermediary agency decides that making contact with you is in your interests.
Top of page