At present the scheme of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 provides for the birth records of an adopted person to be disclosed only in limited circumstances, eg where the adopted person applies, or where records are held by an adoption agency which can decide whether disclosure is in the interests of all concerned.
The effect of this ruling is that the descendants of a deceased adopted person cannot obtain original records if the adopted person did not apply in his lifetime, unless, under Section 79 of the Act, they can satisfy the Court that there are exceptional circumstances justifying disclosure - which is very rare.
The Descendants of Deceased Adopted Persons (DAP) group is concerned about the following key points:
1. The ruling is unjust and contrary to the intent of the 2002 Act to allow greater access to birth information.
2. Descendants should be granted the same rights as other birth relatives.
3. The Act is being applied unfairly and unequally.
4. Descendants have a human right to know their biological heritage.
5. Discrimination against a minority group.
It is important for DAP to collect background and supporting information to highlight this anomaly in the law, so that ways can be found to change the legislation.
DAP would like to hear from people, in confidence, who:
a) Have been unable to obtain birth details of their deceased adopted parents or older relatives;
b) Have obtained the information about their deceased adopted parent or relatives from, for example, the original Court where the adoption order was made or from the adoption agency involved in the adoption arrangements;
c) Would like to know how they can become involved in the campaign.
Send your contact information with a very brief summary of your search experience to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please write DAP in the subject line and we will get back to you.
Together we are stronger.
Answers to some frequently asked questions about access to birth records for descendants of deceased adopted people are provided in the Locating Records section.